Today, the word ‘romance’ refers to love, or to love stories, but it used to mean ‘story of a hero’s adventures’. Many of these heroic tales were written in Latin - the language of the Romans. It wasn’t until much later that ‘romance’ came to include love stories as well as adventure stories.
Now, the term ‘Romantic’ also refers to the languages derived from Latin, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. Although many people believe they are so named because they are ‘romantic’ to listen to, this is not where the meaning comes from!
The Italian language is spoken by some 65 million people in the EU and 85 million worldwide. It is a first language for many people in Switzerland and San Marino as well as Italy, and is spoken by immigrants in places as far flung as Venezuela, Argentina, Australia and some African countries - not to mention many proud Italian Americans!
In late medieval times, the Italian language began to replace Latin as the lingua franca - or bridge language - spoken widely across much of Europe. People from different countries would learn Italian in order to communicate with each other, and during the Renaissance it was expected that most educated Europeans would speak at least some Italian and have visited Italy.
Today there are still good reasons to learn Italian - it is spoken in many countries all over the world as well as in Italy itself, and an introductory Italian course would likely come in handy on your travels. Also, since it is so closely related to the other Romantic languages, a good understanding of the Italian language would give you a decent chance of getting the gist of a text in, say, Spanish or French. It can also give you the edge when it comes to looking for a new job - a second language looks great on a CV.
If you studied French or Spanish at school, it would give you an advantage if you wanted to learn Italian; many words in these languages are similar as they are derived from the same Latin root. Even if you can’t remember your GCSE French or high school Spanish, with the right Italian course, learning the language doesn’t have to be difficult. Some of the grammar and pronunciation can seem daunting at first, but a good Italian course will help you learn the rules step by step.
Babbel is an online language learning platform with more than 13 millions users worldwide. Babbel offers a great Italian course with multi-media exercises, grammar exercises and up-to-date technology, including voice recognition to help your pronunciation, and apps so you can learn Italian on-the-go. The timetable is completely up to you - you set the pace, and do as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. Babbel.com also offers the chance to talk to other learners as well as native Italian speakers so you can help and encourage each other on the way. Give the first lesson a go and discover our italian course. Learning the Italian language is a rewarding challenge and one you won’t regret. Buona fortuna - Good luck!