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Interesting facts about the Italian language


Dante Alighieri, perhaps the most famous Italian writer of all time, penned The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia), which was completed in 1320, a year before his death. In the late Middle Ages, the vast majority of poetry and literary works were written in Latin, but Dante was a proponent of vernacular literature that used the common language of the people. He wrote The Divine Comedy in the Tuscan dialect, a choice that would set the standard for Italian literature and position Tuscan Italian as the language of high culture and the basis for the ‘standard’ Italian spoken today. For his role in establishing modern Italian, Dante is often referred to as the “father of the Italian language.”

The Italian alphabet has only 21 letters. Italian uses the same Roman characters as the English language… minus 5 of them. The letters j, k, w, x, and y simply do not exist in Italian, so if you happen to see them used in an Italian text, that means the word is borrowed from another language!


Among those eager to learn Italian are people who have an interest in theatre, history of art, film studies, restoration, dress design, industrial design, comparative literature, cultural studies and culinary skills, to name a few. Italian is also the language of classical music. Anyone who has studied or played music will be familiar with terms like crescendo, forte, soprano, alto, and a tempo. Musical notation became commonplace during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and as many of the most important composers of that time were Italian, the Italian language became the standard for musicians around the globe.  Italian is spoken by over 85 million people worldwide. It is the first language of some 65 million people, and the second language of a further 15 million people. In addition to being the national language of Italy, Italian is one of the national languages of Switzerland, with which it shares its northern border, as well as San Marino and Vatican City. It is also the second most spoken language in Argentina, where it is estimated that over half the population is of Italian descent, making Italians the largest ethnic group in the country. Italian is the 5th most studied language in the United States.


Italiano - Insegnare e Imparare​  


 Società Dante Alighieri
134, Old Bakery Street

2123 8408







 Directorate for Lifelong Learning & Early School Leavers
Ministry for Education and Employment
Great Siege Road

2598 2444