Top 5 reasons to learn Italian
Studying Italian is such an enriching experience. Yes, it’s true, Italian is the official language of a relatively small country. Compared to other European languages like English, Spanish or French, it doesn’t seem such an urgent or essential matter to know how to speak Italian. Yet, Italian is today the fourth most studied language in the world and it’s the most studied language in the world for culture and pleasure. I personally believe that is the key. Italian may not necessarily open new job opportunities in front of you (unless you work in Italy or with Italian companies), but it certainly enriches you in ways you didn’t think possible. With that being said, let’s see my top 5 reasons why you should study Italian:
1 Italian is one of the culturally richest languages. None other than Dante Alighieri contributed to the formation of the language as we know it today. In the late Middle Ages, when most poetry was written in Latin, hence only accessible to the most educated part of the population, by adopting the vernacular (the popular language) and the Tuscan dialect, Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio (Italy’s Three Crowns) set a precedent for what was the evolution of today’s Italian language. If that is not enough, let me also tell you that, according to a recent UNESCO research, Italy holds 60% of the world’s art treasures: from the historical centres of Rome and Florence, to the entire city of Venice; several villages all around Italy and many important churches and cathedrals all over the country. Everywhere you go in Italy you will be amazed and overwhelmed by its history, culture and beauty.
2 Learning Italian may lead to unimaginable discoveries beacuse, yes, I know, crazy, but Italian may already be in your blood. Italy faced very important emigration phases started in 1861, concomitantly with Italy’s unification, until what has been today referred to as the ‘brain drain’ of the young graduates who seek better job and life opportunities abroad. This means that Italians are everywhere (ever noticed?) and that Italian descendants are hundreds of thousands spread all over the world. Learning Italian is a journey of self-discovery and cultural appropriation for many and it may be for you as well.
3 Let’s be real, the actual number one reason is nothing less than food. Fellini, one of the greatest Italian directors and screenwriters (does ‘La Dolce Vita‘ ring any bell?’) once said, ‘life is a combination of magic and pasta‘ and I couldn’t agree more. There’s a sense of comfort that Italian food brings that magically warms your heart. The meal is at the core of the Italian everyday lifestyle. Eating together as a family is not a duty, it is a pleasure. Reunited around the table, people create a family and the family appreciates culture through food and socialisation. Don’t you want to experience such an incredible, heart-warming feeling? No? Let me tell you a secret then…
4 Learn Italian and you’ll be able to communicate without saying a word. Italian is the queen of the non-verbal languages, you just use your hands and facial expressions to convey whatever you have in mind. Are you hungry? Caress your belly with your hand using circular movements! Was pasta good? Point your cheek with your right index fingers rotating the hand. Are you being told some nonsense? Use the ever so famous pointy hand, which unlike what you may think, does not accompany every single thing Italians say, possibly with a Neapolitan or Sicilian accent. A gesture is more valuable than a thousand words so join the club and start using the Italian (not so) secret body language.
5 Finally, learning a new language is an amazing experience in itself. It’s a door through a new world made of culture, people, feels, sensations, traditions, lifestyles. Italy is a wonderful country, with wonderful places and wonderful people. Don’t you want to be even just a little bit amazing like us? (joking – not joking). Furthermore, learning a NEW language makes you reflect on your OWN language and culture, it opens your minds to new horizons and it puts life into perspective. Some traits of the new culture may become yours and you may find yourself responding to people with your hands or craving some aglio, olio e peperoncino at midnight…just because you gave yourself the chance to be flexible and open minded and to welcome a new world within yourself.
If at least one of these resonates with you, then you’re ready to begin your linguistics journey. I promise you won’t regret it. Book your first Italian lesson here.