The rate of return for investors for investors on ten-year bonds on the secondary trading market — the implied costs for governments to borrow fresh funds, had already dropped below three percent on Spanish bonds last week.
It's the problem italian language learners have faced for as long as anyone can remember. You've diligently studied your Italian grammar, and carefully practiced your phrases ahead of your first visit to Italy, only to realise upon arrival that the Italians around you seem to be speaking a different language entirely.
Italy's dialects are far more than just heavily-accented Italian. They seem like totally different languages because, in fact, that's exactly what they are.
It's not quite correct to call them “dialects”, which are actually variants on a standard language. These are different languages which evolved separately from Latin – or, in some cases, other languages.
And even when they switch to Italian, speakers of these dialects or languages often speak with a heavy accent, much to the dismay of anyone still getting to grips with with basic Italian. Even in a big city like Florence or Rome, Italian spoken in a thick local accent can be hard to decipher – even for native Italian speakers from other areas.
As the map below shows, every region and often province has its own local language. Some have more than one, and each town may also have a variation.
Many of these are part of language “families” and some are more closely related to Italian, or to Latin, than others.
The map below classifies them further and also shows how languages in different regions are connected.
This might look complicated, but anyone who lives in a small italian town will no doubt still be thinking that a more detailed map is needed, as there are actually many more, smaller variations within these categories.
Do people in Italy really still speak all of these dialects?
The language we call Standard Italian derives from 13th-century Florentine. Until then, there had been no written rules, and the languages of what is now Italy had mainly evolved by being spoken.
When Italy was unified in 1861, only 2.5 percent of the population could actually speak the Italian language. All spoke their regional languages. Now, that figure is in the high 90s, though around five percent still speak only or predominantly in their regional language.
- Twelve Roman dialect words you should know
- Nine handy Venetian words for a trip to Venice
- Thirteen useful words from the Florentine dialect
- Ajò! Handy local words to use on your next trip to Sardinia
Do you speak one of Italy's regional languages? Are you trying to learn one? We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing [email protected].