Italian is a Romance language spoken by about 80 million people primarily in Italy. Standard Italian is based on the Tuscan dialect and is somewhat intermediate between the languages of Southern Italy and the Gallo-Romance languages of the North. Like many languages written using the Latin alphabet, Italian has double consonants. However, contrary to, for example, French and Spanish, double consonants are pronounced as long (geminated) in Italian. As in most Romance languages (with the notable exception of French), stress is distinctive. Out of the Romance languages, Italian is generally considered to be the one most closely resembling Latin in terms of vocabulary, though Romanian most closely preserves the declension system of Classical Latin while Sardinian is the most conservative in terms of phonology.

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