Italian is spoken by more than 65 million people worldwide, the majority of whom live in Italy. Significant numbers of Italian speakers can also be found in France, Switzerland and areas of Croatia and Slovenia.
Italian is a Proto-Italo-Western Romance Language, from which it derives its close relationship to Spanish, French and Portuguese. The standard modern form of spoken Italian is based on the dialect of the Tuscan city of Florence with some influence from the dialect spoken in Rome. This standardized form of the language is used in magazines, periodicals, newspapers and news broadcasts. However, spoken Italian is almost always dialectical.
The regional dialects include:
- Northern Italian (Gallo-Italian)
- Tuscan (including Corsican)
- Southern Italian
- Eastern Italian