Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database

The SAC is here to pro­vide you with op­por­tu­ni­ties to study Ital­ian out­side class time. If you need ad­vice and guid­ance on what to study, you should talk to your class tu­tor, who will help you iden­tify your strengths and weak­nesses and make rec­om­men­da­tions on what to study.

A bit about the language

Ital­ian (italiano) is a Ro­mance lan­guage spo­ken by about 60 mil­lion peo­ple in Italy, and by an­other 10 mil­lion Ital­ian de­scen­dants in the world. It is also spo­ken by an ad­di­tional 125 mil­lion peo­ple as a for­eign lan­guage. In Switzer­land, Ital­ian is one of four of­fi­cial lan­guages, spo­ken mainly in the can­tons of Gri­gioni and Ti­cino. It is also the of­fi­cial lan­guage of San Marino, as well as the pri­mary lan­guage of Vat­i­can City. Stan­dard Ital­ian, adopted by the state af­ter the uni­fi­ca­tion of Italy, is based on Tus­can (in par­tic­u­lar on the di­alects of the city of Flo­rence). Its de­vel­op­ment was also in­flu­enced by the other Ital­ian di­alects and by the Ger­manic lan­guage of the post-Ro­man in­vaders.

Ital­ian de­rives from Latin, and is the clos­est na­tional lan­guage to Latin. Un­like most other Ro­mance lan­guages, Ital­ian re­tains Lat­in's con­trast be­tween short and long con­so­nants. In par­tic­u­lar, among the Ro­mance lan­guages, Ital­ian is the clos­est to Latin in terms of vo­cab­u­lary. Lex­i­cal sim­i­lar­ity is 89% with French, 87% with Cata­lan, 85% with Sar­din­ian, 82% with Span­ish, 78% with Rhaeto-Ro­mance and 77% with Ro­man­ian. Ital­ian is writ­ten in the Latin al­pha­bet.