This year, the Italian Language Week in the World will take place between the 18th and 23rd of October. This year, the theme chosen is “Dante, l’italiano” because 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death.
In case you ever heard about this special celebration, you need to know that it is an initiative of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language.
The Reason Behind the Italian Language Week in The World
One of the things that you may not know about the Italian language is that before the Unification of Italy back in March, 17th 1861, the Italian language was being used primarily as a written language.
The truth is that the Italian language has its origins in Latin. However, there were two different “Latins” – the common Latin and the classical Latin. While the first one was mostly spoken by less-educated citizens of the ancient Rome, the last was used for literary and ecclesiastical scopes. A very interesting thing is that many words that were used back then (both spoken and written) continue to be used today. These include words like “gloria, causa, poeta, memoria, medicina, and simile”.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Italian language started forming based on different regional dialects that were used for many centuries. This remained this way until 1861 – the year of the unification of Italy.
According to some studies, before 1861, not only 3% of Italians spoke standard Italian as almost 80% of the population was actually illiterate. These percentages started improving after World War II with the growing use of newspapers, television, radio, and with the increasing level of education of the Italian population.
With the Unification of Italy, Italian became the country’s official language. This means that it was no longer only reserved for priests, scientists, and intellectuals since it was considered a “Literary Language”.
Italian Language Week in The World
Overall speaking, the Italian Language Week in The World celebrates the linguistic unity in the country with nearly 56 million inhabitants speaking Italian. However, it is worth mentioning that older generations still use former dialects to communicate.
One interesting fact about the Italian language is that it allows you to know the regions from where someone is from. Depending on the region, the accent may be slightly different. Besides the pronunciation, the vocabulary used in the north, center, and south of Italy may also differ.
Although there are still some differences within the spoken Italian language, this is no longer a barrier to communication in Italian.
A last and interesting note is the fact that not only the Italian language is spoken by the population that lives in Italy, but also Italian is also one of the most studied foreign languages in the world.