1. Communicate with 100 million Italian speakers worldwide.
Italian is spoken by at least an estimated 100 million people around the world and is currently the 4th most commonly spoken language worldwide.
Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and western Istria (in Slovenia and Croatia). It used to have official status in Albania, Malta and Monaco, where it is still widely spoken, as well as in former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa regions where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is spoken by small minorities in places such as France (especially in Corsica), Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Crimea and Tunisia and by large expatriate communities in the Americas.
2. Communicate with Italian-speaking people at home.
Although over 17 million Americans are of Italian descent, only a little over one million people in the United States speak Italian at home. Nevertheless, an Italian language media market does exist in the country.In Canada, Italian is the second most spoken non-official language when varieties of Chinese are not grouped together, with over 660,000 speakers (or about 2.1% of the population) according to the 2006 Census. In Australia, Italian is the second most spoken foreign language after Chinese, with 1.4% of the population speaking it as their home language
3. Learn Italian to enhance your travel experiences.
If you've ever dreamed of visiting far-off, exotic, tropical places, you don't have far to look when you consider the great number of Italian-speaking countries that fit this description.
Knowing the language and culture of the land you visit will give you insights into the people and culture that a non-Italian speaker would never have access to. Knowing even a little Italian ahead of time helps travelers communicate more successfully, especially considering that a great number of Italian speakers do not know English. Whether giving an address in a taxi, making reservations in a hotel, ordering food or drinks in a restaurant, or meeting the locals at the main hang-out, your travel experience will be much smoother and more enjoyable when you can communicate.
If you take a little time to learn some of the Italian language before heading off to distant lands, your understanding and appreciation for the places you visit will be improved tremendously.
4. Use Italian to improve your employment potential.
Know a second language? Great, you're hired! If you have proven yourself to be a capable employee with just the right job skills AND you speak a foreign language such as Italian, you are much more likely to land that job of your dreams than if you are monolingual. In fact, many jobs today require a minimum of basic proficiency in another language.
With the world becoming ever more global, contact with people of other countries has increased tremendously in recent decades. Just having a basic knowledge may be all it takes to separate yourself from the crowd of applicants for the job you are pursuing. With the rapidly increasing Hispanic population, there are a multitude of career fields in the US that need Italian speakers. Among them are nurses, social workers, teachers, salespeople, translators, and many more.
Internationally, people who speak Italian often have opportunities to work in trade or business fields. Other options include diplomacy, interpretation, and security applications, which all require a sensitivity and proficiency of another language. And did you know that bilingual employees often receive a larger salary than their non-Italian speaking counterparts?
If the chance to show off your skills and be more competitive on the job market doesn't interest you in studying Italian, perhaps the extra cash will!
5. Learn Italian to improve your knowledge of your own language.
Italian is from the Romance language family of languages, its roots coming primarily from Latin, the language spoken by the Romans. As you might know, English, too has many words of Latin origin. Because of this, knowing Italian helps speakers of English (as well as some other European languages) broaden their vocabulary in their native language. Often times, these same Latin roots are at the base of many sophisticated words in English, so Italian learners can also become more proficient in English.
In addition, a recognition and understanding of these words of Latin origin is especially helpful in certain professions in science, medicine, law, and many others with specialized vocabulary, as the many centuries of Roman rule left their mark linguistically in these and other modern scientific and professional fields.
6. Learn Italian to prepare for study abroad opportunities.
Many high schools, colleges, and universities offer study abroad opportunities. Many different types of programs are available to choose from and they vary in time from as little as a week of study to one semester, or even a whole year. Often, as little as one semester or one year of prior language study is all that is needed to qualify to participate in an exchange program.
Without taking that first step of signing up for a language class, you may just miss out on one of life's most exciting adventures possible. What could be better than living, breathing, and using your newly acquired language skills than actually putting them to use in one of the many Italian-speaking countries from around the world? Not only does an exchange program give you the opportunity to use the Italian you know, but also the opportunity to improve your language abilities on a daily basis. Constant exposure the language and culture of the city in which you study is believed to be the key to true language mastery and helps pave the way to literacy and native speaker like fluency.
Exchange students benefit not only from the opportunity to practice language daily, but also from the credits they receive for the classes taken while abroad. Most schools even allow students to fulfill multiple academic requirements while studying in a foreign country. Who doesn't love the idea of receiving credits toward graduation at the same time as having the experience of a lifetime?
7. Better appreciate Italian-speaking cultures.
Apart from opening up access to areas of "high" culture such as art, literature, and history, a knowleged of Italian can help learners understand and appreciate day-to-day culture in the Italian-speaking world. The ability to read and understand authentic Italian -- whether that be in the newspaper, on television, in magazines, in letters from friends or pen pals, or on the street -- truly gives an "insider" view into the language and all of its different shades of meaning.
Learning the Italian language and culture go hand-in-hand. While not impossible to learn Italian never having experienced the culture first hand, direct exposure to the culture will give language learners insights into the language that would otherwise not be possible.
8. Learn Italian to make lifelong friends.
As most people would probably recognize, the primary purpose of a language is to facilitate communication between people. However, what many people don't realize is that learning a foreign language, although intimidating at times, opens many doors to meeting new and exciting people that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Getting to know somebody by communicating with them in their own language is a great way to really get to know that person on a much deeper level than only through communicating with gestures or body language. Language study, practice, and exposure to the language are vital to effective and successful communication.
Even though becoming proficient in Italian might take a lot of effort, dedication, and time on the part of the learner, the rewards can be great. Imagine all of the friends it is possible to make while on vacation, during study abroad, through having a common interest in music, or even while at work? Having lifelong international friends not only opens future travel opportunities but makes you a cultural ambassador both at home and abroad.
9. Learning Italian makes acquiring the next foreign language easier.
It is often said by people who have become bilingual in Italian or another language: Through hard work, perseverance, and lots of practice, the next language one learns is much easier to master by comparison. Learning a foreign language develops a whole set of mental, social, and cultural skills and this newfound awareness carries over to other languages when learned. Once Italian has been learned to a proficient level, when the grammar concepts, vocabulary, and other facets of the language have become fairly automatic, picking up a new language comes much more effortlessly. The new languages studied, especially of European origin, tend to have a lot of recognizable, common elements that are more easily assimilated and expanded upon by tapping into previous language-learning experience. In fact, once you know Italian, other languages in the Romance language family such as Italian, French, Portuguese, or even ancient Latin, will almost seem like "cousins" to the Italian you've already learned!
10. Gain access to Italian art, music, literature and film.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to view a film in its original language instead of watching it in a dubbed version? Are you tired of being distracted from enjoying a film by the need to read the film's subtitles? Have you wondered if the translation of the film is accurate or if you are missing out on the details in the film? Becoming proficient in Italian would greatly enhance your enjoyment of such Oscar-winning film.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start learning Italian today and take advantage of all of the new opportunites it opens!
Italian Speaking Countries