Italy is made up of 20 different regions. Until the 1800’s each region had it’s own dialect that was spoken. In Tuscany, the National language of Italy was created. It is this Italian language that is taught and is now known by all of Italy. This is the Italian that we are currently learning. Well, attempting to learn.
So, all along, I have thought about these other dialects in the 20 regions. I imagined it would be like someone from the US, hearing the same word spoken in Maine, Tennessee, West Virginia, New York and Boston. Each word would have a little different sound, based on the area you were from, but that basically you would be able to understand one another.
I further imagined what different words might sound like traveling from region to region in Italy. Hmm, would southern Italy have like a twang, like we do in the South of the US. Would Northern Italy pronounce there words with more of a German sound and perhaps.
So, I went out on a limb and asked our professoressa about it in our last class. She stared at me like I was pazza. Apparently, I didn’t quite *get* the whole dialect thing. You see, I though dialects were kinda like an accent. Oh, nay- nay. The dialect of a region is a totally different language. And there are 20! Yeah, missed the boat on that one.
Allora, basically, we are learning the national Italian language that everyone understands, yet there are 20 other completely different local languages, different in each region, that people speak. The words are totally different. Oh Caspita!
So, I took a few deep breaths and decided not to get overwhelmed….one thing at a time. The National language is challenging enough without even thinking aboutadding a local dialect to the mix.
I guess I won’t be fittin’ in with the locals any time soon.
I leave you with a few more of my favorite Italian words. And don’t worry, these are from the National language…not dialects.
So, what are some of your favorite words or sayings in a foreign language and why?