Embracing the Italian Language: The Easy Cultural Immersion
The Italians are proud of their language and could happily tell you more than a hundred ways of saying “I love you.” It’s a language of romance, seductive and sublime as it rolls off the tongue. Every sentence has an expression that other languages can’t match, emanating from a unique rhythmic cadence. Italy is a modern country and you won’t need to travel far to find someone who speaks English. However, when the Italian language is so beautiful, why would the locals want to struggle through speaking English?
The Italian Experience: Try, Then Keep Trying to Speak Italian
The easiest way to immerse yourself in Italy’s culture is to try using the language. Yes, it can feel embarrassing. And the tongue can trip over all those vowels. But there’s a huge difference in the welcome you will receive if you make an attempt at the language. Perhaps more than any other European culture, Italians are guided by first impressions. Just one word or phrase in Italian is a sign of respect that will endear you to the locals, from strangers on a terrace to bar owners and even touts on the streets.
Start speaking in English and the conversation can only go one way. Start in Italian and it can go anywhere. Many locals will talk back to you in English, but your deferential first words allow the conversation to flow. Some will talk to you in Italian and you’ll find a way to communicate that negates language barriers. The Italian language isn’t just the words. It’s the rhythm, not to mention the elaborate gestures. So, you’ll be surprised about the relationships you can build with strangers, if you give the language a go.
The Niche Experience: Italian Language Lessons
While it sounds incredibly foreign, Italian is a great language to learn for a native English speaker. Both languages come from Latin and you’ll many of the words have the same origins. Grammar and sentence structure is different, but you are only a beginner so there’s no need to worry about that. Pronunciation and cadence is unusual but very fun to try; trying Italian feels much more enjoyable that attempting Russian or German.
Remember, nobody expects you to be fluent. Beyond learning some helpful words and phrases, language lessons are also a great social activity. Spend a month in the country and a few informal sessions become a really easy way to become friends with a local, while picking up the basics that can help you go off the beaten track.
We're departing for Italy for a full month in April 2018 and it's the perfect opportunity to start learning this beautiful language. Learn more about this upcoming trip by clicking below!