National but local: the identity of a home-made language. Most of the macroscopic features of the Italian language spoken in contemporary Italy, such as its regional and frequently "non-standard" modes, are to be connected to the somewhat hereditary way in which it is learned. Indeed, for most people the "language of the Nation" has not been acquired through education so much as through individual initiative, that shows up in relevant impingements on the traditional mother tongue. In this perspective the language currently spoken by Italian people confirms the "plurality" characteristic of Italian identity, but is also an indicator of the unachieved sense of belonging to the national community that is a long-term feature of Italian history.
Keywords: Lingua nazionale, identità, italiano regionale, italiano popolare, egemonia.