Talk Like a Local: How to Speak Roman Dialect

Unofficial Guide to Rome

Piazza Pantheon Rome Italy Europe black and white obelisk

Many people don’t know that there are many, many ways to speak Italian (just as a unified “Italian cuisine” doesn’t actually exist). I’m not talking about slight variations in slang and accent, like the difference between New York, Georgian, Midwestern, and Californian versions of American English. Rather, in Italy, each regional dialect is distinctly different from the standard language, with its own heritage, culture, and unique set of meanings.

So what is a dialect anyways?

Languages go through complicated evolutions, particularly in countries like Italy which are separated by major geographical distances and features. Italy has a lot of mountains and islands, so its natural that in a time before low cost airlines ruled the world, very separate places developed language (and culture) very differently. In Italy, dialects (like the ‘standard’ language) are based primarily upon Latin, but some parts of Italy have dialects influenced by other languages as well, such as Greek due to a history of…

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