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Italian marine gets six more months at home

India's top court on Monday granted an Italian marine detained over the 2012 killing of two fishermen off the coast of Kerala another six months at home to recover from a medical condition.

Italian marine gets six more months at home
Italian marine Massimiliano Lattore has been granted six more months at home. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Massimiliano Lattore and his fellow marine Salvatore Girone shot the fishermen while serving as part of an anti-piracy mission off southern India in 2012.

The incident led to a diplomatic row between Italy and India with both marines barred from leaving India pending trial.

Lattore was finally allowed to travel back to his country last year for what Italian media reports described as a minor procedure to correct a congenital heart disease.

In April this year, he had sought and received a three-month stay from returning to India.

The Supreme Court on Monday granted him six more months in Italy for recovery while accepting his fresh application for an extension of the stay on his return order.

The other marine, Girone, is living at Italy's embassy in New Delhi.

The trial against both marines remains pending at a special court in New Delhi over confusion which agency would investigate their case. It had not opened the case when the pair was in India.

The Italian government in June announced that it had launched international arbitration proceedings in the case.

The unilateral move by the Italian government was a result of failure of direct negotiations with its Indian counterpart.

On Monday, the Italian government requested the top court in New Delhi to not hear the criminal trial of the marines as it wanted arbitration on the matter.

The Indian government told the court that it had received an arbitration notice from the Italian government and would respond to it shortly.

Ever since the incident India has insisted that the fate of the two marines must be resolved in its courts because its citizens were shot in its territorial waters.

Italy's government has argued that the shooting occurred in international waters off southern India and should be dealt under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

IN MAPS: A brief introduction to Italy’s many local ‘dialects’

Are the Italians around you speaking a completely different language? Why are local dialects often so far removed from modern Italian? Here's what you need to know.

IN MAPS: A brief introduction to Italy's many local 'dialects'
A man wearing a t-shirt reading ''100% Venetian''. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

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.

READ ALSO: Ten of the most common Italian language mistakes you should avoid

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.

Map: Antonio Ciccolella/Wikimedia Commons

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.

 
While you might imagine that these dialects or languages are mainly used by older people and are slowly dying out, that's not usually the case. 
 
While they'll also speak standard Italian, you'll find young Italians proudly speaking their local lingo everywhere from central Naples to the valleys of South Tyrol.
 
Some are far more widely used than others. In fact the most widely spoken is Neapolitan, with over five million speakers today.
 
The least widely-used is Croato. This dialect is used by an ethnic minority from a region corresponding to present-day Croatia and is spoken in the southern region of Molise. Today it only around 1,000 speakers.
 
In the southernmost parts of Italy, such as Salento and Calabria, Griko dialects are thought to derive from ancient Greek.
 
Meanwhile, Sardinian is classified as an “endangered” language by Unesco,  Like Italian, Sardinian has roots in Latin – in fact, some linguists argue that, of all the modern Romance languages, Sardinian is the closest to Latin – but it also displays much older influences. Today, particularly younger people on the island speak a mix of both languages, a sort of “Sarditalian”.
 
For more details, here are our guides to getting started with some of Italy's regional languages:

 

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