Wondering ‘Should I Learn Italian’? 5 Reasons You Should!
Deciding to learn Italian (or any language) can be overwhelming. It’s like walking into a gelato shop – there are way too many options to choose from! With so many options to learn a language, you want to make sure you’ve found the right one that satisfies both your career interests and personal interests while also being an obtainable language to learn.
But don’t worry – we are going to fully convince you to pick Italian (also known as the most musical language in the world!). You’ll be speaking (both with your mouth and hands!) in no time – especially if you decide to learn Italian in Italy.
If you’re asking yourself ‘should I learn Italian?’ we’ve got five solid reasons why you should answer yourself with an astounding YES!
1. Gain a Deeper Travel Experience when You Visit Italy
Italy is on virtually everyone’s bucket list. From all the tourist hotspots like Venice, Florence and Rome to up and coming destinations like Turin (which is where Languages Point is located! Always feel welcome to stop by for any translations, Italian language learning classes or just to say hi!).
There’s a difference between vacationing and traveling. If you want to completely ignore the richness of the local cultures from the region of Piedmont to Calabria and Puglia, then fine – don’t learn any Italian and keep reading off of the English-translated menus (if they have one!). But, if you want a real, authentic experience, you’re going to need to put in the leg-work (or brain work!) and start learning some Italian.
Since Italians are renown for being outspoken and friendly, you’ll have no problem learning Italian in Italy – especially considering English and Italian are, perhaps unexpectedly, related (see point #2).
2. Italian is the Closest Language to Latin (And English Is Already Almost 60% Latin-based!)
You’ll feel a true connection to the past when you start to learn Italian. The modern Italian language carries many elements of the lingua franca of the Roman Empire to this day. Everything from the structure of the language to much of the vocabulary is still enrooted in Latin.
In fact, “of all the Italian dialects, Tuscan [which was the selected dialect to be spoken all across modern-day Italy]has the greatest similarity in morphology and phonology from classical Latin, which makes it harmonize best with the Italian traditions of Latin culture” (1).
But, Italian isn’t the only language that’s similar to Latin. It turns out English has incredible amounts of Latin packed inside the language, too:
“French and Latin make up the largest portion of English core vocabulary. After the 1,875 most frequently used words out of the 250,000 words in distinct English vocabulary do French and Latin dominate the English language, achieving a share of 56% at the core vocabulary level, 5,000 words” (2).
If you’re reading this article in English, that means that you already know over 50% of Latin-based languages (or, at least their roots). For example, it doesn’t take the brightest crayon in the box to figure out that principale, secondo, and documento mean principle, second and document respectively.
To sum up: you should learn Italian because you already know over half the language anyway AND you’ll be connected to one of the greatest languages of the past.
3. Italy Has One of the Wealthiest Economies
Despite the economic downturn that affected much of the world in 2008, with Italy being one of the hardest-hit countries, Italy still stands strong as one of the top 25 countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita (3). In other words: Italian isn’t just a leisure language but it is also an important business language, too.
If you’re asking yourself if you should learn Italian, just think of the economy. Italy has the eighth largest economy in the world according to Investopedia (4). So whether you’d like to import high-quality goods from Italy like fine wines, luxury automobiles, and high fashion clothes, or you want to expand your business’s global reach, Italy can make a great destination for business opportunities and trade.
4. The Italian Languages Is Pronounced as It’s Written
Unlike the English language which, can be a bit tricky to pronounce, Italian is pronounced exactly as it’s written. That means, no more hesitation when encountering words like colonel (which, a non-native English speaker – and even native English speakers – may pronounce as COL-uh-nel instead of KEHR-nul) and other tricky words. Once you get the hang of rolling your r’s and master the infamous ‘gli’, you’ll be able to speak Italian perfectly. Or, at least with a little accent!
This makes reading documents a breeze. Whether reading from the menu at your favorite restaurante or reading a contract for important business matters, you’ll be able to speak with confidence without having to worry about mispronunciation. So if you learn Italian in Italy, you’ll have a much better chance of actually mastering the language and knowing
5. Learning Languages Fights Alzheimer’s and Improve Brain Cognition
Last but not least, when you learn Italian in Italy, you’ll be helping to fend off Alzheimer’s. Learning any language helps shape and exercise the brain, but some languages like Chinese and Arabic may be too intimidating. That’s why you can reap the maximum benefit with Italian without having to over-exert your language capabilities.
But just how much will learning Italian (or any other language) benefit you? It turns out lots. According to “The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual“:
“In a study of more than 200 bilingual and monolingual patients with Alzheimer’s disease, bilingual patients reported showing initial symptoms of the disease at about 77.7 years of age—5.1 years later than the monolingual average of 72.6. Likewise, bilingual patients were diagnosed 4.3 years later than the monolingual patients (80.8 years of age and 76.5 years of age, respectively).25 In a follow-up study, researchers compared the brains of bilingual and monolingual patients matched on the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Surprisingly, the brains of bilingual people showed a significantly higher degree of physical atrophy in regions commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.27 In other words, the bilingual people had more physical signs of disease than their monolingual counterparts, yet performed on par behaviorally, even though their degree of brain atrophy suggested that their symptoms should be much worse” (5).
Have the Opportunity to Learn Italian in Italy? Take It!
When you learn Italian, not only are you unlocking business opportunities and enhancing your travels, you’re also vastly increasing the quality of your life. Being bilingual has the power to prevent and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!
The answer to whether or not you should learn Italian is simple: absolutely, yes! If you’d like to get started and are in the Turin area, you can always stop by Languages points to start your journey learning Italian in Italy.