||Italy (official), Switzerland (official with French and German), Vatican City (official with Latin), San Marino (official), Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (official), in the cities of Capodistria/Koper, Isola d'Istria/Izola and Pirano/Piran in Slovenia (official) and in the region of Istria County of Croatia (officiall).
Regional language officially recognized in some places of South America: Santa Teresa and Vila Velha in Brazil.
Not official language, but understood and spoken by part of the population in Malta, Corsica, Nice and Monaco. Spoken by Italian immigrants especially in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and various other countries in Europe.
||Native: 60 million
Total: 100-120 million
||11–20 native (in a near tie with Turkish and Urdu)
|Official language of:
||Italy, Switzerland, European Union, San Marino, Slovenia, Somalia (regional language), Ethiopia, Vatican City, Istria county of Croatia
||Accademia della Crusca
Map of Italophone World
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. See IPA chart for English for an English-based pronunciation key.
Italian (italiano , or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 63 million people, primarily in Italy and Switzerland. In both of those places, Italian is an official language (along with German, French and Romansh in Switzerland). Standard Italian officially adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on Tuscan dialect and is somewhat intermediate between Italo-Dalmatian languages of the South and Northern Italian dialects of the North.
Like many languages written using the Latin alphabet, Italian has double consonants. However, contrary to, for example, French, double consonants are pronounced as long (geminated) in Italian. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. Of the Romance languages, Italian is considered to be one of the closest resembling Latin in terms of vocabulary, though Romanian most closely preserves the noun declension system of Classical Latin, and Spanish the verb declension system (see Old Latin), while Sardinian is the most conservative in terms of phonology.
The history of the Italian language is long, but the modern standard of the language was largely shaped by relatively recent events. The earliest surviving texts which can definitely be called Italian (as opposed to its predecessor Vulgar Latin) are legal formulae from the region of Benevento dating from 960-963. Italian was first formalized in the first years of the 14th century through the works of Dante Alighieri, who mixed southern Italian languages, especially Sicilian, with his native Tuscan in his epic poems known collectively as the Commedia, to which Giovanni Boccaccio later affixed the title Divina. Dante's much-loved works were read throughout Italy and his written dialect became the "canonical standard" that others could all understand. Dante is still credited with standardizing the Italian language.
Italian has always had a distinctive dialect for each city, since the cities were until recently thought of as city-states. The most characteristic differences, for instance, between Roman Italian and Milanese Italian are the gemination of inital consonants and the pronunciation of some stressed "e" and some "s" (e.g. va bene ("all right"): a Roman pronounces /va 'bbɛne/, a Milanese /va 'bene/; a casa ("at home"): Roman /a 'kkasa/, Milanese /a 'kaza/).
In contrast to the dialects of northern Italy, the older southern Italian dialects were largely untouched by the Franco-Occitan influences introduced to Italy, mainly by bards from France, during the Middle Ages. (See La Spezia-Rimini Line.) The economic might and relative advanced development of Tuscany at the time (late Middle Ages), gave its dialect weight, though Venetian remained widespread in medieval Italian commercial life. Also, the increasing cultural relevance of Florence during the periods of 'Umanesimo (Humanism)' and the Rinascimento (Renaissance) made its volgare (dialect), or rather a refined version of it, a standard in the arts. The re-discovery of Dante's De Vulgari Eloquentia and a renewed interest in linguistics in the 16th century sparked a debate which raged throughout Italy concerning which criteria should be chosen to establish a modern Italian standard to be used as much as a literary as a spoken language. Scholars were divided into three factions: the purists, headed by Pietro Bembo who in his Asolani claimed that the language might only be based on the great literary classics (notably, Petrarch, and Boccaccio but not Dante as Bembo believed that the Divine Comedy was not dignified enough as it used elements from other dialects), Niccolò Machiavelli and other Florentines who preferred the version spoken by ordinary people in their own times, and the Courtisans like Baldassarre Castiglione and Gian Giorgio Trissino who insisted that each local vernacular must contribute to the new standard. Eventually Bembo's ideas prevailed, the result being the publication of the first Italian dictionary in 1612 and the foundation of the Accademia della Crusca.
