Italian is spoken in Italy, in parts of Switzerland and Croatia, and in diaspora communities across the world. The standard language as spoken in Italy has three main regional varieties: Northern, Central and Southern. But contemporary ‘mainstream Italian’ – not following the standard in all respects – appears to be a variety under construction by speakers wishing to give themselves a national appeal, a process driven by the media and by workplace mobility. Our speaker is representative of this group. She is a woman in her thirties who was brought up in a middle-class household in Rome, and has travelled extensively in Italy and abroad. She aims at a cultivated accent with no strong regional features, sometimes called a ‘RAI’ accent (RAI /rai/ is the national broadcaster). The style she uses is a somewhat coloured ‘storytelling’ style.
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