Is Italian Overrated?

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mokibao
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby mokibao » Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:31 am

Italy, a mediocre present? It rose from an illiterate, war-torn backwater, got shaken for decades of political instability during the anni di plombo, and became a modern industrial powerhouse that got as far as 4th biggest economy of the world (and it got displaced to "only" 9th is due to countries with like ten times its population), and that's a mediocre present? People are literally dying as we speak to try and get to Italy.

garyb wrote:The "glorious past and mediocre present" part seems more appropriate to French, although it's widely-spoken enough that it likely has a brighter future than Italian.


The fifth most spoken language in the world has a mediocre present?

I have a kind of feeling that people are speaking from weird bubbles here.

einzelne wrote:I think what's really overrated is a mythical "economic gain" of knowing a foreign language. Because in the majority of cases it's almost non-existent.


I mean, most actual "polyglots", bilinguals and such are minorities, whether autochtones and immigrants (1st or 2nd gen), and they usually aren't among the richer demographics.
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby dml130 » Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:05 pm

mokibao wrote:
garyb wrote:The "glorious past and mediocre present" part seems more appropriate to French, although it's widely-spoken enough that it likely has a brighter future than Italian.


The fifth most spoken language in the world has a mediocre present?

I have a kind of feeling that people are speaking from weird bubbles here.


I agree. Sometimes it seems as if all of these languages are being compared to English, which is not a fair standard to set.
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby Jean-Luc » Mon Nov 01, 2021 4:58 pm

Italian is great! Imagine the world without the word "pizza" ;)

I had a lot of interest in learning Italian, a language which has a very pleasant sound and is an open door to a nation of great cooking and history. Visiting Italy (Venezia, Roma, Sicilia...) is a nice journey. Apart using the Italian for business purpose (I am living nearby in the Alps), as usual, travel with some understanding of the local language is a real plus. Overrated? Is there a language stock exchange somewhere?
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby IronMike » Tue Nov 02, 2021 12:20 am

Like Iguanamon said, I need no reason to study a language. And Italian is a fairly recent one for me, and one of my favorites. I'd only spent one "semester" studying it, but with the help of my Esperanto, managed to earn a 2 on Reading DLPT (and a 1 on Listening). I'll definitely pick it up again in the future.

As to Xenops' question: No, I don't think so. I think it is a useful language. I still come across native Italian speakers in all my travels. I used it in North End, Boston, when I lived/worked there. There's literature in it I want to read. So, in a word: No, Italian is not overrated.
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby garyb » Wed Nov 03, 2021 1:55 pm

mokibao wrote:The fifth most spoken language in the world has a mediocre present?

I have a kind of feeling that people are speaking from weird bubbles here.
That's a fair point. I was looking at French purely as a language to learn, for non-essential reasons, for a native English speaker with no specific connections to the language, for which I feel it's quite overrated. But that is quite specific to me and to some of this forum's demographic, rather than to all people or even to all language learners.
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby golyplot » Wed Nov 03, 2021 2:59 pm

dml130 wrote:I agree. Sometimes it seems as if all of these languages are being compared to English, which is not a fair standard to set.


In the case of Italian, the obvious comparisons are Spanish and French, which are both much more useful.


Jean-Luc wrote:Italian is great! Imagine the world without the word "pizza" ;)


Since only the Americans know how to make proper pizza, logically it should be considered an English word. ;)
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby Le Baron » Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:29 pm

I forgot about this topic. I don't know if the Italian government promotes or romanticises the language quite as much as the French/Spanish do. This is really the main reason French has such a presence. I doubt people would otherwise embark on French quite as much as they do (considering it seems to also have a high rate of frustration due to the spoken language).

Spanish has the well-known reputation for 'easy' (which is of course false) and also has the south American presence which seems to be enough for people to consider it a 'rival' for English... and thus entirely relevant.

I love French, but I think Italian sounds better and is perhaps somewhat easier to master from a spoken perspective. Maybe if it had as much take-up as French/Spanish and was on school curriculums it would have more perceived value. There's actually no real reason for French to have the perceived value it enjoys; apart from in France it's a minority language in two other small European countries. The Africa thing is a façade. So the 'bigness' of French is also a façade. If the French government wasn't shovelling money into the AF and other promotional bodies it would have atrophied decades ago.

I don't know a huge amount about the position of Italian, but I know that quite a lot of people still speak regionally inflected variations of Italian (or indeed fully separate dialects or languages on separate branches) alongside the national language. In France that situation has been largely eliminated by force of policy. They had to force people to speak it!

I'm a supporter of Italian even though I'm not actively learning it.
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby luke » Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:27 pm

golyplot wrote:
Jean-Luc wrote:Italian is great! Imagine the world without the word "pizza" ;)

Since only the Americans know how to make proper pizza, logically it should be considered an English word. ;)

There is good pizza place off to the left side of Trevi Fountain (as you're facing the fountain). They understand English there. Maybe that's why the pizza is so good. :lol:
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby Le Baron » Wed Nov 03, 2021 5:30 pm

The Americans do not make pizza any more than Tex Mex makes 'Mexican food'....

*climbing into flak jacket*
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Re: Is Italian Overrated?

Postby lusan » Wed Nov 03, 2021 5:31 pm

Overrated? It depends who does the rating.

Obvious thoughts:

English - Essential
Native - Unavoidable - Today's latin.
Useful - Whatever needed to make a living
Love - Whatever
Pleasure - Whatever
Vacations - Whatever
Curiosity - Whatever
Family needs - Whatever
Intellectual - Whatever
Fun - etc

So it seems that at least we need

[ Native + English + Useful] language.
Of course, given no overlap.
Additional languages are very subjective choices.
After the 3 above, all depends.

So no language is overrated!

In my case.


Spanish - Native
English - Essential
Polish - Family
French - Literature, intellectual, music, Zas, Brel, old Aznavour, etc
Italian - Love
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