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Italian Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning Italian it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Italian language facts:

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5 Interesting Italian Language Facts

1. Italian is a Romance language derived from Latin

Italian slowly evolved from Latin into many dialects. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Tuscan dialect became the most popular version of Italian, owing to the central location of Florence and its thriving economy. Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio, who left a long-lasting mark on the Italian language, all came from Tuscany. Italian then became Italy’s official language when the peninsula was unified in the 19th century.

2. There are around 85 million Italian speakers across the world

65 million Italian speakers are native speakers within the European Union. Italian is primarily spoken in Italy, but is also an official language in San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City. Thanks to a wide diaspora, Italian is also a minority language in various countries across the world, including in the United States, Australia, and Malta.

3. The longest Italian word contains 26 letters

Italian’s longest word is precipitevolissimevolmente, and stands for “in a way like someone or something that acts very hastily”. Other long Italian words include particolareggiatissimamente (“in an extremely detailed way”) and anticostituzionalissimamente (“in a way that strongly violates the constitution”).

4. Italian has significantly influenced English and other Western languages

Common English words of Italian origin include broccoli, fiasco, propaganda, flu, quarantine, lottery and zucchini.

5. Italian is the universal language of music, especially classic music

There are countless occurrences of Italian loanwords such as a cappella, maestro, orchestra, crescendo and soprano. With many compositors and musicians being Italian when musical notation appeared during the Renaissance, Italian became the standard language for musicians and music lovers.

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Frequently asked questions

What will I learn?

Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.

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Are you unsure where to start or progress to? Then take our level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.

Do I receive a qualification or certificate?

At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. You will be able to be download it from your MyCactus account. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems. You will have a universally accepted reference for your studies. (Important: Please note that you must complete the end of course questionnaire sent to you to be able to get your certificate! You will receive the course questionnaire by e-mail at the end of your course.)

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You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.

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