During the period of the Renaissance, Italy held artistic sway over the rest of Europe. All educated European gentlemen were expected to make the Grand Tour, visiting Italy to see its great historical monuments and works of art. It thus became expected that educated Europeans would learn at least some Italian; the English poet John Milton, for instance, wrote some of his early poetry in Italian. In England, Italian became the second most common modern language to be learnt, after French (though the classical languages, Latin and Greek, came first). However, by the late eighteenth century, Italian tended to be replaced by German as the second modern language on the curriculum. Yet Italian loanwords continue to be used in most other European languages in matters of art, and, even more so, music (e.g. "soprano", "piano", etc).
Italian is most closely related to the other two Italo-Dalmatian languages, Sicilian and the extinct Dalmatian. The three are part of the Italo-Western grouping of the Romance languages, which are a subgroup of the Italic branch of Indo-European.
 Geographic distribution
The geographic distribution of the Italian language in Europe.
Italian is the official language of Italy and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland, spoken mainly in Ticino and Grigioni cantons. It is also the second official language in the Vatican City and in some areas of Istria in Slovenia and Croatia with an Italian minority. It is widely known and taught in Monaco and Malta. It is also widely understood in Corsica and Nice (for both were former Italian possessions before being handed over to France), and Albania.
Italian used to be spoken in such parts of Africa as Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, but after World War II its diffusion has noticeably decreased, and now it's just known as a second language by elderly people in some areas of Somalia especially. It is widely used by Italians living in Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the United States, Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. Italian is the second most commonly-spoken language in Australia, where 353,605 Italian Australians, or 1.9% of the population, reported speaking Italian at home in the 2001 Census.
The presence of Italian people is very substantial above all in Latin America. In this case the presence of the Italian language, most of all its northern dialects, is abundant in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Here the Spanish and the Portuguese languages are influenced by Italian particularly in some parts of these countries (i.e. Rio Grande do Sul, Córdoba)
In the United States, Italian speakers are most commonly found in five cities: Boston (90,000), Chicago (60,000), Miami (75,000), New York City (120,000), and Philadelphia (50,000). In Canada there are large Italian-speaking communities in Montreal (120,000) and Toronto (195,000). In 2001 in Australia there were 130,000 Italian speakers in Melbourne, and 90,000 in Sydney.
Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world, but rarely as the first non-native language of pupils. In anglophone parts of Canada, Italian is, after French, the third most taught language. In the United States and the United Kingdom, Italian ranks fourth (after Spanish-French-German and French-German-Spanish respectively). Throughout the world, Italian is the fifth most taught non-native language, after English, French, Spanish and German . In the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 13% of the population (mainly in Italy itself) and as a second language by 3%; among EU member states, it is most likely to be desired (and therefore learned) as a second language in Malta (61%), Croatia (14%), Slovenia (12%), Austria (11%), Romania (8%), France (6%), and Greece (6%).  It is also an important second language in Albania and Switzerland, which are not EU members or candidates.
The Italian language is also used as a lingua franca in some environments. For example, in the Catholic ecclesiastic hierarchy, Italian is known by a large part of members and is used in substitution of Latin in some official documents as well. The presence of Italian as the second official language in the Vatican City indicates not only use in the seat in Rome, but also in the whole world where an episcopal seat is present.
Other environments in which Italian is considered a "lingua franca" are music and car races.
 Cultural acceptance of dialects
The dialect of Tuscany became the basis for what would become the official language of Italy, by way of the famous Tuscan author Dante Alighieri. Dante and other Tuscan poets were inspired by the Sicilian koine, promoted by the Sicilian School under the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. His project (in which Giacomo da Lentini invented the sonnet) was accomplished by enriching the Sicilian language with new words adapted from French, Latin, and Apulian. The Sicilians produced a collection of love-poems which can be considered the first standard Italian ever produced, though it was only used for literary purposes until Guittone d'Arezzo. When the Swabian dynasty ended the Tuscans and Dante re-discovered the standard (see De Vulgari Eloquentia and Vita Nova) and integrated the Sicilians into Florence's linguistic heritage.
