Official Italian speaking countries cartoon

Italian-Speaking Countries

Hey folks, are you trying to learn Italian? Well, get ready for a wild ride! Because once you start learning the language. You’ll get interested not only in the Italian language but also in its culture and history.

According to recent statistics, Italian is the 22nd most-spoken language in the world. Wow, that’s impressive! But where is Italian spoken all over the globe, and why?

In this post, you will discover how and where people speak Italian. So buckle up, and let’s get started!

Did you know that Italian isn’t just spoken in Italy? That’s right, there are Italian-speaking countries all over the world. And no, I’m not talking about Italian restaurants! I’m referring to countries like Switzerland, where Italian is one of their official languages. And don’t forget San Marino and Vatican City. In these, Italian is the official language!

Italy San Marino Vatican City and Switzerland cartoon

But wait, there’s more! Italian is also spoken in places like Somalia, Libya, and even Croatia.

Italian Around The World

Italian is like a linguistic globetrotter. It travels around, spreading its language love all over the world!

Sure, it may not have official status in some places. But that doesn’t stop Italian from being spoken in various assorted countries. Here is a list of countries where Italian is widely spoken but doesn’t enjoy official status: Albania, Switzerland, Croatia, Argentina, Somalia, Libya, Australia, Venezuela, Slovenia, and Malta.

So next time you’re traveling and hear some Italian being spoken, don’t be surprised if it’s not coming from the nearest Italian restaurant. It could be a whole Italian community doing their thing, spreading linguistic love.

The Origins And Evolution Of Italian

Spoiler alert: it’s not just a fancy way to order your favorite pasta dish.

Italian is an Indo-European language. Have you ever heard that before? Don’t fret, it’s a fancy way of saying it comes from the same linguistic family as many other European languages. English and Italian are also related. But what really makes Italian stand out is that it falls under the branch of the Romance languages. No, I’m not talking about romance like flowers and chocolates. I’m talking about the fact that it’s descended from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire.

In fact, Italian is the closest language to Latin (an impressive feature considering how long ago the Roman Empire was around). But Italian didn’t just magically appear out of nowhere. It’s actually a product of Latin and the vulgar Tuscan dialect.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the Tuscan dialect began to be taken seriously as a literary language. And who can we thank for that? Well, a trio of literary giants: Dante Alighieri, Pietro Bembo, and Alessandro Manzoni. These guys helped take the spoken dialect and turn it into the official language of Italy. It’s like they were the linguistic equivalent of the Avengers. They came together to save the day and created one great language.

So there you have it, folks. Italian may have had a rocky start. But it’s now one of the most beautiful and romantic languages worldwide. And we have Dante, Pietro, and Alessandro to thank for that. Keep on speaking that Italian, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be a literary badass too.

Italian Today In Stats

In Italy, about 59 million people speak Italian as their mother tongue. That’s a lot of people saying “ciao” and “grazie” daily.

Also, there are about 4 million students and immigrants. They are either studying or working in Italy and learning the language.

Now count all the people worldwide who have Italian origins and speak the language. In fact, Italian is the 22nd most spoken language in the world, with an estimated 85 million speakers.

But why is Italian among the most studied languages?

Hey folks, do you know what’s harder than learning Italian? Trying to understand what your Italian grandmother is saying when she’s angry!

But seriously, Italian isn’t the easiest language to pick up. And let’s be honest, it’s not exactly the go-to language for business either. You’re not going to impress anyone in a boardroom by ordering a plate of spaghetti carbonara.

But why do so many people still want to learn Italian? Well, it’s all about two things: emigration and culture.

See, Italians were slow to settle in new continents. I mean, they were probably too busy drinking espresso and arguing about soccer. But once they did start emigrating, they brought culture and heritage.

And that’s why so many people of Italian descent want to learn the language. They want to reconnect with their roots and understand where they come from. Plus, it’s a great way to impress Nonna at the next family gathering.

Italian culture is also rich. Whether it’s food, music, art, or fashion, there’s something about Italy that makes you want to say “bellissimo!”

And before you know it, you’re knee-deep in Italian lessons. And you’re dreaming of the day you can order a cappuccino like a true Italian.

So, if you’re thinking about learning Italian, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not worth it. Embrace the culture, the heritage, and the passion that comes with it. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll even understand what Nonna is yelling about.

Italian Speaking Countries Outside Italy

Did you know that the Italian language is spoken in 26 countries around the world?

It’s even the official language of Vatican City, which is basically like its own little country. And if you’re ever in San Marino or Switzerland, you better brush up on your Italian. Because that’s the official language there too.

But it’s not limited to those places. Oh no! Communities of Italians and Italian speakers have spread like wildfire. They have gone all around the Italian borders and even further beyond. It’s like Italian has a passport with unlimited access.

In fact, did you know the following information? Corsica, Monaco, and Albania all consider Italian their second or third foreign language. I mean, that’s just fancy talk for saying they have a not-so-secret thing for Italian.

