Officially authorized by the Italian Ministry of Education

SHORT HISTORY OF ITALIAN LANGUAGE

SHORT HISTORY OF ITALIAN LANGUAGE

A young language with a long history.


Between 3000 BC and 1000 BC, populations of Indo-European origin arrived from Central and Eastern Europe. They mingled with the Mediterranean people, including those who lived in the Italian peninsula (Etruscans, Ligurians, Sardinians, etc.). Some of them settled in Lazio and founded Rome. People of that population were called Latins and mixing the Mediterranean and Indo-European words gave rise to Latin. When the ancient Romans conquered the territories of the peninsula, their language mingled with the pre-existing languages. Latin also influenced other languages spoken by European populations giving rise to new neo-Latin languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian).

With the ruin of the Roman Empire, while in Rome people continued to speak Latin as a cultured language, in other parts of Italy the vulgar languages spoken by the people developed. At the end of the first millennium, the central position of Tuscany in the Italian peninsula favored trade between Rome and the rest of Europe, especially Florence became an increasingly important point of exchange. With its economic development, also the culture grew, giving birth to Tuscan writers such as Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio. They wrote beautiful and important literature works in the vernacular Florentine that quickly spread and became very famous throughout Italy becoming an inspiration for all the other writers born in the following centuries. Great Tuscan scientists and artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo,
Botticelli, Machiavelli,
etc.) contribute the growth of the Florentine vulgar using it instead of Latin. The vernacular dialects continued to be spoken in the other regions of Italy because of the low literacy.

In the mid-1800s when Italy was a land of conquest disputed by the French, the Spanish and the Austrians, the desire of Italians to be free from invaders and to become an independent homeland grew. Many writers decided to use the Florentine as the only national language to write their literature works. The most important was the Milanese writer Alessandro Manzoni, with his most important work, The Betrothed. It was the main contributor to the Risorgimento that led to the unity of Italy in 1861 when Italian regions became a single independent state.

While throughout Italy Italian became the only cultured language written and spoken, due to poverty, the regional vernaculars generated a second spoken language: the dialect, different in every region of Italy, more pronounced in the southern and northern regions. With the end of the Second World War, thanks to the strong economic growth of the ‘50s - ‘60s and the strong political will to make literate the Italian people, all Italians could go to school and be able to communicate in one language: the Italian language.

Istituto Il David – Italian language school - Florence


Related items

Discover your knowledge of

italian language

Fill in the test to self-assess how much you can speak italian

Fill in the test

How much you know about

italian culture

Take now our quiz and find out your knowledge of italian culture

Take the quiz

Pills of Florence

Check out all our news and some events about Florence

Check out now

Our students say

  • All, thank you so much for making these two weeks so special for us. You are a great team! I enjoyed every day at school and also the afternoon act...
    Ekaterina Meteleva , Russia 28 November 2018

Timetable

OUR ADVANTAGES

  • Right in the city centre of Florence

    The Italian language school is located in the heart of Florence, within walking distance of all the most important monuments and the central station.

  • 30 years of teaching

    The school was established in 1983, one of the first Italian language schools in Italy. The experience of over 30 years is a guarantee of professionalism and reliability.

  • Quality of the courses at affordable prices

    Our all inclusive prices are among the best even if you consider that we provide also accommodations, all in the city center.

This website or third-party tools, used by this, make use of cookies required to operate and useful to the purposes outlined in the cookie policy. To learn more or opt out of all or some cookies, see the Cookies Policy.
By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking on a link or continuing navigation in any other way, you consent to the use of cookies.