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  • History of Italian Language

    by Luca Cusi of Dilit: Language School in Italy

    With this article, we begin a journey into Italian language, from its origins to our times. We want to know more about this language, because it seems to me that in geography-historical books don't give it the necessary space. Now we will talk more specifically about Romance Languages.

    Italian is the official language of the Republic of Italy. It's spoken also in the Republic of San Marino, in some areas of Switzerland (Canton Ticino, Graubünden), France (Corsica, Nice) and the old Yugoslavia (Istria and Dalmatia); it is language and culture in Malta and in old African colonies (Eritrea).

    Rome had spread among the submissive nations not only their own civilization, its laws, its institutions, but also its language, especially in the regions of Western Europe. Despite the barbarian invasions, these regions were closely linked to Roman tradition. In fact it still called Romania, even after the time, which Germanic invaders divided it into separate units and new state, France, Spain, and Italy.

    For centuries the expression "romanice loqui" (speak in Roman language) was used to describe the language of peoples of these territories, as opposed to the language of Germanic conquerors. But the political division achieved the fall of the Roman Empire and the continuous spiritual and material contrasts between populations that before composed it, created new and distinct languages in all the places where the Roman language was spoken. These languages were different also from the original Latin and they are: Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Provencal, Ladino, and Romanian.

    These languages were called Romance or New-Latin, because they are regarded as new languages born on the trunk of Latin idiom.

    In the last centuries of the Roman Empire and the early middle Ages, while the Latin spoken was divided into a multitude of different local spoken, the literal Latin remains faithful to intransigent grammar school tradition. Also the language taught in the schools, prepared by abbreviatores notarii (editors of epistles and official acts), was rigorously near to classical tradition. By the way it's the language of a small group of cultured people and not a common language.

    The various vulgar meanwhile live a lush life, but initially were out from writing-systems. Then, slowly, becoming also a new literary language that camping in front of the ancient, but this happens in the 11th century AD, when it was born a new culture, no longer limited to aristocratic, religious and secular schools, but most widespread and popular, living a general awakening of European life, a revival of industries, trades, free relations between peoples.


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