Italian is a Romance language and when spoken has a flowing, musical resonance. Using the language on a daily basis is a great way to learn quickly if such opportunity exists. Alternatively, there is a wide variety of great audio books and podcasts available online to help get a head start.
Buongiorno! Good day! Learning to speak Italian can be a fun and exciting way to enhance your vacation experience and a great way to submerge yourself into the culture and heritage of this diverse region.
The primary language spoken in Italy is Italian however there are many other dialects that can be found throughout the different regions of the country. Italian became the country’s official language in 1861 and has become widely adopted by most of its inhabitants since then.
The official Italian alphabet only contains 21 letters, compared to the 26 found in the English alphabet. The letters J, K, W, X and Y are not included however, they may still be found in the proper names of people and places as an exception. There are also many similarities between the French language and Italian and anyone with a good background in French should find learning Italian easy.
When learning Italian, one thing will become quite clear, very quickly. This is a language that uses a lot of vowels. There are two words which use 8 vowels consecutively, ghiaiaiuolo and cuoiaiuolo meaning a merchant of gravel and a merchant of leather. There are also many words that you will come across that contain double consonants and learning to pronounce these words may be one of your challenges.
If you are eager to learn Italian before embarking on your journey here, there are nearly 64 million people across the globe who speak the language. There are sure to be classes and tutors in your hometown who can help you perfect your vocabulary and make it molto bello (very beautiful). There is also an abundance of books, online courses and programs that can help you and you may find that downloading a translation app onto your cell phone or tablet may prove beneficial during your stay. That being said, there is a high percentage of people in Italy who speak English as their second language and most large cities and tourist areas are happy to cater to the English-speaking traveller.
Italians are a friendly and social group of people and will go out of their way to try and communicate with you. Having a good knowledge of the most common Italian words and phrases will be an excellent way to learn about the country, the culture and meet new and interesting people. Whether your Italian is perfect or a little bit unpolished, the people you meet are sure to encourage and appreciate your effort. So, why not give the language a try? After all, as the saying goes, “when in Rome”!