So you’re thinking of learning a new language? That’s great!
Where do you begin? By selecting a language.
But which one?
There are so many languages around the world however, one of the most influential languages, both currently and historically, is ITALIAN.
No bias. It’s a fact (Read more here: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/most-useful-languages/)
Below is my summary of the key points of influence that distinguish Italian as a top choice for language learning:
For Cultural Travel and Exchange
Italy is one of the top travel destinations and the ability to use Italian will greatly increase the value of your trip. Imaginebeing able to converse with Italians and build rapport and even friendships! Imagine being able to read the Italian that describes the marvelous sculptures, paintings and various artworks you will be seeing. Imagine having an inside track on what it is like to be Italian or live in Italy. There are many uses of Italian to enhance your trips to Italy.
In addition, Italy is not the only country where a tourist can speak Italian! In fact, Italian is one of the official languages of Switzerland and it is the second most spoken language in Albania, Argentina, Australia, Libya, Somalia, and Eritrea. It is even the third most spoken language in Canada, Venezuela and Tunisia. Further, it is widespread in Slovenia, Croatia, in southeastern France, Corsica and Malta. In addition, is quite well known in Austria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria.
ITALIAN is for business
Gain a competitive advantage at work! Today, Italy is one of the top economies in the world, the third largest in the Euro zone, and with many employers seek people who speak Italian. Global brands are continuously expanding offices there to serve Italian consumers and businesses (and numerous Italian companies have offices in the US). When you learn Italian, you’ll be able to take advantage of these abundant opportunities. Over 7,000 American firms do business with Italy and over a thousand US companies have offices in Italy, including Chrysler, General Electric, ExxonMobil, IBM, and Citibank.
Italy is a top business partner in many fields including fashion, food, the arts, and many others. A recent study by KPMG has shown that “Made in Italy” is the third most recognized brand in the world after Coca Cola and Visa. Italian brands such as Benetton, Barilla, Ferrari, Lavazza, Armani, and many more are renowned throughout the world for the exceptional quality of their products.
Italian is For Appreciation of the Long and Rich History
The western world we live in today started in Greece first and then developed over the centuries in Italy; Whether you are student in college or graduate school, or simply someone who is fascinated by Italian culture present and historical, wouldn’t it be amazing to learn more about the country, culture, and language that continues to inspire our lives today?
Unlike other countries that are rich in history only in a certain historical period, Italy has always had a very rich and eventful history, one that has produced an enormous cultural intensity, from the earliest civilizations to the Roman Empire, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from the 1700s to the modern era. Thanks to this, it has influenced world cultures in ways like no other Country in the world.
For Appreciation of Artists and Fine Arts
Italian language is key for study and research in the fields of art history, Do you know that a recent UNESCO report states that over 60% of the world’s art treasures are to be found in Italy?
For Musicians and Music Lovers
Why did Mozart compose so many of his masterpieces in Italian rather than in German? Have you ever wondered why only Italian words are used to tell musicians how to play (presto, lento, adagio, forte, fortissimo etc.)? Even when it isn’t sung, the Italian language sounds like music” says Miles Hoffman here: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15040264#:~:text=Italian%3A%20The%20Language%20That%20Sings%20Even%20when%20it%20isn’t,lingua%20franca%20of%20classical%20music.
Knowing Italian enables you to better appreciate and enjoy classical music. Musicians and opera singers consider it a key professional skill.
For Food and FOOD LOVERS
Italy is one of the top culinary leaders of the world and the increased popularity of the language reflects the growing obsession with Italian food. No question about it. In fact, Italian is the language with the highest number of words for naming food, restaurants, dishes and produce!
People around the world enjoy eating pizza, pasta, gelato and drinking wine or the trendier APEROL, Negroni, Martini and Limoncello, all of which are foods and drinks derived from the dinner tables of Italian homes.
Italians eats whole foods, they eat slowly, they created the Mediterranean diet, they have strong family and social bonds. Yes, Italian families are extremely close, and they all do their best to have big family dinners. These dinners help to forge and strengthen their relationships.
ITALIAN is for FILM BUFFS
Stop relying on subtitles and appreciate the original language when watching movies by Italian directors, from the classics of Tornatore, Pietro Germi, Elio Petri, Visconti or Pasolini to recent masterpieces by Sorrentino, and Benigni. Many of these top directors of the film world have been Italians and many award winning films have made Italy a cinematic leader.
When you know Italian you can not only understand what the characters are saying but also deeply appreciate the story lines and cultural context of these films.
ITALIAN is for FAMILY and ancestry
Trace your Italian roots, interpret public records and enjoy a fluent conversation with your Italian-born grandparents, distant relatives or new friends that will surely get closer.
In the words of Nelson Mandela “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”.
Since the 19th century there has been an Italian diaspora, with Italians emigrating to many countries around the world including the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and North Africa. Increasingly their descendants are connecting with their Italian heritage and learning the language, traveling to Italy and even becoming Italian citizens through descent! If you wish to connect with your Italian heritage you will definitely want to learn Italian!
Finally, Italian is not a difficult language to learn for English speakers
Of all the romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin and it is estimated that 80% of English words derive from Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent
This explains why it’s also an easy language to learn, especially for English speakers!
In addition, if you happen to have studied Spanish, French, or Portuguese, you’ll also find a ton of similarities to Italian. They share many of the same, if not similar vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures. That’s why Italian is recognized as one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers (The most spoken language in the world, English, has a lexical heritage consisting of 10% of lexemes belonging to its linguistic stock, i.e. Saxon, while over two thirds, precisely 76% of the lexemes are exogenous, taken and adapted from Latin, from Italian and from other Romance languages. Statistics show that Italian and Spanish are the two languages that provide English with the highest number of neologisms).
Not only it is not difficult, but many students of Italian are fascinated by the musicality of the language, the simplicity of its sounds and the charm of its words.
And once you have taken Italian classes and you travel to Italy the vocabulary you’ve learned will surface and the language will come to life.
ITALIAN is a HEALTHY choice
- For your brain and your self-confidence
Italian is an incredibly beautiful and intricate language and studies show that learning a new language increases analytical thinking skills.
In one of my previous articles, I have explained how studying a foreign language stimulates the brain, by boosting problem solving skills and improving memory. Italian, for the same reasons LATIN and GREEK are still studied at school, provides a logical method of learning and communicating to others, it shapes your mind in an analytical way.
- For a healthy lifestyle to take as a role model
Italians eats whole foods, they eat slowly, they created the Mediterranean diet, they have strong family and social bonds (yes, Italian families are extremely close, and they all do their best to have big family dinners. These dinners help to forge and strengthen relationships. Aside from stronger family bonds, a meta-analysis revealed that strong social relationships can decrease the mortality rate and better emotional and mental health.
Although Italy is an often bizarre Country, full of contradictions, political and organizational difficulties, the fascination that has always inspired this Country with its imagination and its originality, makes the study of Italian language attractive and unaltered over time.
The western world we live in today started in Greece first and then in Italy; wouldn’t it be amazing to learn more about the country/ culture/ and language that continues to inspire our lives today?
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