Italians speak Italian. Approximately 63 million people in the world speak Italian as their mother language or first langauge. An additional 3 million people widespread throughout 29 countries speaks Italian as a secondary language. Various statistical resources differs slightly between them, but they show that Italian are among the 20 most-spoken languages in the world, at the last place in the top 20 list - IE. number 20.
Can Italian speakers understand Spanish?
Not all Spaniards and not all Italians speak their native languages (IE. Italian or Spanish), respectively, and in some cases they can only speak them as secondary languages.
However, due to the high degree of similarity between Spanish and Italian, they can understand each other, if they don't speak too fast. Both languages come from the original Latin and they share a lot of vocabulary and grammar. Italian belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family. Like the other Romance languages, it is a descendant of Vulgar Latin spoken by the ancient Romans and was imposed/forced by the Romans on all people that fell under their dictatorship. Therefore, Italian shares many characteristics with other Romance languages that descend from original the Latin.
Which countries speak Italian as their official language?
Italian is also the national, or de facto national, language of San Marino, Vatican City, Switzerland, and also in some areas of Slovenia and Croatia.:
There are two official languages spoken in San Marino: standard Italian and a Sammarinese dialect. About 83% of the country's population speak Sammarinese.
The four national languages used in Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh.
The Vatican City State.
Italian is used by most of the people located within the Vatican state; but, however, all the official documents within the Vatican or Holy See are written in Latin.A Vatican priest estimates that there are only 100 people around the Earth that speak Latin fluently. See Latin article for more information.
(We have the Latin language learning pack available).
Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy’s defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy is a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include sluggish economic growth, high youth and female unemployment, organized crime, corruption, and economic disparities between southern Italy and the more prosperous north. GEOGRAPHY Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia.
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, where unemployment is higher. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium sized enterprises, many of them family-owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 17% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro-zone, but its exceptionally high public debt and structural impediments to growth have rendered it vulnerable to scrutiny by financial markets. Public debt has increased steadily since 2007, topping 133% of GDP in 2013, but investor concerns about Italy and the broader euro-zone crisis eased in 2013, bringing down Italy’s borrowing costs on sovereign government debt from euro-era records. The government still faces pressure from investors and European partners to sustain its efforts to address Italy’s long-standing structural impediments to growth, such as labor market inefficiencies and widespread tax evasion. In 2013 economic growth and labor market conditions deteriorated, with growth at -1.8% and unemployment rising to 12.4%, with youth unemployment around 40%.
Italy’s GDP is now 8% below its 2007 pre-crisis level.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.805 trillion (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 12
Italy’s long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa.
Important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; money laundering by organized crime and from smuggling.
( End of text/excerpt from the CIA World FactBook. )
The image below are from Lucca city, Italy.
What other languages are also spoken in Italy?
A number of minority languages are also spoken in Italy. Many of them have been classified as historical language minorities by the government of Italy.
Including Sardinian, Albanian, Occitan, Croatian, Slovene, Ladin, Friulian, Catalan, and Franco-Provencal, French, Greek and German.
What is the most similar language to Italian?
In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.
Lexical similarity is 89% with French, 87% with Catalan, 85% with Sardinian, 82% with Spanish, 78% with Ladin, 77% with Romanian and 70% with Portuguese.
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