Italian is a passionate and complex language, both beautiful and exciting to hear, bursting with regional shades of meaning that the Italian people themselves squabble over on a daily basis. It’s the closest in terms of vocabulary to the mother of all Romance languages, Latin, and it was finally endorsed as an official language rather than a simple “vulgar tongue” with the writing of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy in the early fourteenth century.
According to recent authoritative studies, Italian is currently the 4th most studied language in the world. Following English, French and Spanish, it has proved itself to be more popular than either Russian or Chinese. As a matter of fact truly mastering Italian allows better access to the culture (surely an undisputed strength of Italy that has lasted for centuries now). Recipes, fashion, art, opera, literature, movies and more. The very best way to really understand a culture is to understand the language of that culture, and the world, it would appear, is in love with the Italian culture. And who can blame it?
So for a language that is almost exclusively curtailed to a tiny portion of the planet’s surface, it has even marketed abroad well. Two major contributing factors to this effect are surely its cuisine and culture. Restaurants across the world serving (often dubious!) its typical dishes retain their original names. Pizza, polpette, broccoli, al dente, espresso, latte macchiato… just to name a few. And how many people have heard part of an Italian opera, in Italian? The ways that it manages to seep across international boundaries is simply amazing.
For those thinking about creating new life in the peninsula, be it full-time or part-time, the choice of location is without a doubt closely linked to the choice of culture. What would your home in Italy be like without its local trattoria, a street festival in the summer featuring local music, a visit to the nearby bakery with its tens of varieties of bread, a fabulous fruit-flavoured ice-cream made only with fresh local ingredients bursting with flavour, watching an Italian football game preferably in the company of some enthusiastic local fans? It just wouldn’t be Italy.
Being able to access local and national culture via the language brings meaning, understanding and appreciation to everyday activities: doing the grocery shopping, having a meal out, window shopping, paying a bill, having a coffee, having local friends over for a meal. It will without a shadow of doubt give your experience in ‘the boot-shaped country’ a whole different feel, and we promise, a fabulous one. If we are entirely honest, unlike their north European counterparts Italians are not, generally speaking, great linguists, and this is simply a huge advantage for you! Getting to know and understand these people and their homeland is going to take some time and effort on your part. An investment which will pay out heavy dividends for a long while to come.
We at Gate-away.com cannot recommend strongly enough that you and your family become proactive in taking part in living in Italy, and actually get to really know your chosen new location.
Thinking of living in or exploring the peninsula? Learn to speak Italian, and you too will become a little bit italiano.
If you need some help in approaching it for the first time or in improving your skills, Gate-away.com created its own Italian language course to take your experience in Italy to the next level. Wherever you are in the world, you can have individual lessons on Skype with our professional, experienced Italian-language teacher to learn or improve the everyday language through real conversation at a time which suits you: