Italian language

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Italian is a Romance language and it is based on Tuscan dialects. It is somewhat intermediate between the languages of Southern Italy and the Gallo-Romance languages of the North. It 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 an official language in Italy and Switzerland. Some people claim that Tuscan became the standard language because it's so close to Latin, but other languages spoken in Italy are even closer to Latin (e.g. sardo logudorese as well as some Southern Italian idioms). It was also not the beauty of Dante's language but rather the economic power that Tuscany had at the time.

Graphemes and Phonemes of Italian

i /i/

e, é /e/

e, è /E/

a /a/

o /o/

o /O/

u /u/


p /p/

b /b/

t /t/

d /d/

c before velar vowels, ch- before palatal vowels, q before u in some words, k in foreign words /k/

g- before velar vowels, gh- before palatal vowels /g/


z /ts/

z /dz/

c- before palatal vowels; ci- before velar vowels /tS/

g- before palatal vowels, gi- before velar vowels /dZ/


f /f/

v /v/

s /s/

s /z/

sc- before palatal vowels, sci- before velar vowels /S/


m /m/

n /n/

gn /n_j/ palatal [n]


l /l/

gl(i) /l_j/ palatal [l]


r /r/

Minimal pairs

/'fato/ - /'fatto/

/'kade/ - /'kadde/

/'kasa/ - /'kassa/

/'pala/ - /'palla/

/'karo/ - /'karro/

/'pena/ - /'penna/

Length is distinctive for all consonants except /ts, dz, S, z, n_j, l_j/.

See Common phrases in different languages