The dolce stil novo, the platonic school of courtly love, can be considered the link between the old southern school and modern Tuscan poetry which aimed to express the new intellectual sensibility and fervor of the newly-born city-states, such as Florence. Dante's work, Divina Commedia was the first of its kind to be written in a dialect (though sensibly enriched compared with its spoken counterpart), as opposed to the traditional Latin. The success of his work spread the Florentine dialect, and gave it prestige and acceptance. For this he is referred to as the father of the Italian language and Il Sommo Poeta, although the language normally referred to as Italian is not, and never has been, the same as Florentine.
By the time Italy was unified (1861), the Italian standard had further been influenced by Florentine through the work of the Accademia della Crusca (Cardinal Pietro Bembo and followers). Bembo laid the foundation for what is today's modern standard. But Bembo was a purist and had accepted no other influence than that from Petrarch and Boccaccio. As time went on, the language was losing touch with linguistic change, and could not keep up with technology and science. The much-needed update would have to wait a little longer until, in what is commonly regarded as Italian literature's first modern novel, I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), Alessandro Manzoni further refined his widely read novel by "rinsing" it in the waters of the Arno (Florence's river), as he states in the Preface to his 1840 edition.
However, Manzoni refused the Crusca's purist, written Florentine-only attitude and admitted a certain influence from other dialects, though he reduced it as compared to the first edition of 1821. After unification the huge number of civil servants and soldiers recruited from all over the country introduced many more words and idioms from their home dialects ("ciao" is Venetian, "panettone" is Milanese etc.), in fact confirming Manzoni's linguistic views.
Old Tuscan has become the official language of Italy - with some influence, mainly in vocabulary, from the other dialects of Italy. Though technically speaking the division between dialect and language is purely conventional, it has been used by scholars (e.g., by Francesco Bruni) to distinguish between the languages that made up the Italian koine, and those which had very little or no part in it, such as Albanian, Greek, Südtirolean, Ladin, Friulian and Occitan, which are still spoken by small minorities.
Dialects are generally not used for general communication (e.g., on TV), but are limited to native speakers in informal contexts. Dialect is often deprecated as a sign of poor education. Younger generations, especially those under 35 (though it may vary in different areas), speak almost exclusively standard Italian in all situations, usually with local accents. Different accents can be recognized by various factors: the openness of vowels, the length of the consonants, and influence of the local dialect (for example, annà replaces andare in the area of Rome for the infinitive "to go").
Dialects have their share of enthusiasts, but in most areas of Italy this is a small niche of the population. Throughout Italy, some singers and actors use dialects as their language, but the language they use is, in most cases, strongly influenced by Italian.
Dialects and accents are often used in movies to provide comic relief or to produce stereotypes: northern dialects can be connected with self-made entrepreneurs; a Roman accent is associated with arrogant, simple-minded bullies; Neapolitan reminds of dishonest slackers, or of people living from hand to mouth; and, even in Italy, Sicilian is often associated with the Mafia.
 Derived languages
There is a presence of different varieties of the Italian language most of all in South America. From the early 19th to the 20th century, thousands of Italians, specially from the North of Italy, settled in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, both in urban areas and in the vast countryside, where they created many rural colonies.
An example is Cocoliche, once spoken in Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires.
Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of Italian dialects  due to the fact that Argentina, and particularly Buenos Aires, received a large number of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century.
