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If you are planning to visit Italy or read the great literary heritage like "The Divine Comedy" by Dante in original, Italian is here for you!

Besides Italy, the Italian language has its official status in such countries as Switzerland, Vatican City, San Marino, and some parts of Slovakia and Croatia. Outside Italy, it is also widely spoken in Albania and the USA. In addition, it is recognized in North and East Africa (as a consequence of colonization of Africa) and is spoken by people in Saudi Arabia.

Italian is considered to be a Romance language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. Being a member of the same group as Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and French, Italian is considered to be the most romantic of them all.

About 93 million people speak Italian worldwide: 69 million individuals in the EU speak it as their native language and 24 million learn Italian as their second language.

Peculiar Features

Since Italian has been derived from Vulgar Latin, it is not a difficult language to learn. The Italian alphabet comprises of 21 letters. The letters –j-, -k-, -w-, -x-, -y- are not present in the alphabet and can be met only in the words adopted from other languages, for example, jeans, taxi, whiskey. Gemination (length) is a peculiar feature of Italian consonants, which significantly changes the meaning of the word: casa – house, while cassa – box; nono – ninth, while nonno – grandfather.

Nouns are of two genders: masculine and feminine. The ending for masculine nouns is -o, and for feminine is -a (ragazzo – boy, while ragazza – girl). The position of the verb is not strictly defined in the sentence, it’s highly mobile. Stress is also variable and can be used in any syllable in the word. Pronunciation is simple, as the sounds of the letters are fixed. In addition, a lot of words with English roots are present: positive – positive, necessary – necessario.

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