I have this thought quite often: I wish I’d learned to speak Italian. I studied French in high school and still know a few words here and there and can sometimes understand what people are saying if I really focus and pick it apart. French is a lovely language, but I’m not French. I’m of Italian heritage, and I wish I could speak it fluently.
First, let’s start with an obvious reason and one that relates directly to the subtitle of my blog: Italian is one of the romance languages, a language of love. Italian is beautiful. It rolls off the tongue. It’s extremely expressive. Italians speak with passion using their eyes, their hands, and the words that they choose. I would feel beautiful and sexy speaking the language.
Second, I could speak Italian so that my children wouldn’t understand what the heck I’m saying. My mother-in-law and father-in-law sometimes speak Italian to each other and it’s brilliant. They have their inside, “private” conversations; we all look at each other at the table and wonder what they’ve just said to each other, especially when it’s followed by laughter or a roll of the eyes. It excludes others, and while that’s not always the nicest thing to do, it has its purpose at times. Of course, this would require my husband to speak the language as well, otherwise I’ll just look like a crazy person speaking Italian into the air for only my pet parakeets to enjoy and interpret.
Third, speaking Italian may come in handy at a later date. I still have this ridiculous fantasy that at some point in my life, I’m going to spend a summer in Italy in a Tuscan villa, using it as a home base while I travel the Italian countryside and its cities, writing and experiencing every aspect of Italian culture. It might be helpful if I could actually communicate with the people I interact with while I’m there. How else will I get the stories I plan on seeking out?
My great-grandparents and grandparents could speak Italian. I wish they were alive today to help me learn the language, practice it, and use it, because, let’s be realistic—you only truly learn a language by putting it into practice regularly.