A useful excuse for an inability to speak Italian

1 Nov

Before the 1960s, Italian as a spoken language was far from uniform. Regional dialects abounded ( and still do) and what we understand as Italian was mainly used for literary works. When I was in Naples for example, the word for bread was a completely different word than the word that I found in Bologna. This is not helpful.

(On the theme of standardisation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3103 might be of some interest. It’s the report published by the International Organization for Standardisation on the standards for brewing the perfect cup of tea. There are in fact thousands of standards that have been defined by this organisation, yet they still haven’t managed to make everybody in Italy use the same words.)


One Response to “A useful excuse for an inability to speak Italian”

  1. ben osborn November 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    I’ve been told that Dante’s Italian was chosen specifically to be the national language, because it was considered the most beautiful. Is this in any way accurate? Wikipedia talks about a debate, in the 16th Century, over whether Dante or Petrarch had the true Italian. I’ve read both in bilingual editions (as I can’t speak/read Italian myself); Dante’s is less refined certainly, but a lot more fun. So, I wonder. Maybe you can find out for me, seeing as you’re finding things out?

    Anyway, hope you’re well.


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