If you’ve always dreamt of experiencing one of the world’s most culturally rich, naturally beautiful countries which boasts some of the finest cuisine, why not learn the language that goes with it?
Of course, we’re talking about learning Italian!
Being able to speak even basic Italian will open up many doors for you, and as the language of love, learning Italian could be the reason you meet your future amore.
If you’ve always fancied learning Italian as a foreign language but still need some convincing, we’ll try to win your over with these five fantastic reasons to study Italian.
Italian: An Easy Language to Learn
As a romance language (meaning that it comes from Latin), just like French and Spanish, Italian is relatively easy to learn for native speakers of English.
English and Italian vocabulary share many similarities. Italian words that strongly resemble English ones are called cognates and are a common feature among Latinate languages.
Although English isn’t strictly derived from Latin, the etymological root words quite often are. For example, English takes a lot of its words and phrases from French – a romance language – meaning that a lot of French and Italian words can be identified by any English native speaker.
Phonetically, the Italian language is written as it is pronounced, making learning Italian pronunciation and spelling a lot easier.
The Italian alphabet, Italian grammar and verb conjugation are also quite easy. Although Italian verbs aren’t conjugated in the same way as English ones are, the rules are quite easy to pick up, even for irregular verbs.
Thanks to the roots the Italian language shares with English, you can make a lot of educated guesses if you’re having comprehension issues. For instance, if you don’t fully understand a sentence, you can always use the context and the English translation of the words you do know to help you out.
With traces of the Roman conquest in our genes, learning Italian gives Brits an opportunity to recreate intergenerational links.
With such a fascinating history of the relationship between the peoples of each country in antiquity, learning Italian can be a fabulous way to explore this on a deeper level.
There are many ways to get started in Italian language lessons. You can learn Italian for free with certain websites, take online Italian courses with a tutor, receive tutoring at a language school or take one to one Italian lessons with a private tutor at home.
Studying Italian in the UK is just as easy, if not easier than if you want to learn German, learn Spanish, learn Portuguese, learn Japanese, learn Arabic or learn Russian.
If you want to take your learning to the next level, why not study Italian in Italy?
Italy’s Exceptional Cultural Heritage
Italian civilisation is one of the most culturally and historically rich in Europe.
Everyone has heard of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Pavarotti.
Leonardo da Vinci, a painter, engineer and astronomer is known globally for two of his works in particular: the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.
Since ancient times, Italia has not stopped producing artists of exceptional talent including painters, writers and sculptors, whose work is displayed in museums all over the globe.
The few collectors who are fortunate enough to be able to buy such Italian masterpieces, often private foundations or billionaires, snatch up the rare works sold at prestigious auctions.
As the birthplace of modern civilisation, Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world and also has the richest and most dense cultural heritage (with 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites) on the planet!
Taking a trip to Italy for a language exchange or simply to live the dolce vita will give you a unique learning experience where you can discover the history of Italy’s art and its culture whilst perfecting your language skills.
Gazing in awe at the famous works of art, historical monuments and enjoying Italy’s natural beauty will give you an overall breath-taking experience in the land shaped like a boot.
In the Summer, you can explore the great Italian cities including Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan and Turin on foot, or if you want to discover Italy on a larger scale, why not hire a bike? This will give you a means of getting around places like Sardinia and Sicily with little trouble.
In the Winter months, keen skiers will be spoilt for choice with the number of ski resorts in the North of the country – skiing is a fabulous way to practice your Italian speaking whilst on holiday!
How Learning Italian can Land you a Job
Italy isn’t just a beautiful country. It also plays a big role as a part of Europe, and is one of the five founding states of the European Union, which was created in 1958.
In 5th position in the global manufacturing economy, Italy is home to many large companies in numerous engineering sectors, including electrical, space, and aeronautical engineering.
Amongst these are some big names, such as:
- Eni (energy),
- Luxottica (sports eyewear),
- Fiat (automotive)
- Gucci, Prada et Dolce & Gabbana (luxury fashion)
The Ray-Bans that you sport in the Mediterranean sun on your holiday and the Colnago that makes all of your cycling pals jealous are just two of the many famous brands to come out of Italy.
Even the famous hazelnut spread, Nutella, is made by Italian company Ferrero, and how could we forget Ferrari?
Knowing how to speak Italian and being familiar with the county’s culture will put you a step ahead when it comes to finding a job, regardless of whether it’s in the UK or in Italy.
Once you’ve got yourself a position in a company, networking and negotiating will become significantly easier, even if you only speak conversational Italian as a bare minimum - though taking Italian courses London or another town near you can improve your chances of success.
In order to give yourself the best chance of success in landing a job with an Italian company, don’t be afraid to put some effort into how you present yourself – the Italians love people with good fashion sense!
The Role of Cuisine in Italian Culture
If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine and enjoy a good glass of wine, Italy is the place for you!
Italy’s food and its exports are famous all over the world. It inspires pasta lovers, pizza fanatics and those who love seafood. Bruschetta with olive oil, antipasti, seafood spaghetti, pesto, there is so much to fall in love with.
Italian dishes are often balanced in terms of nutritional value, and fresh produce is mostly used to create them.
Italy is also famous for its wine culture. Its white wines such as the Trebbiani d’Abbuzo, a dry wine from the Abruzzo region, or the Soave, which comes from Veneto, very dry and less fragrant, go perfectly with Italian specialities such as fried scampi and grilled lemon chicken.
Those who prefer red will be fond of Barbaresco or Barolo, which has aromas of cacao and spices.
Tuscany is also famous for its red wine production. Brunello di Montalcino has a powerful and complex aroma – and let’s not forget Chianti, probably the most well-known of the Italian wines.
Speaking the language has undeniable advantages when it comes to discovering the local gastronomy. You’ll have the tools to be able to discuss how the food is cooked and the wine-making process with those who are directly involved.
Where to Learn Italian
Italian is offered in some of the UK’s secondary schools, however, it is quite rare as languages such as French and German tend to take centre stage.
School pupils usually choose their GCSE options before they start year 10, and schools usually encourage them to choose at least one language course.
Sadly, Italy’s status as a minor language (compared to the likes of French, Spanish and German) means few people are qualified to teach it in the classroom, and therefore, fewer people learn it.
Learning to speak Italian, or learning a new language at all can often be considered as an opening of the mind.
Today, most major UK cities have organisations dedicated to teaching languages, and even though they may not be a part of the national curriculum, their teaching is just as effective as the teaching in schools.
Here are just a few ways you can learn Italian outside of school:
- at a language school
- an Italian cultural centre
- at evening classes
- through private tutoring
The quickest way to get started and make progress in your Italian learning is to find a one to one Italian tutor who can meet you in person or help you learn Italian online via a webcam connection.
Learning a language demands regular practice and a good level of motivation, and finding an Italian tutor will give you the best chance of achieving this, as you prepare you Italian grammar exercises and listening comprehension homework every week.