This weekend I decided to improve the direction of this web site just a bit. I've updated my About Me and added a Bucket List, both in hopes of explaining my reasons for learning languages and for creating this site. But if you were paying attention, learn Italian isn't on my Bucket List. So why am I doing it?
While learning Italian has never been explicitly one of my goals in life, it fits in well with many other things.
To start with, many of the things I want to see before I die are in Italy. I want to see the Colosseum, which is in Rome. I want to see the leaning tower in Pisa. I want to ride a gondola in Venice. All of these things will be easier — and more fun! — to accomplish if I can read the signs and communicate with the locals.
While that alone should be reason enough to at least learn basic Italian, there are still other good reasons to learn Italian. Already, it has opened up a whole new world of music for me, from the classical style of Bocelli to the opera style of Rossini, I can now understand the songs I hear, rather than just enjoying the tune. And because so much of Italian music is borderless, it becomes a common point of reference for people all over the world, which can be handy when you travel.
Speaking of music, all musical terminology is taken from Italian. Anyone with any interest in music can appreciate understanding words like mezzo-forte, pianissimo, largo, etc.
And since we're talking about the arts, Italy has produced no shortage of arts in the forms of music, film, opera, drama, poetry, painting, sculpture. In many cases, learning the language will help me either in understanding the art, or in communicating with someone who can explain it to me.
One thing I failed to include on my bucket list, but which I would like to do in my lifetime (and which I probably will add to the list) is to get a hand-tailored suit in Italy. And some fine Italian leather shoes. Again, something that will be much easier to accomplish if I actually speak the language.
I could probably add several more justifications here, but I really want to keep this personally relevant to me — after all, everyone's goals in life are different. But I'll end on one final item that I think is significant: Italian culture in the US is huge, especially in New York, but also in Chicago. In certain company, speaking Italian means being welcomed in rather than sitting out. And I'm not the kind of person who likes to just sit out and watch others have fun!
So, in spite of the fact that learn Italian is not explicitly listed as one of my life's goals, there is no doubt that it facilitates many other goals, and that it can also add to general enjoyment of my life in areas that are not specified on my bucket list.
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.