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Che bellissima! Certainly in my ears the Italian language ranks as one of the most beautiful in the world. To hear it enflames the passions, arouses the senses and gets the taste buds tingling....

I have been an afficianado of all things Italian for many years, even before starting to learn the language. I think many people have a similar distance love affair with Italian but they may not be sure why.

Latin, the father of modern Italian and the Romance languages, was and is very expressive although grammatically not for the faint hearted - from this, via the 14th century Tuscan dialect of the likes of Dante and Petrarch, came the Italian language most people will be familiar with today.

However, Italy is still very regionally biased, campanilismo, or what we might term parochialism. Dialects are strong as they are attached to the identity of the region and many across the Italian peninsula will think of themselves first as Romans or Venetians or Napolese before ascerting 'Italian' credentials.

But modern Italian bridges these regional distinctions and this is what you will learn if you decide to embark on learning the language. I have been a few times to Italy and always try to initiate a conversation with a local. At once, all barriers go down and the fabled hand gesturing begins!

I try to maintain some Italian throughout the year, usually via an exchange on iTalki and will continue to do so as opportunity and time allows.

If you want to learn a second language, I can give no better recommnedation than Italian: what you see is what you get, regular rules and pronounciation, recognisable words for English speakers to guess, and huge amount of online resources. What are you waiting for?

I use the iTalki language platform extensively to get language practice and meet people from all over the world and help them with English and to get help learning my languages.

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A Little Extra

Here, Paul from LangFocus, gives some informative background on the evolution of Latin into its modern Italian offspring.