In his essay, “In Defense of European Languages,” Carnegie Mellon professor Stephen Brockmann describes Italy and its language as “beautiful, fun and sexy.” Though as an Italian-American I am certainly biased, I believe that professor Brockmann is absolutely correct in his assessment. With such eloquence and poetics, the Italian language is one of the most romantic to speak and hear.
Having studied Italian for three years in high school and one year intensively at Georgetown, I was very anxious to come to Florence to finally practice my language skills. Yet, even with four years of study under my belt, I felt a sense of unease flying off to a country that required me to speak a different language. Considering I had never spoken the language outside of the classroom, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in Florence.
Before my plane took off from the airport in the United States, I got a little taste of what was to come during my four months abroad. As I waited to board my flight, dozens of passengers surrounded me conversing in Italian. There were times when my ears perked up to certain words and phrases that I understood, but the majority of the time I simply sat in awe admiring how wonderful the words sounded as they rolled off the Italians’ tongues.
To me, the beauty and romanticism of the Italian language can make even the simplest words and ideas sound exciting. This, however, can cause problems with someone like me who does not speak the language fluently. In my attempts to sound sophisticated and also grammatically correct, it is very easy to mispronounce a syllable or entire word and thus change the entire meaning of what was intended.
To read more, check out the original post for Georgetown’s weekly magazine The Guide.