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Due to its long history of strongly independent regional identities, until its relatively recent unification in 1861, Italy has kept a wide variety of regional languages, some of which have gained official recognition (like Sardinian).

The largest group of non-Italian speakers (some 1.6 million people) are the ones who speak Sardinian (Sardo, Sardu) - romance language. Four dialects of Sardinian can be distinguished: Gallurese Sardinian, Logudorese Sardinian, Campidanese Sardinian, and Sassarese Sardinian.

Another quite large community of some 600,000 people in Friuli speak Friulian, a Rhaeto-romance language, spoken in the Udine Province, extending to Gorizia and the Venezia provinces. It is sometimes called Eastern Ladin, since it shares the same roots as Ladin, although over the centuries it has diverged under the influence of surrounding languages, including German, Italian, Venetian, and Slovene. Despite its large number of speakers Friulian has no official status nationally or regionally. Pier Paolo Pasolini's first book of poetry was in Friulian.



Further regional languages include:

Regional Languages of Italy
(and their dialects)

by Catherine Marien

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Extinct and dead languages of Italy
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