Language of the Half Term
Italian is a Romance language. Italian is by most measures, together with the Sardinian language, the closest tongue to vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and western Istria (in Slovenia and Croatia). It used to have official status in Albania, Malta and Monaco, where it is still widely spoken, as well as in former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa regions where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. It has official minority status in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania. Many speakers are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages. Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. It is the third most widely spoken first language in the European Union with 69 million native speakers (13% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 16 million EU citizens (3%). Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is around 90 million.