The Italian language has a preference for vowels. Italian has seven vowel phonemes: /a/, /e/, /ɛ/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /u/. The pairs /e/-/ɛ/ and /o/-/ɔ/ are seldom distinguished in writing and often confused, even though most varieties of Italian employs both phonemes consistently. Compare, for example: [per'kɛ] (why, because) and [ˈsenti] (you listen, you are listening, listen!), employed by some northern speakers, with [per'ke] and [ˈsɛnti], as pronounced by most central and southern speakers. As a result, the usage is strongly indicative of a person's origin. The standard (Tuscan) usage of these vowels is listed in vocabularies, and employed outside Tuscany mainly by specialists, especially actors and very few (television) journalists. These are truly different phonemes, however: compare [ˈpeska] (fishing) and [ˈpɛska] (peach), both spelled pesca (listen ). Similarly [ˈbotte] (barrel) and [ˈbɔtte] (beatings), both spelled botte, discriminate /o/ and /ɔ/ (listen ).
In general, vowel combinations usually pronounce each vowel separately. Diphthongs exist (e.g. uo, iu, ie, ai), but are limited to an unstressed u or i before or after a stressed vowel.
The unstressed u in a diphthong approximates the English semivowel w, the unstressed i approximates the semivowel y. E.g.: buono ['bwɔno], ieri ['jɛri].
Triphthongs are limited to a diphthong plus an unstressed i (e.g. miei, tuoi), or in first plural person of some verbs, where the unstressed and almost unpronounced i is in the middle: continuiamo, dissanguiamo. Other sequences of three vowels exist (e.g. noia, febbraio), but they are not triphthongs; they consist of a vowel-semiconsonant-vowel sequence.
Two symbols in a table cell denote the voiceless and voiced consonant, respectively.
The phoneme /n/ undergoes assimilation when followed by a consonant, e.g., when followed by a velar (/k/ or /g/) it is pronounced [ŋ], etc.
Italian plosives are not aspirated (unlike in English). Italian speakers hear the difference as a foreign accent.
Italian has geminate, or double, consonants, which are distinguished by length. Length is distinctive for all consonants except for /ʃ/, /ʦ/, /ʣ/, /ʎ/ /ɲ/, which are always geminate, and /z/ which is always single. Geminate plosives and affricates are realised as lengthened closures. Geminate fricatives, nasals, and /l/ are realized as lengthened continuants. Geminate /ɾː/ is realised as the trill [r].
Of special interest to the linguistic study of Italian is the Gorgia Toscana, or "Tuscan Throat", the weakening or lenition of certain intervocalic consonants in Tuscan dialects.
Italian has few diphthongs, and so most unfamiliar diphthongs heard in foreign words (in particular, those with a first vowel that is not "i" or "u", or a first vowel that is stressed), will be assimilated as the corresponding dieresis (i.e., the vowel sounds will be pronounced separately). Italian phonotactics do not usually permit words to end on consonants, so foreign words may receive extra terminal vowel sounds.
 Writing system
el mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
Dante Alighieri), La Divina Commedia, Inferno, I, 1-9
utti li stati, tutti e' dominii che hanno avuto et hanno imperio sopra li uomini, sono stati e sono o repubbliche o principati. E' principati sono o ereditarii, de' quali el sangue del loro signore ne sia suto lungo tempo principe, o e' sono nuovi. E' nuovi, o sono nuovi tutti, come fu Milano a Francesco Sforza, o sono come membri aggiunti allo stato ereditario del principe che li acquista, come è el regno di Napoli al re di Spagna. Sono questi dominii così acquistati, o consueti a vivere sotto uno principe,o usi ad essere liberi; et acquistonsi, o con le armi d'altri o con le proprie, o per fortuna o per virtù.
Niccolò Machiavelli), Principe, Ch. 1
uel ramo del lago di Como, che volge a mezzogiorno, tra due catene non interrotte di monti, tutto a seni e a golfi, a seconda dello sporgere e del rientrare di quelli che, vien, quasi a un tratto, a ristringersi, e a prender corso e figura di fiume, tra un promontorio a destra, e un'ampia costiera dall'altra parte; e il ponte, che ivi congiunge le due rive, par che renda ancor più sensibile all'occhio questa trasformazione, e segni il punto in cui il lago cessa, e l'Adda ricomincia, per ripigliar poi il nome di lago dove le rive, allontanandosi di nuovo, lascian l'acqua distendersi e rallentarsi in nuovi golfi e nuovi seni.
