Italian 101

Italian (italiano) is a Romance language spoken by about 70 million people primarily in Italy. Standard Italian is based on Tuscan dialects and is somewhat intermediate between the languages of Southern Italy and the Gallo-Romance languages of the North. Like many languages it is written using the Latin alphabet, Italian has double consonants. However, contrary to, for example, French and Spanish, double consonants are pronounced as long (geminated) in Italian. As in most Romance languages (with the notable exception of French), stress is distinctive. Out of the Romance languages, Italian is generally considered to be the one most closely resembling Latin in terms of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

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