How many people speak Italian?
Italian is a romance language having its origin in the Indo-European language family. This makes it much easier for native English speakers to learn Italian. It comes second as the most spoken native language in the European Union. Having about 13.4 nonnative speakers and over 67 million speakers, the number of Italian speakers worldwide stands at about 85 million.
Furthermore, the Italian language is a descendant of Vulgar Latin and shares similarities with other romance languages like Spanish and Latin. The Italian language grammar shows agreement of adjectives and nouns as well as both the feminine and masculine gender.
According to Ethnologue, Italian is the 21st most widely spoken language in the world. The European Union deploys it as one of the 24 working and official languages of the Union. In countries like Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, and Bosnia/Herzegovina, the Italian language is considered a minority language.
Interestingly, Italian is regarded by native English speakers as the sexiest accent according to a poll by CNN. Owing to how smooth Italian is on the tongue, learners find it easy to fall in love with this language.
How Many Countries Employ Italian as the Official Language?
People in Switzerland, Vatican City, San Marino, Italy as well as in the Western Istria region of Slovakia and Croatia speak the Italian language as their official language. At some point, Italian used to be the official language of Albania, Malta, and Monaco.
Out of all the romance languages, Italian shares more similarities to Latin. Over the years, it has evolved into having many dialects. However, modern Italian is significantly influenced by the Tuscan dialect.
Below are some countries with a sizable number of residents that speak Italian or have an Italian-speaking community:
- Costa Rica
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
What are the Benefits of Speaking Italian?
One interesting thing about learning a new language is that you don't always physically see the benefits. Unlike when you hit the gym, you can physically see the results. However, with learning a new language, the benefits are in your mind.
Interestingly, scientific studies show that learning a new language positively affects your mind. The first benefit of learning a new language is that it's capable of preventing brain disease. Also, a study shows that learning a new language can delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's by four and a half years, whereas using drugs can delay dementia for only about a year or half.
Here are some benefits of learning Italian with a private tutor:
- You have a competitive advantage in the corporate sector. Recall that in the Eurozone, Italy is recognized as the 3rd largest economy.
- It builds your confidence, allowing you to communicate effectively when having conversations in Italian.
- It is a language of art, fashion, food, and love.
- It is easy to learn especially if you're a native English speaker or you speak any of the romance languages.
- Studying a new language makes you smarter as adults who are multilingual as children have more cognitive flexibility than those that only speak one language.
Is Italian Difficult to Learn?
One factor that determines whether or not you find Italian easy to learn is if it's close to your native language. For instance, other romance languages like Portuguese, French, and Spanish native speakers will find learning Italian pretty easy. Although they will still need a private Italian tutor, they would in any case be fluent in no time.
On the other hand, native English speakers can find learning Italian easy as some English words have a Latin origin. As like we earlier stated, Italian shares more similarities with Latin than other romance languages. Also, according to The Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Italian is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.
Typically, languages are classified into four categories depending on how difficult they are to learn by native English speakers. Italian is under category one which is the easiest group.
How Long Does it Take to Achieve Fluency in Italian?
Owing to how easy Italian is for native English speakers, you can achieve fluency in a short period. For instance, with total immersion which involves relocating to an Italian-speaking community, you can become fluent in three months.
Although total immersion is the most intense option when it comes to learning Italian, it offers the quickest and best results. With about four hours of study daily while immersed, you'll get fluent in a matter of months.
On the other hand, if you can't relocate to Italy, you can learn Italian with a private tutor. Although results are not as quick as in total immersion, partial immersion can accelerate your progress. Depending on how many hours you study in a week, you can become fluent in a year or less.
For instance, if you take Italian lessons with a private tutor for 90 minutes every week, you can become fluent in four years. However, you can always speed things up by taking at least 25 hours of lessons weekly. Partial immersion is ideal for busy people.
What's the Fastest Way to Learn Italian?
The fastest way to learn Italian is by full immersion. You get to experience the language firsthand when you're surrounded by native speakers. Also, learning Italian requires that you spend time practicing new words. Here are some tips to help you learn Italian faster.
- Set learning goals and devote your time to them
- Never go a day without practicing your Italian words
- Create time to study even after your private lessons and stick to your study schedule
- Watch Italian movies and read Italian books
- Listen to the news in Italian or read Italian newspaper