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Italian Minor

The Italian language is a prominent Romance language spoken mostly in Italy, by approximately 60 million people. Italian is also spoken by substantial populations outside of Italy, including in Switzerland, South America (particularly Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina), and former colonial regions in Africa (Somalia, Libya, and Eritrea).

Italian is a direct descendant of Latin. Italian grew out of Vulgar Latin, and was first formalized in the works of Dante Alighieri, most notably “The Divine Comedy.” Today the language enjoys great cultural significance due to the works of literature, cinema, and opera written and produced in Italian.

About the Curriculum

All Italian language courses are oral-intensive (with additional hours required in the Language Lab) and all include individual oral examinations at the end of each term. In Western languages, enrollments are limited to 15 to 18 students in the first three years of study; fourth-year courses use a seminar format, with a usual enrollment of four to eight students.


The following resources can be used to practice listening and reading comprehension skills and to gain a better understanding of the geography, history and popular culture relevant to Italian language study.