Alessandro Manzoni), I promessi sposi, Ch.1
Italian is written using the Latin alphabet. The letters J, K, W, X and Y are not considered part of the standard Italian alphabet, but appear in loanwords (such as jeans, whisky, taxi). X has become a commonly used letter in genuine Italian words with prefix "extra-". J in Italian is an old-fashioned orthographic variant of I, appearing in the first name "Jacopo" as well as in some Italian place names, e.g., the towns of Bajardo, Bojano, Joppolo, Jesolo, among numerous others, and in the alternate spelling Mar Jonio (also spelled Mar Ionio) for the Ionian Sea. J may also appear in many words from different dialects, but its use is discouraged in contemporary Italian, and it is not part of the standard 21-letter contemporary Italian alphabet. Each of these foreign letters had an Italian equivalent spelling: gi for j, c or ch for k, u or v for w (depending on what sound it makes), cs or s for x, and i for y, but these are now obsolete from the formal alphabet, though still used in spelling to create the sounds they represent.
- Italian uses the acute accent over the letter E (as in perché, why/because) to indicate a front mid-close vowel, and the grave accent (as in tè, tea) to indicate a front mid-open vowel. The grave accent is also used on letters A, I, O, and U to mark stress when it falls on final vowel of a word (for instance gioventù, youth). Typically, the penultimate syllable is stressed. If syllables other than the last one are stressed, the accent is not mandatory, unlike in Spanish, and, in virtually all cases, it is omitted. In some cases, when the word is ambiguous (as principi), the accent mark is sometimes used in order to disambiguate its meaning (in this case, prìncipi, princes, or princìpi, principles). This is however not compulsory. Rare words with three or more syllables can confuse Italians themselves, and the pronunciation of Istanbul is a common example of a word in which placement of stress is not clearly established. Another instance is the American State of Florida: the correct way to pronounce it in Italian is like in Spanish, "Florìda", but since there is an Italian word meaning the same ("flourishing"), "Flòrida", many Italians pronounce it that way.
- The letter H at the beginning of a word is used to distinguish ho, hai, ha, hanno (present indicative of avere, to have) from o (or), ai (to the), a (to), anno (year) in the written language. In the spoken language this letter is always silent for the cases given above, but the letter following the “H”, has a more strong pronunciation; for example, in the sentence: “Ho due o tre caramelle” (I have two or three candies), “ho” is a little more stressed than “o”. H is also used in combinations with other letters (see below), but no phoneme /h/ nor phone [h] exists in Italian. In foreign words entered in common use, like "hotel" or "hovercraft", the /h/ phone is not commonly used.
- The letter Z represents /ʣ/, for example: Zanzara /dzan'dzaɾa/ (mosquito), or /ʦ/, for example: Nazione /naˈttsjone/ (nation), depending on context, though there are few minimal pairs. The same goes for S, which can represent /s/ or /z/. However, these two phonemes are in complementary distribution everywhere except between two vowels in the same word, and even in such environment there are extremely few minimal pairs, so that this distinction is being lost in many varieties.
- However, an H can be added between C or G and E or I to represent a plosive, and an I can be added between C or G and A, O or U to signal that the consonant is an affricate. For example:
||Before back vowel (A, O, U)
||Before front vowel (I, E)
- Note that the H is silent in the digraphs CH and GH, as also the I in cia, cio, ciu and even cie is not pronounced as a separate vowel, unless it carries the primary stress. For example, it is silent in ciao /ˈʧa.o/ and cielo /ˈʧɛ.lo/, but it is pronounced in farmacia /ˌfaɾ.ma.ˈʧi.a/ and farmacie /ˌfaɾ.ma.ˈʧi.e/.
- There are three other special digraphs in Italian: GN, GL and SC. GN represents /ɲ/ and GL represents /ʎ/ only before i, and never at the beginning of a word, except in the personal pronoun and definite article gli. (Compare with Spanish ñ and ll, Portuguese nh and lh.) SC represents fricative /ʃ/ before i or e. Except in the speech of some Northern Italians, all of these are normally geminate between vowels.
