Romance language spoken in Italy (including Sicily and Sardinia) and in parts of Switzerland and France (including Corsica). Its 66 million speakers worldwide include many immigrants and their descendants in the Americas. Written Italian dates from the 10th century. The standard literary form is based on the dialect of Florence, but many Italians do not speak it, instead using regional dialects. These include Upper Italian (Gallo-Italian); Venetian in northeastern Italy; Tuscan; the dialects of Marche, Umbria, and Rome; of Abruzzi, Puglia, Naples, Campania, and Lucania; and of Calabria, Otranto, and Sicily. See also Italic languages.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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