What are some seminal works—for those who know Classical, Ecclesiastical, or Vulgar Latin—that discuss the transformation of Latin into Italian?

This answer mentions Migliorini's Storia della lingua italiana and Rohlfs's Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti, but I am looking for a work specifically devoted to the transformation of Latin into Italian.

I'm looking for a book-length treatment along the lines of this short pamphlet: "Italian Is Easy… If You Know Latin, and Use These Charts."

  • The pamphlet you mention is nice, but it seems to be more a short introduction to learning Italian relying on a knowledge of Latin than what you yourself are asking (if I understand it correctly).
    – DaG
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 8:22

2 Answers 2


For the sake of completeness, let's separate the comparative grammar of Italian, explained in relation to Latin and/or English - as in the pamphlet you link to - and the historical transformation of one language into another.
NB: works are sorted from the oldest to the latest.

Seminal works on the Italian grammar, explaining its Latin roots:

Seminal studies on the transformation of Italian from Latin:

  • The Italian language (1941) by Mario Pei - focuses on general linguistics (snippets on Google Books; review)
  • From Latin to Italian. An Historical Outline of the Phonology and Morphology of the Italian Language (1971) by C.H. Grandgent - focuses on phonetics (snippets on Google Books; review)
  • Italic, Latin, Italian: 600 B.C. to A.D. 1260 : texts and commentaries (1978) by Ernst Pulgram - focuses on lexicology (snippets on Google Books)
  • A Linguistic History Of Italian (1995, 2014) by Martin Maiden - focuses on general linguistics, grammar, and the variation of dialects (2nd edition preview on Google Books)

Another interesting book is Manuale di linguistica e filologia romanza (Il Mulino, Bologna, 2003, 3rd edition from 2009 in the link) by Lorenzo Renzi and Alvise Andreose, which covers the evolution from Latin to main Romance languages, in particular Italian. There exists a new edition from 2015.

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