7 interesting things about the Italian language that you do not know

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Let’s get started right away! :))

1 – Does the Italian language derive from Latin?

Italian does not derive from the classical Latin that is studied at school, but from the vulgar one (the one spoken by soldiers, peasants, and inhabitants of the Roman provinces) and its various contaminations with the languages ​​of the “invaders”: Lombards, Goths, and Franks.

2 – How many dialects are spoken in Italy?

You should know that in Italy, so many dialects are spoken that – according to the Treccani Encyclopedia – it is even hard to count them.

For convenience, scholars divide Italy into three large dialectal areas:

1) the La Spezia-Rimini line separates the north from the central one;

2) the Rome-Ancona line separates the center from the southern one.

Currently, the most important dialects are Neapolitan with 5.7 million speakers, Sicilian (4.7 million), Veneto (3.8 million), Lombard (3.6 million), and Piedmontese (1.6 million).

3 – Are Italians illiterate?

When the Kingdom of Italy was founded in 1861, 80% of Italians were illiterate, and only 0.89% of the population had a higher education than basic school.

Exactly one hundred years later, in 1961, there were less than 9% illiterate.

And in 1971, the figure had shrunk to just over 5% of the Italian population.

Today, the percentage is around 2%, but functional illiterates, that is, those who can read and write despite having difficulty understanding simple texts, amount to 28% of the population!

4 – How difficult is it to learn Italian (for a foreigner)?

According to the BBC, “In Italian, we read how to write […]. The pronunciation is clear […]. The vocabulary is similar to other languages ​​of Latin origin. […] Although some aspects of the words may seem difficult at first, it is enough to grasp some simple rules to be able to communicate in a variety of situations. “

So if you are learning Italian, don’t give up! It’s not that impossible!

5 – What is the oldest document that has traces of Italian?

It is a notarial deed: the Placito Capuano of 960 AD. This is the record of a process to establish ownership of land near the Capua monastery.

6 – If in past Italy was divided and people spoke many dialects, how did standard Italian become the only official state language?

According to the linguist Tullio De Mauro, it was not only the school that contributed to linguistic unification from the founding of the Kingdom of Italy onwards but also other factors.
For example: the press, emigration, bureaucracy, the army with military service mandatory, and the war that forced the soldiers at the front to speak Italian to understand each other!
Then came radio and TV which contributed more than significantly to linguistic unity.

7 – What is the only Italian word with two Qs?

Soqquadro: upside down, indicating a situation of complete disorder and turmoil.