In broad terms, Italian belongs to the Indo-European family and, more specifically, is a member of the Romance language family, which is a sub-branch of extensive Indo-European language family.
Evolution of the Italian language
The origin of the Italian language was comparatively recent with respect to the development of Vulgar Latin, from which the various dialects of Italian derive. Latin has history dated back at least two thousand years, while modern Italian started taking shape around the thirteenth century.
Several regional dialects descended from the Romance language after the fall of the Roman Empire. Italian is believed to have evolved from one of those dialects with strong influences from Latin. There are several regional dialects in Italy that existed from earlier times and were not at all related to the Romance language family.
Since the fifteenth century, the Florentine dialect "also called as Tuscan dialect" was commonly used when writing literature by renowned authors of those days, including Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. This was the period when the culture of Florence dominated Italy, which led its regional dialect to be widely considered as the Standard dialect in different regions of Italy, which were still separate states. Further, this Italian dialect was dominated by Spanish language when these different regions were conquered and ruled by Spain. In this period there were cultural changes seen in Italy which were mostly influenced by the mighty Spanish rulers.
The second important period for the Italian language was the unification of Italy after it was conquered by Napoleon in the eighteenth century. The French emperor forced the separate nation-states to unite, and the Italian language was made an official language of the resulting unified country. After this period, the Italian vocabulary was further developed by incorporating new words from different regional dialects. Regardless, Latin had the largest influence by far on modern Standard Italian, with some linguists claiming that over 70% of the lexicon of Standard Italian derived from Latin.
Languages derived from Italian
As modern Italian came into existence only 1recently, it was also standardized fairly recently, in the eighteenth century. Considering this fact, the languages derived from Italian evolved in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries due to immigration of native Italians to different foreign locations. Some of these languages that took their form by borrowing features from Italian include, but are not limited to: Talian, Venetian, Cocoliche and Rioplatense Spanish.