The Italian language developed directly and continuous from the Roman speech, the so-called vulgar or spoken Latin, and is therefore the one Romanic language that is associated closest with Latin.
However, the spread as mother tongue is mainly restricted on the Italian national territory and San Marino. Exceptions are the Swiss canton Tessin and the French island Corsica. A larger part of second-language speakers can be found in the USA, due to emigration.
The vocabulary of the Italian language originates almost exclusively from Latin and has experienced only few phoneme transmutations. Phonetics is related to Latin as well, whereas several other tones, known from different Romanic languages, were added. Thus, even if the spelling of Italian is almost entirely phonetic, some letters as ‘c’ and ‘g’ are pronounced unlike Latin. The grammar is highly related to Latin grammar, too, but comprises also simplifications of the flexion system like most Romanic languages.
The Italian language features 43 consonants. Attention should be paid to combinations of letters containing ‘g’, ‘c’ and ‘sc’ which, in interaction with following characters, form different phonemes. This effect is frequently neutralized by placing a soundless ‘h’ in between.
In contrast to Spanish, in Italian no general identification of stressed syllables occurs. Words accentuated in the end are marked by a grave (´).