Learning Italian changed my life. It led me down a new path in life I had never imagined. So, if you’re considering learning Italian but are sitting on the fence, these 10 reasons will inspire you to take action once and for all!
A Brief History of Italian
The Italian language has been around since the 900s. The first known written text resembling what we now recognise as the Italian language was a legal document regarding a dispute over land ownership between southern Italian monasteries. Known as the Placiti Cassinesi, the documents date back to the years 963-960.
The Italian language didn’t become standardised until the time of Dante Alighieri, the most famous Italian writer of all time. Dante Alighieri penned La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy), which was completed in 1320, a year before his death.
In the late Middle Ages, the vast majority of poetry and literary works were written in Latin, but Dante was a proponent of vernacular literature that used the common language of the people. He wrote The Divine Comedy in the Tuscan dialect, a highly unorthodox choice that would set the standard for Italian literature and position Tuscan Italian as the language of high culture and the basis for the ‘standard’ Italian spoken today. For this reason, Dante is often referred to as the “father of the Italian language” for his role in establishing modern Italian.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why learning Italian will change your life.
1. Deepen Your Understanding of Culture
According to UNESCO (the cultural and educational agency for the United Nations) most of the world’s cultural heritage sites are in Italy. With almost 60% of the world’s art treasures located in Italy, speaking the language opens you up to a richer experience and understanding of its art and history.
Italian film director Federico Fellini once said, “A different language is a different vision of life”. Speaking the language will give you a greater understanding of the country and its culture.
2. Exposes You to New Job Opportunities
In spite of the current economic situation, according to the United Nations ranking of the world’s’ wealthiest countries, Italy is consistently ranked within the top ten, making it an ideal country for overseas investment.
Many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including Chrysler, IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank. Many Italian firms also have offices in the U.S.
3. Makes You a Smarter Traveller
Whether it’s ordering a pizza in Naples, or haggling in one of Milan’s street markets having a working knowledge of the language not only enriches your holiday experience but could save you a few euros.
4. It Increases Your Brainpower
Speaking a foreign language improves the functionality of your brain, boosting your problem-solving abilities and improving your memory. Some studies have concluded that adults who are multilingual can reduce the first signs of dementia by on average 4.1 years!
5. It’s Easy
Learning Italian is easy! No joke! Your see, si legge come si scrive (you read it how it’s written) meaning it looks similar to how it sounds. Pronunciation is clear with every vowel distinctly enunciated which also makes sounds easier to understand.
As a native English speaker, there will be a lot of words that will be familiar to you. Did you know that approximately 30% of words in the English language are of Latin origin? The Italian language remains the most closely associated with the language of the Romans. Of course, this argument could also be used for the other Romance languages, but Italian trumps the others thanks to its easy pronunciation.
6. A Stepping Stone to Learning Other Languages
Knowing Italian will help you learn other languages. Being one of the Romance languages, Italian shares a similar grammatical structure and there are often similarities in vocabulary. You’ll find that some words are very similar to Portuguese and Spanish. In fact, it’s said that Italians can get by in Brazil, Argentina and Spain speaking only Italian!
7. It’s Terribly Romantic
Italian is the most romantic of the Romance languages. Thanks to most words ending in a vowel and a cadenced sentence structure, it has a musicality that makes it quite a simple language to comprehend and to speak.
Over the centuries Italian has earned a reputation as the language of art, love and seduction. Could Romeo and Juliet have spoken any other language?
Those who are learning Italian are fascinated by the musicality of the language, the simplicity of its sounds and the charm of its words. When words do not suffice, Italians are masters in the use of hand gestures and facial expressions, which break down all communication barriers.
8. You’ll Make New Friends
Speaking another language is a great way to meet new people. Being able to communicate with local people while you are in Italy can open you up to friendships you’d have missed out on previously.
Some of my best friends are Italian. Italian are some of the warmest and welcoming people you will ever meet. Because their English was limited, it was thanks to being able to converse in their native language that our friendships grew.
9. Improves Your English
Italian is the closest to Latin, the common ancestor of all Romance languages. Italian developed from Latin and an estimated 60 percent of the English vocabulary also comes from Latin. Knowing Italian may help improve your English.
10. Boost Your Confidence
Learning a foreign language is an incredibly rewarding experience and a serious confidence booster. You’ll overcome some of your fears and doubts, learn more about yourself, meet new people, and perhaps travel to places you would’ve never dared to visit before. Plus, the constant positive feedback from native speakers and their encouragement is always a motivation and ego booster.
Over to you!
Are you thinking about learning Italian? What’s holding you back?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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