Is Italian hard to learn?
4 myths about learning Italian
Many of the people who start studying languages argue that Italian is too difficult to learn. Mistaken! Today you will read what are the myths to dispel about learning Italian as a foreigner.
1) The pronunciation
There are those who argue that it is a problem of pronunciation. Let’s talk for example of the “R”, the phantom vibrating r! Americans, British, French, Chinese and so on, will immediately say that it is impossible to emulate the Italian r. But what is, really, the Italian r? Think that many Italians are not able to “roll” the r as you would expect. Indeed, they are affected by the proverbial r, a r very similar to the French or the German one, just to understand. The reasons? They can be different. The conformation of the palate, a tongue that is too long or too short or, as often happens, it is simply a matter of dialect or regional inflections. Just think, in the city of Parma many people have the “soft r” and this seems to be due to historical reasons … all the fault of Maria Theresa of Austria, in short! In fact, it seems that this duchess, ruler of Parma and Piacenza, spoke Italian with a strong French accent and that the people, fascinated by her personality, ended up imitating her way of speaking as well.
In essence, therefore, there is no need to worry. We like your r exactly as it is. The linguistic varieties in Italy are endless and this continues to represent a wealth for those who approach the study of Italian. If what you say is understood, there is no reason to worry about it.
2) It is difficult to study
True. Languages are difficult to study. But do you what? There are thousands of Italian language and culture institutes around the world. Studying is expensive, you don’t have time, not even an hour a week? Online courses at reasonable prices are no longer counted. OK, that’s not the reason, you just don’t feel like taking a course. There are many Apps designed for self-learning, free (or almost) and even fun, that could come to your rescue. Nothing, you don’t even like this solution. Watch movies, read, listen to music in Italian! It is not enough? Well, in this case, you are probably a sociable person and you like to make friends. Here, you can participate in the events that the communities of Italians around the world often organize. Look for groups on Facebook or events organized on MeetUp and Co., like (Speaky, Italki, just to give a couple of examples), now present in every city. Having a chat in Italian with native speakers means learning concretely, in the field, how to speak and we are sure that they will all be happy to teach you something. With time and a little “linguistic immersion”, you will see that you will be able to understand and even have a little conversation. Of course, if the interest gets serious, it is desirable to make a place in your busy schedule and start studying systematically.
1) It is useless
What do you say? Italian is ranked 21st among languages by number of speakers in the world, as well as being one of the official languages of the European Union. Italian is spoken in Italy (no way!), in Switzerland, in San Marino, in the Vatican, in Malta and is perfectly known by many of the inhabitants of Slovenia, Croatia and Albania where even a large number of people watch Italian TV. It is the language of Opera, art, fashion, literature … of Love! All excellent reasons to learn Italian. Seriously – but not too much – it is considered by many to be an elegant and cultured language, beautiful to listen to, and represents an essential vehicle for enjoying the best experiences in Italy, the Bel Paese. Italians, little by little, are getting better and better at mastering English, but they greatly appreciate those who are able to communicate in Italian. Only in this way will it be possible to experience authentic moments and grasp the nuances of culture that would otherwise be lost, if explained in other languages.
4) I’m getting too old!
Italian, like all languages, is helpful to keep the brain in shape and not make it age prematurely. Many students in our school, for example, are certainly not teenagers. Yet everyone, absolutely everyone, is very happy to study and are often also among the most talented students. But then, if there is no age for love, why should there be a limit to love Italian?