Italian has about 70 million speakers in Italy. The language has the capacity to lift even people who cannot understand a word of the language to soaring heights in the great arias of Italian opera. What else would you expect from a language that was first written by a saint? “The Canticle of Brother Sun” by Francis of Assisi is considered to be the first unattested example of poetry written in Italian. But Italian has an interesting history of discrepancy between written and spoken forms of the language, and it has many regional variations.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer
Broadcast: October 14, 1991