What we call the Italian language today is only one variant among many languages spoken within the peninsula. Local dialects continue to have a significant cultural role in literature, music and cinema. Moreover, because of the recent increase in immigration, there is now a significant number of speakers of other languages living in Italy. An awareness of this linguistic diversity is essential to communicate effectively. This course is intended to introduce students to the linguistic history of Italy and the key socio-linguistic notions that account for language use today. As such, the course is an ideal complement to the study of Italian as second language.