Here are the pros and cons of learning the Italian language.
- More than 80 million people speak Italian.
- Arguably, the easiest what-you-hear-is-what-you
-write orthography based on the Roman alphabet. You’ll be reading and writing in no time.
- Would help in learning other Romance languages like French, Portuguese and Spanish. The phonology (sound system) is much closer to Spanish (which is the 3rd or 4th most widely spoken language), however, in vocabulary it’s closer to French.
- Italian is considered to be one of the closest resembling Latin in terms of vocabulary, while Sardinian (a dialect or a language in its’ own right) is closest in terms of phonology.
- Some people learned Italian as an art history student. It made sense to do so. If you’re interested in art, and especially if you’re planning to go to Italy, learn the language. One reason is that Italians love people who learn their language. (The same goes for Spanish. I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of tourists don’t learn the language.)
- Learning Italian, at least at a basic level, is easy if you know other languages like French, Spanish or Latin.
- English will help in matters of vocabulary. I noticed that, as a Dutch native speaker, I could easily supplement my Italian vocabulary during conversations by recalling a relevant English word and chucking my knowledge of French or Latin at it. A last minor tweak into Italian and I could carry a decent conversation most of the time.
Sadly (for the language), Italy was late and comparatively unsuccessful in colonizing and maintaining a hold on territories than Britain, France, Spain, Germany and Portugal. Thus, it’s spoken to a lesser extent than its’ other European peers. It is a difficult language to master. – It is not as widely spoken as others (such as English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French and so on). I maybe be a bit partisan (I truly wish I could work and live in my native language, but the current situation in Italy does not allow so), but my advise is definitely to go learn it!
- If you’re learning Italian and Spanish at the same time (don’t) or soon after each other (risky) you may confuse the two at some stage. The problem isn’t grammar but vocabulary. A lot of words are or sound identical – give or take an s – but a few are completely different. Try ‘by car’: “en coche” in Spanish but “in macchina” in Italian. You may think you’re producing a passable sentence and find yourself throwing in a word from the wrong language.
- (What’s wrong with learning any other language?)