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An interesting note regarding Italian dialects

March 2, 2014

I learned something important about one of my favorite Italian movies at the workshop. The instructor, a native Italian, can’t understand the dialogue in the movie Gomorrah either.

In fact, when the film was shown in Italy, it was shown with Italian subtitles. That’s because the script entirely uses a Neapolitan dialect that only people from that city speak.

You see, for almost all of Italy’s history, there was no “Italian” language. Each region spoke a different dialect, and Italians from different parts of the country could not understand each other.

Such usage of dialects has died down, but to “keep it real” and show how street her characters were, the writer and directors filmed it entirely in the local dialect, which sounds totally different than standard Italian.

It’s kind of funny, because I just thought I couldn’t understand anything because my Italian comprehension sucked.

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