When dining in Italy, there is one thing you will notice right off la cucina locale, which means the local cuisine. This is not unlike here in our own country. If you live in Texas, you will find on the menu of most restaurants an entrée called “Chicken Fried Steak”. Once you cross the Texas state border, you will not find “Chicken Fried Steak” almost anywhere else in the country. In Italy every region has their own specialty and methods of preparing the dish, which will depend on the season, the local produce and any other ingredients. So it stands to reason most regions have their own accent, dialect and sometimes their own language.

The various languages and dialects have evolved over centuries and remained distinct from the standard Italian for several reasons, such as the inability to travel, no radio or TV until the twentieth century and the attempt to maintain their cultural heritage and independence.

The dialects have many distinct qualities, which distinguish them from others. Just as an example the Neapolitan dialect is the most widely known because of its use in popular songs. The speakers of this dialect clip the articles to single vowels. In Romanesco the letter “r” replaces the letter “l”, so instead of pronouncing the word volta meaning once, they would pronounce the word as vorta.

In all the regions of Italy schoolchildren learn the standard Italian and sometimes their regional dialect also. What is now known as the standard Italian has evolved from the Tuscan dialect it started from to the common language of Italy.