- In general, all letters or digraphs represent phonemes rather clearly, and in standard varieties of Italian, there is little allophonic variation. The most notable exceptions are assimilation of /n/ in point of articulation before consonants, assimilatory voicing of /s/ to following voiced consonants, and vowel length (vowels are long in stressed open syllables, and short elsewhere) — compare with the enormous number of allophones of the English phoneme /t/. Spelling is clearly phonemic and difficult to mistake given a clear pronunciation. Exceptions are generally only found in foreign borrowings. There are fewer cases of dyslexia than among speakers of languages such as English , and the concept of a spelling bee is strange to Italians.
 Common variations in the writing systems
Some variations in the usage of the writing system may be present in practical use. These are scorned by educated people, but they are so common in certain contexts that knowledge of them may be useful.
- Usage of x instead of per: this is very common among teenagers and in SMS abbreviations. The multiplication operator is pronounced "per" in Italian, and so it is sometimes used to replace the word "per", which means "for"; thus, for example, "per te" ("for you") is shortened to "x te" (compare with English "4 U"). Words containing per can also have it replaced with x: for example, perché (both "why" and "because") is often shortened as xché or xké (see below). This usage might be useful to jot down quick notes or to fit more text into the low character limit of an SMS, but it is considered unacceptable in formal writing.
- Usage of foreign letters such as k, j and y, especially in nicknames and SMS language: ke instead of che, Giusy instead of Giuseppina (or sometimes Giuseppe). This is curiously mirrored in the usage of i in English names such as Staci instead of Stacey, or in the usage of c in Northern Europe (Jacob instead of Jakob). The use of "k" instead of "ch" or "c" to represent a plosive sound is documented in some historical texts from before the standardization of the Italian language; however, that usage is no longer standard in Italian. Possibly because it is associated with the German language, the letter "k" has sometimes also been used in satire to suggest that a political figure is an authoritarian or even a "pseudo-nazi": Francesco Cossiga was famously nicknamed Kossiga by rioting students during his tenure as minister of internal affairs. [Cf. the politicized spelling Amerika in the USA.]
- Usage of other abbreviations: nn instead of non (not), cmq instead of comunque (anyway, however), cm instead of come (how, like, as), d instead of di (of), (io/loro)sn instead of (io/loro)sono (I am/they are), (io)dv instead of (io)devo (I must/I have to) or instead of dove (where), 6 instead of sei (tu 6/tu sei/you are).
- Inexperienced typists often replace accents with apostrophes, such as in perche' instead of perché. Uppercase È is particularly rare, as it is absent from the Italian keyboard layout, and is very often written as E' (even though there are several ways of producing the uppercase È on a computer). This never happens in books or other professionally typeset material.
- Few are aware of the distinction between grave and acute accents, so it is also common to see perchè. Modern word processing systems, however, tend to correct this mistake (unlike the previous one).
||Ciao (informal) / Salve
|How are you?
||Come stai? (informal) / Come sta? (formal)
||Prego! (as in "You're Welcome") / Benvenuto! (as in "Welcome to my Home")
||Arrivederci! (informal) / Arrivederla (formal)
|Have a nice day!
||Per piacere / Per favore
||Mi dispiace/Mi scusi (formal)/Scusa (informal)/ desolato (if male) / desolata (if female)
||Che Cosa? / Cosa? / Che?
|What's your name?
||Come ti chiami? (informal), Come si chiama? (formal)
|I do not understand.
||Non capisco. / Non ho capito.
|Yes, I understand.
||Sì, capisco. / Ho capito.
|Where are the bathrooms?
||Dove sono i bagni?
|Do you speak English?
||Parla inglese? (formal)/Parli inglese? (informal)/Parlate inglese? (plural)
|I don't speak Italian.
||Non parlo l'italiano.
