You've spent many hours reading up on the ancient history of the Roman Empire and eventually have decided to visit Italy to see all the monuments and cultural heritage for yourself? Great idea, Italy is a wonderful place and worth a visit, no doubt out about it!
The first thing you will notice on arrival is that Italians speak "surprise" Italian! So it would be a good idea to at least get a grasp of what people are talking about. With the ability to speak Italian you will enjoy your stay so much more. Tour Guides at important archaeological sites usually speak English well, however if you approach them in their own language (don't worry about not speaking Italian perfectly and making mistakes) you will see a different, more positive attitude towards you.
Italian is a fun language to learn and because there are many ways how to do it (by book, course, online, etc.) we thought it might be helpful to collect some interesting and useful information regarding how to learn the Italian language.
Italian is written using the Latin alphabet. The letters J, K, W, X and Y are not part of the standard Italian alphabet, but are seen in imported words (such as jeans, whiskey, taxi). J may also appear in many words from different dialects. Each of these foreign letters had an Italian equivalent spelling: gi, ch, u, cs or s, and i, but these are now obsolete.
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: "strive" and "hive" will rhyme with "na´ve").
Learning Italian with Books
|The Berlitz language-learning method means learn the italian language naturally. Focus is on everyday dialogs, casual conversations, and authentic personal and business situations to help acquire the basics of the italian language||This very good Italian Language Book is suitable as language teaching book for adults as well as for older children. The Italian course instructs beginners in the basics of reading, writing, understanding, and of course speaking Italian.||This "Learn Italian Book for Dummies" will help the reader to start speaking Italian quickly and easily. It includes practical lessons, cultural facts and references, a dictionary, common verb lists and an audio CD for practical listening exercises.||This book is for anyone who wants to learn and enjoy the italian language. This third edition includes two new quick references, two new appendixes on Italian synonyms and popular idiomatic phrases as well an updated money section.||Cute characters and easy-to-understand sentences add up to foreign language dictionaries that children will like! With colorful and fun illustrations, each entry begins with a headword given in English, followed by its translation and example sentences.|
Italian is a Romance language spoken by about 62 million people, most of whom live in Italy. Standard Italian is based on Tuscan dialects and is somewhat intermediate between the languages of Southern Italy and the Gallo-Romance languages of the North. Italian has double (or long) consonants, like Latin (but unlike most modern Romance languages, e.g. French and Spanish).
As in most Romance languages (with the notable exception of French), stress is distinctive. Italian is the official language of Italy, San Marino and an official language in the Ticino and Grisons cantons or regions of Switzerland. It is also the second official language in Vatican City and in some areas of Istria in Slovenia and Croatia with Italian minority. It is widely used by immigrant groups in Luxembourg, Belgium, the United States, Canada and Australia, and is also spoken in Malta, Somalia and Eritea, formerly under Italian rule or influence.
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. Alighieri and other Tuscan poets were inspired by the Sicilian koine wanted by the Sicilian School under holy roman emperor Frederick II.