1. So you can actually sound like an Italian when you order food
You’ve probably heard and even said the words pizza, pomodoro, and mozzarella hundreds of times, but have you ever tried ordering a bruschetta correctly with the right Italian pronunciation? For some reason, this word always proves to be a challenge for non-native speakers! But that’s only because people don’t actually know how to pronounce it. So I’m going to help you.
Let’s set the scene. Imagine you’re from a sunny village in Sicily. It’s lunchtime and you go to the local restaurant down the road. You start to order.
Here’s how to do it:
First, speak louder than you would in your own language. Next, pronounce the ‘ch’ as if it were a ‘k’. Then, pause between the two ‘t’s, almost as if you were stuck. In Italian, double consonants are very common and mispronouncing them can lead to confusion. Make sure you emphasise the double ‘t’ (you can do this by keeping your tongue towards the top of your mouth for longer than you would for just one ‘t’). So you end up saying something like ‘brusket-ta’.
And there you have it: BRUSCHETTA! Try this next time you go to Italy or even just to an Italian restaurant and you’ll sure get some impressed looks!
2. So you can understand Italians and their unique body language
We all know Italians speak with their hands. It’s as if it helps us to express ourselves better. And of course, we LOVE talking! But for us, speaking isn’t enough: we need to use our WHOLE body! So, understanding Italian also means understanding Italians. It’s only when you start to understand our hand gestures that you can consider yourself fully fluent. So if you can’t remember a word or want to say something and you don’t know how to, watch Italians and use your hands to try and copy them. Believe me, it’s really fun and definitely brings the conversation alive!
3. So you can breathe in Italian art and history
Italy is a synonym of art and history. So getting lost in Rome, Florence or Palermo can be very exciting! You’ll most likely stumble upon an old cathedral, pass by some Roman ruins or even end up outside a fairy-tale castle. This is because once upon a time the Roman Empire was one of the largest and most powerful in the world. The Romans were great architects and artists who influenced the minds of the generations that followed.
I’m sure if I say names like Donatello, Raffaello, Leonardo and Michelangelo you probably know who I’m talking about (well, you may have thought of the Ninja turtles but of course that’s not what I mean!). Speaking and understanding Italian will definitely help you understand and appreciate their art. Next time you go to Italy and see their masterpieces, take some time to read up about them so you can embrace their beauty even more!
4. La vita è bella!
Italy is an extremely rich country in terms of literature and cinema. Watching movies in Italian might seem like a challenge but if you know even just a bit of the language you can watch a movie with subtitles in your native language while you focus on the Italian words, expressions and body language. After all, one of the best ways of picking up a language is by listening to people speak.
Try some of the classics: “La dolce vita” by Fellini, “Nuovo cinema paradiso” by Tornatore or “La vita è bella” (Life Is Beautiful) by Benigni. Trust me, your brain will absorb more than you think. I’d also recommend reading short stories, with the help of translated versions if you need them. Before you know it, you’ll be reading Dante’s “La Divina Commedia” or Pirandello’s “Uno, Nessuno e Centomila“! Romeo and Juliet spoke Italian, you should try too.
5. Because Italian is not just spoken in Italy!
Did you know that Italian is not only spoken in Italy? It’s also the official language of the Republic of San Marino, the Vatican and it’s one of the four official languages of Switzerland. It’s spoken in parts of Malta, Slovenia and Croatia and is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. So, even if it’s not a widely spoken language, speaking it is a definitely a privilege. There are hundreds of different Italian accents and once you become more fluent you’ll be able to identify them and even have fun trying to understand them.
Italian is rich, romantic, fun, musical, rhythmic and beautiful. It has its own unique personality. So why not uncover all this for yourself? Check out our brand new Italian course now. You’ll soon be ordering bruschetta like a local!
Ele is one of the Italian Language Experts at busuu. She has recently moved all the way to Colombia because she loves Latin dancing so much!