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If you’re wondering where Italian is spoken outside of Italy, this article will tell you everything you need to know.
It is always useful to know that there are other countries where you can practice your Italian skills or ask for help from native speakers.
And if we only tell you that there is practically at least one Italian-speaking country on every continent on the planet, you wouldn’t believe us.
Therefore, keep reading and getting to know other Italian-speaking countries where you can practice the language and find your personal Italian tutors.
Let’s get started!
Apart from Italy, there are many other countries, mainly in Europe where Italian is an official or national language, such as Albania, San Marino, some parts of Slovenia and Croatia, or Switzerland.
But, let’s take one at a time, and take a deeper look at the Italian-speaking countries.
With Italy in the first place, other Italian-speaking countries in Europe where Italian is the official language, are Albania, Slovenia, Vatican City, while in the past, in Monaco and Malta Italian was an official language in the past.
Other countries where Italian is considered as one of the main languages but isn’t officially used are Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, and Romania.
Naturally, the home of the Italian language and culture, the cradle of the Roman Empire and Latin, where Italian is the official and national language. With more than 60 million native speakers, it is one of the major languages.
As for Italy, this boot-country belongs to south-central Europe, the Old Continent and it is also a cradle of western culture and the place where there are the most UNESCO Heritage Sites on the planet.
The country of amazing cuisine, fashion, and the Mediterranean way of life is only one part of what this country is worldwide known for.
Surrounded by different seas, Adriatic on the East, Mediterranean and Ionian on the South, and Ligurian and Tyrrhenian on the west, the country’s landscape and high mountains on the peninsula are worth visiting.
Albania is a neighboring country to Italy where more than 800.000 Albanians speak Italian.
Their mutual trading and cultural connection led to the point when Albanians grew learning and speaking Italian as much as their native language, Albanian.
After World War II, Albania fell under communists, so the connection with Italy was quite poor if they had any at all. However, Albanians were already so sentimentally connected to Italy that many of them risked their lives learning Italian from Italian television and channels.
After the communist regime, Italy and Albania rearranged their mutual trading and cultural relations. At that time, many Albanians migrated to Italy, which resulted in today’s many Albanian enclaves across the whole of Italy.
San Marino is one small European country, surrounded by Italy, where Italian is an official national language.
Around 25.000 speakers speak Italian as their first language. Given the fact that the population of this country is around 34.000, the number of Italian speakers is indeed large.
Slovenia is another neighboring country to Italy, and like other countries, on its borders, you can find people speaking Italian. In Slovenian Istria, which is part of the country that shares borders with Italy, Italian is the co-official language, where mainly in the cities of Piran, Koper and Izola live native Italian speakers.
Italian is also one of the popular second languages in Slovenia. Around 15% of Slovenians speak Italian as their second language, and around 5% of them use Italian every day.
In case you don’t know, in Switzerland, it is quite common to speak more than two languages fluently. That’s because there are four official languages: French, German, Romansh, and Italian, of course.
One of the reasons for making Italian an official language is that Switzerland is one more neighboring country to Italy. Back in old times, the canton of Ticino, where Italian is spoken, was part of the Duchy of Milan.
Interestingly, the same as French or German spoken in Switzerland, Italian spoken there and in Italy are slightly different. The word ‘reservation’ in Italy is ‘prenotazione’ and in Switzerland is ‘riservazione.’
In one of the smallest independent countries, in the heart of Rome, Italian is the official language as well.
You’ve guessed it right: it is Vatican City, the home and residence of the Pope, spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic believers.
Even though Latin is used there every minute of every day, speaking Italian is, undoubtedly, useful.
With more than 700.000 speakers, the third-largest Italian-speaking population can be found in the USA.
It isn’t strange, especially because during the 1800s Italians, mainly from the southern part of Italy, migrated to America to find a better life and settled in New Jersey and New York. Their descendants today still live there.
Over time, American Italians became one of the leading forces, from business to politics and media, so they contributed to American culture a lot.
American Italians are very proud of their Italian heritage and even today, they speak Italian actively at home.
Just like in the USA, during the 1800s, many Italians migrated to Argentina searching for their happiness and better lives.
With themselves, Italians brought pizza and gelateria, and thanks to them Argentinians met the amazing tastes of pasta and pizza.
Italian is widely spoken across the whole country, but Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, became the city with most Italian speakers.
Interestingly, it is estimated that more than 60% of Argentinians have Italian heritage.
If we say that Italian is spoken in Australia, you wouldn’t believe us, would you?
But it is true.
Italians were the first Europeans who landed on the Australian continent.
After the 1850s Italians came to Australia in large numbers, and today, they are one of the largest communities in Australia. Italian descendants mainly live in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.
If you think we are joking, we indeed aren’t.
It sounds pretty weird when you read about the Italian-speaking countries in Africa, but there are many.
Those countries are mainly ex-Italian colonies, such as Libya, which in the colonial time was named Italian Libya, and Italian East Africa, which today include countries Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
The number of Italian speakers is unknown but descendants of Italians still speak the language actively, and Italian is also used in forms of commerce.
With at least one country on practically every continent, Italian is an official, national, or widely used language, so if you still consider the pros and cons of learning Italian, you can see that you don’t use it only in Italy.
Also, Italian shares many similarities with Spanish and English as well, so that’s another benefit as a starting point.
So, sit down, book a lesson, and enter the Italian world.
Italy, Albania, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland, Vatican City
The USA, Argentina
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