GIOVENTU » Italian language grows in popularity

Italian language grows in popularity

Italian is at the fourth place in terms of the most-studied languages worldwide. This means Italian is growing in popularity as a foreign language around the world. The reasons for learning the language range from family ties to food and culture appreciation.

The number of foreigners studying Italian has risen to 2,233,373 in the 2015/16 academic year - up from 1,700,000 the previous year.


According to the General Assembly of the Italian Language in the World, student numbers have shown a particular increase in France and Germany but also in Australia and the USA.


In the rankings of the most popular studied languages we see English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Italian. The top three have clear CV-boosting potentials but the appeal of Italian is somewhat less obvious.


The appeal of Italian is not related to employment prospects but mostly for the possibility of communicating with Italian people, due to various reasons, for example being married to an Italian in Italy or abroad and feeling the necessity to speak with their spouse's family.


There are many people who are passionate about Italian culture, from literature, art, opera, history, archaeology to cinema, and have found that studying the language has helped them pursue their other interests, also because in many areas of Italy, English is not spoken.


Speaking Italian allows tourists to understand menus, and in some cases helps to avoid unpleasant surprises.


Learning Italian isn’t a necessity, part of its appeal is that it is something people choose to do for interest or for fun.


Italian is the language of about 60 million speakers from a relatively small country, and a great number of Italians and Italian descendants abroad. Many Italians went to The UK, Argentina, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and Belgium, and some children and grandchildren have maintained their bilingualism.  


Italian is also the “lingua franca” of one of the principal geopolitical worldwide forces: the Catholic Church. The official language of the Church is Latin, but the language used in the Vatican by the Pope and the bishops is usually Italian and therefore, also the clergy in various parts of the world speak Italian.

Giulia Lombardo

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