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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Marika here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Italian questions.
The question for this lesson is: Do Italians only speak Italian, or are there other languages commonly spoken in Italy?
Italian is such a famous and beautiful language that many people only know about standard Italian. However, that’s only half the story. Actually, many Italians are native bilinguals.
Italian is the most widely spoken language in Italy, but there are lots of regional languages or dialects called dialetti.
People don’t really use dialects in official or formal settings. That’s why Italian is the official language of Italy; it’s necessary to have a common language everyone can understand and use together. For the most part, dialects are only spoken and used in casual situations.
A few of the major dialects might sound familiar to you. The major ones are Neapolitan, Sicilian, Sardinian, Venetian, and Friulian.
And there are a lot more.-
You probably won’t be able to find a full list of dialetti online. There are two main reasons why.
Dialects don’t have a written literature, so few documents have been written about them.
In fact, most children learn a dialetto at the same time they learn Standard Italian. The difference is that Italian is what’s used in schools, while dialects are used with family and friends. Some people consider dialects as the only language that can truly express one’s innermost feelings. Unfortunately, many children today don’t learn any dialetti at all.
So, if you go to Italy and you overhear an unfamiliar phrase, it might not even be in Italian. It could be a phrase from one of the many Italian dialects.
Isn’t that interesting?
If you have any more questions, leave them in the comments below!
A presto! “See you soon!”