Learn Italian

Why Learn Italian?

View on Grand Canal at night, Venice, Italy
View on Grand Canal at night, Venice, Italy

  • Italy has one of the world's top ten economies. If you work in the furniture, design or construction industries, Italian will be an important asset for your job.

    Buying and especially selling from the Italians necessitates a lot of personal contacts. Many Italian businessmen, even those who deal with clients outside Italy, do not speak anything but Italian.

    Italian companies often have someone in charge of exports who speaks some English, but remember that the great majority of Italian companies are small to medium family companies with up to a few hundred people. If you speak Italian you can normally directly deal with the owner or his children and get better terms.

    Traveling to Italy is intensely pleasurable, with about everything you can dream of: the richest archeological sites in Europe, entire Roman towns miraculously preserved for you to visit, cathedrals, roman circuses, monasteries, paintings, sculptures, lovely historical towns, immaculate beaches and ski resorts.

    But Italy is not only about the past. Italian gastronomy is one of the most attractive in the world, with hundreds of varieties of cheeses, breads and wines. Hundreds of highly creative Italian cooks create new dishes with traditional inspiration in artfully decorated restaurants.

    A knowledge of Italian will tremendously increase your travel experience by offering you the opportunity to converse with people. Especially in Southern Italy, most people you will meet will be glad to have a chiacchierata (informal conversation) with you.

    Italian majors pursue careers in a variety of fields, including education, business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, telecommunications, arts administration, publishing, library science, politics, or public and environmental affairs, to name but a few.

    Some students also use their language skills in order to enter government employment or the military. In all cases, students report back to us that their training in Italian significantly enhanced their professional and academic opportunities.

    Italian is spoken by 55 million people in Italy and 62 million people throughout the world. Italy has the 7th largest economy in the world and is a major political force in Europe.

    Here are a few of the many good reasons to choose Italian . . .

  • Communication Skills: In many careers and free-time activities, you will find it beneficial to communicate with people who are native Italian speakers. In any realm of business, it always pays to know the client's language. Italian instruction also encourages you to think about important details of language usage which may not have occurred to you before, thereby improving your writing and speaking skills in English as well.

  • Travel: To travel to Italy and experience the essence of Italian culture, knowledge of the Italian language is essential. Don't get stuck on all-American 5-day tours of a continent! They only skim the surface and show you what someone else thinks you should see. To truly get to know Italy it takes more time and, above all, Italian language skills.

  • Jobs in Business: As more and more businesses are "going global" by opening offices throughout the world, knowledge of Italian is an increasingly important asset when applying for jobs. Six of the 100 biggest global companies have their headquarters in Italy, and Italy is the world’s fifth largest industrial producer of goods. Jobs in Italian business are lucrative.

  • Jobs in Government: In the fields of diplomacy and trade, the federal government is always seeking qualified applicants with Italian language skills. If you see international conferences and negotiations in your future, you'd better learn one or more languages now.

  • Research: No matter the area of specialization, knowledge of Italian is not only helpful, but often necessary for academic, business, or social research. Translations are not always correct or even available.

  • Art and Culture: No matter how good the translation, inevitably some meaning is lost in the process. Therefore, to fully appreciate the richness of Italian literature, theater, opera, and films, knowledge of the language is essential. Other aspects of Italy's culture are also best appreciated by those who can speak and understand Italian. How could you, for example, savor a gourmet Italian meal in a Tuscan restaurant if you couldn't read the menu?

  • Self-Fulfillment: Learning Italian is a big accomplishment which brings with it great satisfaction and added confidence. In addition, immersion in a foreign culture can open whole new avenues of self-exploration and personal growth.

  • Intellectual Stimulation: Learning Italian enhances your skills in analyzing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas.

Where is Italian spoken?

Image credit: "Map Italophone World" by Uploaded by User:Ilario. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

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What does Italian look like?

La storia è quella di Robin di Locksley nobile ed abile arciere al servizio di Re Riccardo Cuor di Leone durante la guerra di Francia. Interessato solo alla gloria e a "salvarsi la pelle", Locksley cambia prospettive dopo la morte del sovrano: tornando a casa, in Inghilterra, scopre in che condizioni versa la contea di Nottingham, vessata da un dispotico sceriffo, e incontra la vedova Lady Marian, estremamente scettica sulle reali intenzioni dell'uomo.

What does Italian sound like?

Did you know these words come from Italian?

  • Arcade from arcate = "arches"

  • Balcony from balcone

  • Cameo from cammeo

  • Carpet from carpita

  • Cartoon from cartone, = "cardboard", augmentative of carta, = "paper"

  • Cornice from cornice = "frame, ledge, molding"

  • Fresco from fresco, = "fresh, cool". The Italian word for a painting on wet plaster is affresco

  • Graffiti from graffiti, plural of graffito; both from graffiato = "scratched"

  • Masquerade via French mascarade from maschera = "disguise"

  • Mosaic from mosaico

  • Piazza from piazza, = "square, marketplace"

  • Saloon from salone = "hall, lounge"

  • Barista from barista = "bartender"

  • Coffee from caffè

  • Soda from soda

  • Spaghetti from spaghetti, plural of spaghetto, = "little string"

  • Motto from motto = "pledge"

  • Novel from novella, = "short story, tale".

  • Scenario from scenario = "scenery"

  • Allegro from allegro = "cheerful"

  • Concert from concerto

  • Harmonica from armonica

  • Orchestra from orchestra = "band"

  • Piano frompiano, = "soft"

  • Segue from segue, = "it follows"

  • Ballot from ballottaggio

  • Partisan from partigiano

  • Propaganda from propaganda = electioneering, (from Latin 'propagare'= literally "extending forth")

  • Algebra via Italian, Spanish, and Medieval Latin algebra; ultimately from Arabic الجبر al-jabr = "reunion", "resetting of broken parts"

  • Scalpel from scalpello, = "chisel"

  • Assassin from assassino = "killer"

  • Brave from bravo = "courageous, wild", probably from Latin barbarusbarbarous

  • Carousel from carosello = "roundabout"

  • Credit from credito, = "credit, belief, or balance"

  • Debit from debito, = "debt"

  • Ditto from ditto, now detto,= "said"

  • Policy from polizza = "bill"

  • Zero from zero = "nothing"

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