Introduction to Italian Language
The Italian language is exceptionally appealing, with its singing accent and the romantic image it conveys. It is no coincidence that the Italian language has strongly marked the world of the arts and, more particularly, that of music—piano, solo, soprano, fortissimo: so many words that many languages borrow directly from Italian.
Most people teaching or learning the Italian language only focus on grammar without paying attention to Italian diction, which affects their understanding of the Italian language and culture. Italian diction is a useful communication tool that can take all kinds of facets. Additionally, Italian diction is a cultural aspect rich in vocabulary and pictorial representations. This complexity is found both verbally and grammatically, regardless of where you are.
Why should you learn the Italian language?
The Italian language has the advantage of being phonetically very simple; it is written as it is pronounced. Grammar and conjugation are not necessarily obvious, but they are still easy enough to learn. However, the Italian language may be considered as one of the many dialects/languages that coexist on the peninsula. When the unified Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861, a standard language had to be chosen. This choice ultimately fell on the language spoken in Florence, considered the most prestigious of all.
Italian language cultural contribution is immense and has been for millennia. Since Antiquity, Italian culture has shone globally and has continuously been reinvented ( Roman Empire, medieval Italy, Florentine and Roman Renaissance, Risorgimento, etc.). From Rome to Venice via Palermo, the Italian language allows people to discover one of the world’s richest cultures.
Why should you learn Italian diction?
To fully grasp the Italian language’s cultural heritage, it is essential to learn Italian diction. It is also important to learn Italian diction to avoid using regional dialects. You should know that using Italian dialects may make it hard for Italians to understand you.
Additionally, you should know that there are as many dialects in Italy as there are regions. There are also many dialect differences in the same area; since each village has its own dialect with its own pronunciation. Additionally, there are countless dialects in Italy. For instance, you can find different dialects only 10 km apart and even within the same neighborhood.
What’s even more astonishing is that there is often a difference between the elders’ dialect and the young people’s dialect. Young people say that they do not find a vulgar dimension when they hear their grandparents speak, unlike when they hear young people talk.
Examples of the importance of learning Italian diction
While all families speak Italian, it happens that the members of the same family speak different dialects. To give you a concrete example, a person who lives in Napoli may find himself with friends who speak Cilentano (the dialect of the Cilento area). Therefore, everyone will speak Italian, but each person has his own dialect.
Now, suppose this person was a teacher in Treviso and today works in a school in “Caposele.” In this new school, the children speak only the dialect; this one remains close to his friends’ Cilentano dialect. This person will understand his students; however, he will always answer in Italian. For most of these children, the dialect is a mother tongue and Italian a second language.
Differences and perceptions in Italian dialects
It is recurrent that within the same region, you may find a diction difference. It means that two people may not understand each other even though they belong to the same geographic area. So here are some differences in a handful of Italian dialects:
The Sicilian is often equated with the Mafiosi world because of the fast and jerky pace, historical facts, and undoubtedly because of certain films like The Godfather. Indeed, in Sicily, the Mafia Cosa Nostra was born; this criminal organization caused a great deal of carnage in the 1860s. For others, Sicilian is seen as one of the most ancient languages and beautiful Italian dialects.
Sicilian is a singing and sympathetic language to hear. A territory that has long suffered from foreign invasions (Spanish, Arab, French, etc.), and thanks to them, Sicily is a country rich in history and also artistically speaking.
Therefore, this Italian dialect shouldn’t be reduced to the mafia world since today’s Italian and Dante’s Tuscan owe a lot to the Sicilian school. The Sicilian School was a 13th-century poetic school. Moreover, Sicilian is not a dialect that derives from Italian but Latin. Today, it is even listed by Unesco as a language in its own right. Therefore, Sicilians are considered bilingual.
Trentino and Tiröl
Trentino and Tiröl dialects are very similar to German. In this autonomous region, people speak a dialect made up mainly of consonants and quite harsh assonances. In general, southern dialects are more difficult for northern Italians to understand. The Terroni (people of the land, the southern Italians) articulate very little and cut the final vowels, hence understanding the two areas.
Bologna and other northern center dialects
The Bologna dialect has a lot of vowels: à, â, é, ê, í, î, ó, ô, ú, û, å and ä. On the other hand, other dialects make many laughs because of certain accents or intonations, such as Tuscany, with its silent “C.”
Northern Italians chop more and articulate a lot more; There are many dialects in northern Italy, from Liguria to Piedmont to Lombardy. Each has its own cadence and its own way of pronouncing vowels, which often does not correspond to that of standard Italian.
Southern Italy also has a very rich variety of dialects, which are often real languages, with their own culture and history. Many Southern dialects are characterized by the very open pronunciation of the vowel e The dialect of Lecce (town of Mezzogiorno, precisely in the heel) is a good example. There is a variant of Leccese, Salentino (Salento is an area of Puglia); this one is also close to Sicilian or Calabrian dialects.
Is the most famous Italian dialect, spoken in Naples and the surrounding region. The fame of the Neapolitan language is linked to the vast artistic and musical culture of the Kingdom of Naples. Neapolitan songs have been around the world: who doesn’t know the famous song “O Sole Mio?”
The Neapolitan has its own peculiar intonation, due to the connectionsof the Kingdom of Naples with Spain first, and with France later.
Sardinian, too, is an extraordinary language that the Italians of the peninsula cannot or very little understand. Indeed, this language is closer to Spanish or Catalan than to the Italian language.
Venetian often has a connotation of a vulgar Italian dialect and often recalls the attitude of a rude person who would say insults. It also reflects Venice’s gondoliers’ intonation when they accost tourists. Perhaps it is too much tourism in Venice that is damaging the culture and the Venetian dialect.
Conclusion: Online course of Diction and Expressiveness of Italian Language
Nowadays, in Italy, it has become essential to learn Italian diction. It is crucial to learn Italian diction to pronounce without regional or dialect cadences. It will also help you understand the Italian language and also the Italian culture.
Corso online di Dizione ed Espressività Vocale