A GUIDE TO ITALIAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE
AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE PAGE PROVIDING INSIGHT INTO ITALIAN HERITAGE
The United States is host to myriad interwoven nationalities and cultures. Of the many different cultures represented in America and around the world, the Italian culture is perhaps one of the most fascinating, rich, and diverse. With a focus on family, the arts, music, and food, Italy is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and part of that culture is the Italian language, spoken by the vast majority of the country's 60 million people. Discovering more about the culture and literature of Italy is a wonderful way to expand your horizons as you learn this unique and romantic language.
Perhaps the foundation of all Italian culture is family. Italians love to spend time with family, and they often host large meals and gatherings where they can spend time together. The arts have also played a major role in shaping the culture of this fascinating country. From intricate paintings to castles and churches, art in Italy is known as some of the finest ever created. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are just a couple of the revered, respected, and renowned artists Italy has produced.
The Italian language is a Romance language, one of the many that evolved from Latin. There are several regional dialects in modern Italy, but standard Italian is the only official written language. It is also the official language of Vatican City and some areas of Croatia and Slovenia. While not the official language, it is also spoken in countries such as France, Egypt, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
Enduring endless centuries of war, Italy is a country known for its resilience. The country has faced many hardships, with one of the earliest recorded examples being the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79, which buried the city of Pompeii in ash. Conquerors and conquests plagued the country over the centuries, but the Italian Renaissance between 1300 and 1600 was a period of true enlightenment, as art and literature began to help shape the nation's political positions and overall culture. In 1946, Italy declared itself a republic, and the nation's current constitution was put into place on Jan. 1, 1948.
Italians love to participate in a wide array of celebrations. For instance, on April 25, the end of World War II is celebrated, known as the Festa della Liberazione, or Liberation Day. And on June 2, a huge celebration takes place in Rome marking the beginnings of the Italian republic with parades, activities, and delicious food. These and many other celebrations commemorate the important milestones in Italy's storied history.
- Italian: A Century in the Spotlight
- Italian Proverbs and Values
- Italian Culture: Family
- Historical Events That Shaped Modern Italy
- Italian Immigration and Cultural Assimilation
- Thirty-One Days of Italians
Whether you're learning to speak Italian or any other language, dictionaries are a helpful tool. Dictionaries are always the first point of reference when studying a language, so be sure to choose one that is complete and informative. The best dictionaries are easy to use and offer a complete vocabulary of the language to help you speak it fluently and properly. Tourist dictionaries are helpful if you plan to travel to Italy, so you'll always have a quick reference on hand. Today, you can also do a quick search on the Internet for fast translations of practically every word in the Italian language.
- Italian Travel Phrases
- Florio's Italian/English Dictionary
- Italian Picture Dictionary: Numbers
- The Italian Alphabet
Grammar and Language Training
In addition to learning words and their meanings, it's important to use good grammar when speaking Italian in order to make yourself understood. Classes are available online or at a local university or community college, but there are also plenty of resources to help you learn online. Understand how to put the Italian language into practice will help you be more confident when you speak.
- Italian Course: Verbal Introductions
- Italian Fast Course
- Basic Italian: A Grammar Workbook (PDF)
- Italian Grammar Lesson: Adjectives and Food
- Five Techniques to Becoming Fluent in Italian
- Eight Interesting Facts About the Italian Language
While learning to speak Italian, knowing basic vocabulary is important. Some of the main components of vocabulary include greetings, basic questions, ordinal and cardinal numbers, and colors. As you practice, your vocabulary skills will improve, and you can incorporate new words into full sentences. Practice words aloud to get a feel for the way they sound when spoken. Listening to people speaking Italian will also help you hone your skills. The more words you learn, the easier it will become to speak the language confidently and fluently.
- Italian Foods
- Basic Italian Words and Phrases for Your Trip to Italy
- Italian Noun Basics
- Italian Adjectives
- The Italian Verb Machine
Literature has played an important role in the culture of every country on earth. From the medieval period to the Renaissance and beyond, Italian literature has shaped the nation. Learning about important authors and works from this country will help you not only improve your understanding of the language but appreciate more about the colorful culture of Italy. From the poetry of Dante to writings by Machiavelli, Italy has produced plenty of awe-inspiring literature.
- Italian American Studies
- Italian Literature
- Origins, Development, and History of Italian Literature
- The Divine Comedy
- From Dante to Eco: Why Read Italian Literature?
- History of Italian Literature
Games and Exercises
Participating in fun games and performing verbal and visual exercises are excellent ways to help you learn a new language. Try your hand at some interactive online games that will help you hone your Italian skills. Exercises like memory practice and speaking words out loud will assist you in becoming more confident in speaking the language. Try as many different things as you can, working on improving your skills as you go. With a wide swath of resources available, you'll be able to speak the language well with a bit of practice.
- Online Italian Verb Conjugation Exercises
- Italian: Common Expressions Game
- Household Items Quiz
- Italian Nouns Practice
- Top Free Apps for Learning Italian
This page was last updated by Marco Permunian
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