The European language landscape: a tour of the Italian language

Today, we take a look at the role of the Italian language in the European language learning landscape.

Contrary to popular belief, there are still some sectors for which learning Italian is a necessity. This is the case, for example, in luxury and fashion. But only 5% of Europeans consider Italian an important language to be able to speak. On a global scale, it is not even among the 10 most influential languages. 

However, the language of la dolce vita continues to fascinate, and remains in the top 5 most learned languages in the world. Italian is undeniably associated with a particularly rich cultural heritage. From the 13th century onwards, Dante’s literary works were so influential that the codification of the Italian language served as a model for many European languages.

More than half of UNESCO’s world heritage sites are concentrated in Italy, and the country attracts 40 million tourists every year. The cultural aspects and the desire to communicate with locals during their holidays are two major reasons people tend to study Italian. These are closely followed by the intrinsic charm of the language, praised worldwide for its musicality and its famous rolled “Rs”. 

It is interesting to note that Italian is also a significant heritage language. Between 1860 and 1960, more than 26 million Italians left the peninsula for the United States, France, Argentina, Brazil and Austria. Many of these emigrants abandoned the language of their homeland and did not pass it on to subsequent generations. As a result, many young people from this diaspora nowadays choose to learn Italian with the sole aim of reconnecting with their roots.

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