And if you head down south to Malta, you’ll find that Italian has had a bit of a rocky relationship there. It was almost eliminated from Malta’s linguistic repertoire due to politics. But nowadays it’s a sort of dialect there.

But Italian’s influence doesn’t stop there. Back in the day, around 1882 to be exact, Italy took over Eritrea as one of its colonies. And they didn’t stop there, they also had colonies in Ethiopia, Libya, and Italian Somalia.

And you know what they say, once you go Italian, you never go back. Italian left its mark on those places, with several Italian schools in Asmara and Eritrea. There was also a large Italian population in Libya at one point.

And now, Italian is present in the North African region. This is largely due to commercial exchange with Italy. But also related to a small community of colonizer’s descendants.

So, next time you’re traveling and hear Italian being spoken. Just remember, it’s like a little piece of Italy following you around the world. Ciao!

Italian Beyond The Ocean

Hey folks, did you know that for centuries, Italian culture has been a huge part of the American scene? This is thanks to the massive emigration of Italians to the New World. That’s right! And this great Italian emigration can be divided into two main periods.

First up, we have the period between the Unification of Italy in 1861 and the rise of fascism.

And, we have the second migration between the end of the Second World War and the 1970s.

In these two periods, almost 19 million Italians left their country to never return. Wow, that’s a lot of pizza makers and pasta chefs!

Now, here’s the kicker. There are 15 million people in the U.S. who identify themselves as Italo-Americans. But only about 1 million people report that they use Italian at home! I mean, come on guys, what happened to la lingua bella?

But don’t worry, folks, the Italian language is still holding its own. In recent decades, Italian has held steady as the 5th to 7th most studied language in the United States.

And Italian is even more popular in Central and South America. Argentina has a population of about 1.1 million Italian speakers. What should you say when you visit Argentina, “ciao” or “hola”?

Venezuela is where we find the second largest population of Italian speakers. There are about 200,000 people here. And there used to be much more. But the number has come down in the past few years. This is the result of the country going through political turmoil and civil unrest. Brazil follows suit with a count of 40,000 speakers.

Estimating how many Italian speakers are in Central and South America can be tricky. Small groups and communities can be found throughout the continent. You can spot them from Panama to Chile. So if you’re traveling to South America, don’t be surprised if you hear some Italian words mixed in with Spanish!

Italian Speaking Countries On The Other Side Of The World 

Hey folks, did you know that the first Italian to reach Australia was a sailor named Mario Sega? Yeah, he didn’t have a Sega console to keep him entertained back then, so he had to sail all the way to Australia.

Anyway, fast forward to today, where do we find Italians? We have a significant concentration of Italians in Victoria and South Australia. As well as over 300,000 Italians down under. But, immigrant communities tend to mix a bunch of dialects and local languages. And it is no different in this case, the spoken language is a whole different story. It’s like they created their own language: The Italo-Australian dialect.

But don’t worry, mate! Australian schools started introducing Italian to the curriculum in the 1970s. And needless to say, it’s been a hit! Italian is now the second most popular language to study in Australia. It’s second only to Japanese. So, who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be speaking Italo-Australian. And we’ll be doing so without even realizing it.

Wrapping Up!

Well, in my case, I wanted to learn Italian so I could finally understand my great-grandmother. Sometimes she seemed to be speaking words of wisdom, and I’d be missing out!

Italian is a beautiful language (even if you have no idea what they’re saying half the time). And learning Italian is the perfect excuse to eat a lot of pasta and pizza. And when somebody tells you something, you respond with: it’s “cultural immersion.”

Plus, have you heard Italian people talk with their hands? It’s like they’re conducting a symphony or something. I don’t even need to understand the words, just give me those hand gestures and I’m good to go.

So yeah, your initial goal should be to be able to order a pizza. And don’t forget the desire to understand your nonna’s stories about growing up in Italy. It sounds like a comforting evening!

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  1. Wow! I knew that Italian would surely be spoken in countries other than Italy, but I didn’t expect it to be so widespread!! I’ve been thinking about learning Italian myself at some point, but I’m going to focus on my other current language studies first. 

    Thank you for this informational post! I really learnt a lot and am feeling more motivated to begin my Italian studies.

  2. Wow I didn’t know that Italian is the 22nd spoken language in the world! This is truly impressive, especially when you consider that they don’t have organizations like the Commonwealth or Francophone rio promote the Italian language and culture. Though I was aware that Somali people talk Italian because of the colonization, I didn’t know that people spoke it in Albania as well! Thanks and continue to make us discover new facts everyday!

  3. Hi!

    I didn’t know that part of Italy spoke Italian as their first language. Thanks for sharing.

    This part of Switzerland was actually part of Italy in the past. I’ll be going to Switzerland soon. I’m moving there! So, I’ll make sure and go by Canton Ticino and experience it firsthand!

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