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So, I got to go to Italy for two weeks about a month ago. One of the things I was really excited about was the chance to practice Italian. I'd studied really hard for the trip, and, while not fluent by any means, was at "conversational Italian" level.
And...used absolutely none of it. Everywhere we went, we were greeted in English, and my attempts at Italian were replied to in (almost perfect) English. All written communication (including menus) were available and provided in English. Even at the opera, I asked our boxmates in Italian if they could see, since my husband and I had the front seats, and was replied to, in English, that we were fine.
We had a fantastic time, of course, but I felt that all my time and effort to learn Italian was absolutely wasted. So I ask: Is there any point in learning Italian if I never have an opportunity to use it, even in Italy?
I live in Venice and I think that nowdays in every touristic locations ( big cities like Rome, Florence, ecc.) we HAVE TO speak english if we want to get a job. unfortunately for you, we have to be prepared! ;)
my suggestion is to go in small villages that aren't visited by many tourists, like countysides or little towns! often people here is more frendly and peaceful. mabe you will not see the roman Forum or the Sistine Chapel, but if your main aim is to improve your italian with native speakers, the only solution is speak with people that don't know anything about english!
we have also many strange accents in every part of Itlay ( it changes a lot from north to south). in the area of Tuscany people speaks the best italian, beacuse it's the area where the italian language was developed!
Most italian learners I've met are enamored with the language, but the number of them that get to actually be able to practice is very small compared to the number of people who just learn a bit of it. Other people, living in places such as Brazil, learn it to work with italian tourists or with italians going there anyway.
Your reasoning can be applied to any language that isn't english though.
Berze, we also got to go to Paris, and there my absolutely atrocious French was much more used than my Italian had been. I've been to Lisbon, where learning a little Portuguese was very helpful.
Emanuela, I would love to be able to visit the smaller villages one day. But for right now, our vacations are more focused on going to bigger cities--I wish I was able to travel just to practice Italian, but I not sure that will ever be in the budget. It sounds, from what you're saying, as if learning Italian isn't really the best use of time for anyone who's more of a casual traveler?
I agree with you. The media and the government tell us that our english level is very low, and being bilingual is a MUST, but actually i think that our english level is not so bad and you can visit Rome and the most important cities without a word of italian.
I would add that I have long marvelled at how many English loanwords there are in the modern Italian.
You can take a look at the newspaper to uderstand what i mean.....
But don't worry, Next time you are going to Italy, tell "Please, parlatemi in italiano, lo sto studiando...". The people will smile at you, and they will think "qualcuno che impara la nostra bellissima lingua !! " and you will have a good conversation in italian.
More reasons to lear italian:
- Enjoy italian music, opera, literature.
- Once you will start talking in italian, in Italy, you will listen the real flowery language we use day by day.
nooo I never said that! ;) I think that italian is a beautiful and fascinating language!! maybe it's not as useful as english, but learning it, it worth it. it's a language that will make you proud of knowing it! (even if globalisation has spread english in every part of the world)
Maybe learning italian does not sound as something very practical, but it can be funny. I think that the italian language somehow manages to convey much happyness. Well, being a Spanish speaker that could sound a little biased, considering the similitudes of both languages.
When you were in trouble where only Italian could save you then it is very important to learn Italian and any other foreign languages. Never think that learning any language will waste your time, it can be useful someday when you really need it.
The best reason to learn a language is because you LOVE it! "I need it for work" is a strong motivation, of course, but love is what keeps us going! And it is easy to fall in love with Italian, because speaking it just sounds like fun!
Personally, there were a few reasons I started to learn Italian. The first simply being the fact that I think the language is beautiful. Secondly, my family heritage is Italian and I feel it brings me closer to my roots. Thirdly, I've always wanted to be fluent in a second language. Finally, I hope to travel to Italy one day.
I know Italian isn't the most common language, especially where I live, but suprisingly since I started learning Italian I've encountered a handful of Italian speakers in my day to day business. It's so great seeing their faces light up when I ask, "Parla italiano?" before they start speaking to me faster than my ears can understand. Haha. These experiences have helped to inspire me to study harder so I can get better faster.
Personally, there were a few reasons I started learning Italian. The first simply being the fact I think the lanuage is beautiful. Secondly, I've always wanted to be fluent in another language. Thirdly, my family heritage is Italian and I feel it brings me closer to my roots. Finally, I hope to travel to Italy one day.
I know Italian isn't the most common language, especially where I live, but suprisngly to me since I started studying Italian I've encountered a handful of Italian speakers in my day to day business. It's so great to see their faces light up when I ask, "Parla italiano? right before they start speaking a mile a minute and I have no idea what they are saying. Haha. But I feel like we have an instant connection. It's these experiences that have inspired me even more to study hard and really learn the language.