- Cheers (generic toast): cin cin /tʃin tʃin/
- English: inglese /iŋˈglese/
- Good-bye: arrivederci /arriveˈdertʃi/
- Hello: ciao /ˈtʃao/
- Good morning/good day: buon giorno /bwonˈdʒorno/
- Good evening: buona sera /bwonaˈsera/
- Yes: sì /si/
- No: no /nɔ/
- How are you? : Come stai /ˈkome ˈstai/ (informal); Come sta /ˈkome 'sta/ (formal)
- Sorry: mi dispiace /mi disˈpjatʃe/
- Excuse me: scusa /ˈskuza/ (informal); scusi /ˈskuzi/ (formal)
- Again: di nuovo, /di ˈnwɔvo/; ancora /aŋˈkora/
- Always: sempre /ˈsɛmpre/
- When: quando /ˈkwando/
- Why/Because: perché /perˈke/
- How much: quanto /ˈkwanto/
- Thank you!: grazie! /ˈgrattsie/
- Bon appetit: buon appetito /ˌbwɔn appeˈtito/
- You're welcome!: prego! /ˈprɛgo/
- I love you: Ti amo /ti ˈamo/; Ti voglio bene /ti ˈvɔʎːo ˈbɛne/. The difference is that you use "Ti amo" when you are in a romantic relationship, "Ti voglio bene" in any other occasion (to parents, to relatives, to friends...)
Counting to ten:
- One: uno /ˈuno/
- Two: due /ˈdue/
- Three: tre /tre/
- Four: quattro /ˈkwattro/
- Five: cinque /ˈʧiŋkwe/
- Six: sei /ˈsɛi/
- Seven: sette /ˈsɛtte/
- Eight: otto /ˈɔtto/
- Nine: nove /ˈnɔve/
- Ten: dieci /ˈdjɛʧi/
The days of the week:
- Monday: lunedì /lune'di/ (the day of the Moon)
- Tuesday: martedì /marte'di/ (the day of Mars, the Roman god of war)
- Wednesday: mercoledì /merkole'di/ (the day of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce)
- Thursday: giovedì /dʒove'di/ (the day of Jupiter, the Roman god of sky and weather)
- Friday: venerdì /vener'di/ (the day of Venus, the Roman goddess of love)
- Saturday: sabato /ˈsabato/ (the day of rest, from Hebrew)
- Sunday: domenica /do'menika/ (the day of the Lord)
 Sample texts
You can hear a recording of Dante's Divine Comedy read by Lino Pertile at http://etcweb.princeton.edu/dante/pdp/.
From the Bible, Luke 2:1-7
You can listen to a rendition of this text as recorded by an Italian native speaker from Milan.
2:1 In quei giorni, un decreto di Cesare Augusto ordinava che si facesse un censimento di tutta la terra. 2 Questo primo censimento fu fatto quando Quirino era governatore della Siria. 3 Tutti andavano a farsi registrare, ciascuno nella propria città. 4 Anche Giuseppe, che era della casa e della famiglia di Davide, dalla città di Nazaret e dalla Galilea si recò in Giudea nella città di Davide, chiamata Betlemme, 5 per farsi registrare insieme a Maria, sua sposa, che era incinta. 6 Proprio mentre si trovavano lì, venne il tempo per lei di partorire. 7 Mise al mondo il suo primogenito, lo avvolse in fasce e lo depose in una mangiatoia, poiché non c'era posto per loro nella locanda.
 See also
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 References and notes
- ^ Ethnologue. SIL International. Tue 21 Oct 1997. As collected at: http://www.nicemice.net/amc/tmp/lang-pop.var
- ^ "OHCHR Italian (Italiano) - Universal Declaration of Human Rights" PROFILE - Background.
- ^ History of the Italian language.. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
- ^ It served as Malta's official language until Maltese language was enshrined in the 1934 Constitution.
- ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005, "Language other than English" (spreadsheet of figures from 2001 Census)
- ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002, "A Snapshot of Melbourne"
- ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002, "A Snapshot of Sydney"