The art, flavours, colours. The people, culture, fashion, music. And, to top it all, the sound of a language that is perceived as “the most beautiful in the world”, by those who can speak it and those who don’t.
These are the figures resulting from a poll on the motivations that drive people to study Italian, carried out by Torre di Babele School of Italian Language and Culture among students who have attended one of its courses within the last five years.
The poll has won great enthusiasm and participation, as shown by the figures collected through a multiple-choice questionnaire and especially by the great amount of spontaneous comments that filled the “Other” box, where everyone was welcomed to add his/her own personal motivations.
Such figures show that:
Italian is the most musical language in the world (95), together with: Italy is the country with the largest cultural and artistic heritage (101); a country where he/she has visited or would like to go on holiday to and talk to the locals (96), a country with great food and fine wines. Opera, fashion and design always prove to be cultural products of great appeal.
As a result, it comes to no surprise that many would like to study in Italy (52) or, why not, spend here the peaceful years of retirement (4). Those who have to relocate here for reasons relating to their working life are still a minority (8).
There is no shortage of sentimental reasons: from those who want to rediscover the language of their parents or grandparents (28), to those who simply have an Italian partner (7).
Among the many spontaneous reasons, we came across a repeated use of superlatives linked to the spheres of beauty and pleasure.
The perception of the Italian language goes hand in hand with how Italy is looked upon as a country: a “language of pleasure”, a language of “heart, love and passion”, a language perceived as a state of mind, a language that makes you feel happy: “I feel I am Italian deep down in my soul”, or helps you feel better: “learning Italian has helped me overcome some of the toughest moments of my life”.
The appeal for its past adds up to the longing of many to be associated with nowadays’ Italy through the study of its language: “I would like to create a family with an Italian” or even through the study of the Italian language as a necessary stage of life: “I don’t want to die before learning the most beautiful language in the world!”.
In short, the results of the poll show that the people who took part in it associate the Italian language with Italy, the place for the good and the beautiful, as summed up by a comment chosen among many:
“Italy, to me, is synonymous with all that is beautiful in the world”.
Loredana Chiappini (Teacher of Italian)
Translated by Nicola La Penna
Other reasons given by students: