When you’re studying a foreign language, it is normal to have a lot of questions. Obviously, also those who study Italian as a foreign language have questions and doubts. I can tell you that! In fact, I get asked a lot of questions from you, to which I try to answer in all my videos. But you also ask Google a lot of questions about the Italian language, right? And you do that almost everyday. So in this video, I decided to humbly take Google’s place and answer the most asked questions on Google about the Italian language! Let’s see if you have asked yourselves the same questions and if you know the answers!
10 most asked questions on Google about the Italian language
1. What’s so difficult about the Italian language?
I already hear the voices of people saying “the subjunctive mood!”. Actually it’s not only because of the subjunctive mood that Italian is such a difficult language.
The Italian language has many potentially problematic points, each one of them having too many grammar rules or on the contrary having no rules at all!
Some examples? Irregular verbs, irregular plurals, prepositions after verbs, the fact that one verb can have different prepositions depending on the noun that follows. Not to mention polysemic words, that is words of different meanings.
Just to mention a few!
But don’t give your hopes up, through a lot of practice you can definitely reach a good level of Italian.
For example, you could start by watching our videos! On our website, you can find videos where I explain all the complex topics that I mentioned earlier.
But now, let’s move on!
2. Why is Italian an important language?
Good question! Surely Italian is not the most important language one should know to survive in the world, I admit it. However, I think it’s important for one’s cultural enrichment.
Let’s not forget that Italian is the language of arts and culture, Dante’s and many other authors’ language. Also, it’s the language of opera, lyrics and of some great thinkers and philosophers.
And there’s more! It’s also the language of architecture and cuisine. Knowing Italian doesn’t probably help in traveling the world, but is surely helps the mind, helps you to think, to dream and enrich your cultural background. Do you agree with me?
3. Why is Italian similar to Spanish?
Innanzitutto le due lingue hanno una radice comune: il latino. First, the two languages have a common root.
Poi si sono sviluppate in modo molto simile: per esempio, possiedono lo stesso numero di lettere dell’alfabeto e le strutture grammaticali sono estremamente simili. Later, they developed in very similar ways: for example, they have the same number of letters in the alphabet and the grammatical structures.
Spanish and Italian also have the same conjugations and verb tenses.
Of course there are some differences, some false friends, but for Italians it’s not too difficult to learn Spanish and vice versa.
And yet…lo and behold…Spanish is not closest language to Italian! In fact, according to a research by “Ethnologue”, French has 89% of words that are similar in Italian and is so its closest language.
History can confirm it: between France and Italy there have always been important economic, cultural and intellectual exchanges. So the two countries have influenced each other. The French pronunciation can make the language a little hard to understand for Italians who don’t speak this language. However, if Italians try to read a text in French, they can uderstand a lot of it, even if they have never studied French before.
4. What are the origins of the Italian language?
The Italian language is a development of volgare fiorentino (Florentine vernacular), one of the many “dialects” that derived from Latin during and after the fall of the Roman empire.
The old Latin evolved in different versions, depending on the geographical area of Italy.
In particular, the volgare fiorentino became over the centuries the most erudite language, spoken by men of letters and cultured people.
For this reason, the volgare fiorentino was chosen as national language following the unification of Italy.
5. How to learn Italian?
As for any other language, you can’t just learn it from day to night, or from month to month! It takes perseverance, commitment and a lot of time!
From my point of view, it’s also very important to study at least a little bit of grammar and simultaneously try to learn new vocabulary through books, films or tv series in Italian.
Then, if you have the chance, it would be helpful to talk with a native speaker and spend a period of time in Italy.
And of course don’t forget to study on our online platform, LearnAmo! We have a lot of resources! Dozens and dozens of Youtube videos, articles on our website, short but effective videos on our social media, a book (Italiano Colloquiale) and an online course (Italiano in contesto) to learn spoken Italian.
Anyway, it’s very important is to accept a fundamental truth: learning a language is a neverending process! Make this quote yours, embrace this truth and don’t suffer if you make a mistake or if it seems like you’re not making any progress!
6. When did Italian became the official language of Italy?
In 1861, year of the unification of Italy.
However, in the various regions of Italy people continued to speak the local language (dialect).
Only in the 50s, when tv was invented, the standard Tuscan variety spread in thourghout the peninsula.
7. How many people speak Italian nowadays?
Today, Italian is the native language of approximately 63 million people and learned as second language by 3 million people.
Beyond Italy, the Italian language is the official language of San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City. It’s also spoken in some areas of Croatia, Slovenia and Albania, where small communities of Italian origins are present.
The same thing happened in South America and in the United States of America, where many italians emigrated between the end of the XIX century and the XX century.
Finally, in Africa, more exactly in the former colonies such as Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, the Italian language is spoken by traders and the descendants of the colonizers.
8. Why have Italian and Romanian many similar words?
Well, surely because they are both Romance languages, both derive from Latin, therefore they must have some similarities. I know that some idiomatic expressions are the same in Italian and Romanian, so if there any romanians who are studying Italian out there, let me know in the comments.
However, the similarity is on a superficial level.
Let’s give it a try, I’ll listen to a song in Romanian and see what I can understand. (Haiducii – Dragostea Din Tei)
Beautiful song but no, I didn’t get even its general meaning.
Well, no wonder: it’s fair to say that the similar words in the two languages actually, over time, followed two different paths. Italian was influenced more by Germanic languages, while Romanian by Slavic languages.
9. How many dialects exist in Italy?
In Italy there are many different dialects, in addition to the national language. Almost every city has its own dialect. Obviously the closest cities have more similar dialects so they can understand each other better than cities which are more distant from one another.
The most widely spoken dialects in Italy are: veneto, napoletano, piemontese, sardo, lombardo, emiliano, romagnolo, siciliano and ligure.
10. Why learn Italian?
There are some professional sectors in which italian companies are world leaders, therefore the Italian language is really useful and learning it becomes essential to professional growth and career development.
Italian is the number one language for fields like fashion, design, haute cuisine, fine art and culture, production and supply of food and beverage, football, luxury automotive industry and motors in general. It also becomes very important as a language for a professional career in the Vatican City or as a foreign language teacher in Italy.
Companies like Fiat, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Armani, Dolce e Gabbana, Versace often look for employees who can speak Italian!
Lastly, knowing Italian is not only useful when it comes to working in one of these famous branches, but also it helps you get really any other job. In the globalized society we live in, companies are increasingly looking for employees who know more than one language, especially if the company in question deals with Italy.
Well, these were the top 10 most asked questions on Google about the Italian language. If you liked this article, have a look at our video about Italian geography to learn more about Italy, its regions and capitals.
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