Although Wikipedia says 'the grammar is typical of the grammar of Romance languages', I suppose some ancient Italic (or perhaps even pre-italic) traits might prevail.

I am especially curious about syntax features, like subject-object relations in Italian grammar.

  • Italian syntax and grammar seems to be very much like French, at least when comparing with Spanish, which sounds superficially much more similar. Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 0:16

3 Answers 3


Not syntax but it has a lot of geminates. It's very hard for all but the broadest syntactic and lexical patterns to last that long.

  • 1
    And almost all the geminates are the remains of deceased consonant clusters, which often show up in sister languages.
    – jlawler
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 22:02

Among the phenomena which could reasonably fit your requirement of being about subject/object relation, Italian allows passivization of causatives. I believe this is quite rare among Romance languages.

Compare the rare but completely acceptable

La machina è stata fatta riparare a Gianni da Maria

The car is been made repaired to Gianni by Maria


*La voiture a été faite réparé par Jean par Marie.

which is completely impossible (in fact quite unthinkable, at least for this native speaker).


Standard Italian has a pretty entrenched dinstinction between passato remoto, passato prossimo and imperfetto

  • passato remoto ~ remote perfect/preterite complete actions in the past (from Latin perfect)
  • passato prossimo ~ present perfect
  • imperfetto ~uncompleted action (Latin imperfect)

In everyday usage speakers in the south of Italy tend to used passato remoto for any kind of perfect, which is more or less the same usage as in Classical Latin. On the other hand everyday usage in the north of Italy is passato prossimo for all kinds of perfect. Passo remoto is rare.

  • the two-way distinction of northern Italian also applies to French, where passe simple is used both as a remote and present perfect, in contrast to imparfait. Passe simple (passato remoto) is rare, except in writing.

As fas as i know

  • the three-way distinction in Standard Italian also applies to Spanish

  • the two-way distinction in southern Italian (Classical Latin) also applies to Portuguese

  • Doesn't French have a three-way distinction, too? Imparfait, passé composé and passé simple?
    – robert
    Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 23:44
  • ®robert sure, but passe simple is rarely used except in writing Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 2:10

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