Italian (Italiano) is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia. Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 59 million people in the EU, mainly in Italy, and as a second language by 14 million. Italian is descended from Latin. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. The Italian alphabet has only 21 letters. Italian grammar is typical of the grammar of Romance languages in general. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.