This is a piece of writing a former student of mine sent me.
A summary of the Italian Language its history and its varieties.
The Italian language has gone trough lots of changes since Second World War till today, and yet if we look at the Divine Comedy, which was written in the Tuscan vernacular in 1315 A.C., and if we try to analyse the words that the good old Dante used to compose its oeuvre with, and then compare it to the modern Italian language, we can see that almost nothing seem to have changed.
However, the Italian language has acquired a whole battery of neologisms, jargons, and foreignisms especially: Anglicism, Gallicism and some Arabism. Moreover, this language has many intricate varieties, which differ in space and power; by this I mean the geographical position of the speaker, to its age, the social status he belongs too and the level of education he/she has had.
Also, a very important factor to be considered is the level of formality or informality that is employed in a conversation or in a piece of writing, furthermore, who are the speakers? Or for whom is the piece of writing been written to? Do they know each other? Is it a friendly epistle or an official one? To these questions and to the varieties of the Italian language we must add its dialects, which should never be thought as a deformation or a vulgarisation of this language. For Italian itself was a dialect, the Tuscan dialect, or better the Florentine vernacular, which was spoken by the common people the volgo instead of Latin.
This vernacular was picked by Dante and the Tre Corone, after he had had searched throughout Italy for the purest of the idioms to juxtapose with the language of the nobles and the Church, Latin. And with which he had afterwards written his Comedy, and because of the popularity that this opus had gained, later on, throughout the whole of 1560-1890, when the countless discussions on the Questione Della Lingua took place, each time the result was the same: ‘the language of the Divine Comedy had had to be the national language of Italy’.
Hence, all the other Italian dialects must be considered sister languages, which have their own syntax and lexicon; yet these dialects go through further categorizations, such as: in some of these there is a standardisation of it, hence they fall in the category of the dialectal Koinè, and similarly to the Italian language varieties, the dialects too must be considered by the same logic of space and power.
Moreover, within the country’s legal boundaries there are small virtual islands where people speak other languages as their first language instead of Italian, these are called language minorities, and have the same rights as the main language.