Around 85 million people speak Italian including the 59 million inhabitants of Italy itself and around half a million citizens of Switzerland, where it is one of four official languages. Italian is also spoken in parts of several Balkan countries including Albania, Croatia and Slovenia, and in former Italian colonies such as Libya, Somalia and Eritrea. It can even be encountered in parts of France (Corsica and Nice) and even in tiny Monaco. Most of the population of Malta speak Italian and it is the official language of two of the world's smallest countries: San Marino and the Vatican City.
There have been many great Italian films and of course the country has a long history of opera. In fact you probably already know several Italian phrases without realising it: "nessun dorma" (none shall sleep), "la dolce vita" (the good life), "cosi fan tutte" (thus do all). Although not "o sole mio" which is actually in the Neapolitan language; in Italian that would be "il sole mio" (my sunshine). Yet the historic influence of Italian culture far surpasses music and art- after all, aspects of Italian food and society have already been absorbed into English: from pizza, spaghetti, broccoli and cappuccino to fiasco, propaganda and paparazzi. As the film director Federico Fellini once said: 'A different language is a different vision of life.'
Despite the current economic situation, according to the United Nations ranking of the worlds’ wealthiest countries, Italy is consistently ranked in the top cohort, making it an ideal country for overseas investment. And in any case, international companies are always looking for staff who can speak even a smidgen of their host country’s language- "Quindi perché non italiano?"
Levels offered: Italian
You have little or no prior knowledge of Italian.
Post-Beginners (level 2) (available October 2017)
You can manage in basic situations using the present tense.
Intermediate (level 3) (available October 2017)
You can read and write basic Italian sentences in everyday situations using present, past and future tenses.
Advanced (level 4) (available October 2017)
You can understand the main points of everyday spoken and written Italian and are confident in the past and future tenses.
You can speak Italian confidently and fluently and you would like to improve your oral and conversational skills.
Not sure which level you want? Use the ELP self-assessment grid to identify your level of competence.
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Greeting: "Buongiorno" (good morning - formal)
Counting: uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque...
Useful phrase: "Vuoi ballare con me?" (informal) - (Would you like to dance with me?)
Interesting points: Since Roman times it is well known that "Tutte le strade portano a Roma" (All roads lead to Rome). Which means, essentially that there are many different ways to accomplish a goal.