With the recent release of Dan Brown’s latest novel, Inferno, The Guardian’s Nick Lezard discusses in this article ten important facts about Dante, emphasizing his relevance for modern day writers and Italian speakers especially.
Elaborating on fact number five, which states that Dante “more or less invented the Italian language,” Lezard writes:
“OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but in his day there was no country-wide language – rather, several dialects. This is still pretty much the case today, but the reason Italian is the way it is is largely because Dante decided to write his poem in his beloved Tuscan dialect, rather than in Latin.”
If you can speak some Italian, or are currently learning the language, can you identify any dialects in addition to Tuscan? If you’ve signed up for GLN’s Italian Foreigner class this summer, it may be an interesting question for your teacher.