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Are you a 'Glaswegian' or 'Weegie' but dreaming of the Bel Paese (or Beautiful Country) of the East? Do you find yourself drawn to the Italian culture, language and history of Italy - whose colossal legacy is one of the cradles of European civilization? Would you like to read the works of D. Aligheri, I. Calvino, D. Buzzati, N. Machiavelli or those of P. Levi in their mother tongue? Maybe escape some of the dreary, grey, rainy days with a visit to the lush and rich countryside of Tuscany?
Or are you wanting to connect to one of the many Italians living in or visiting Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland?
Don't give up before you've even begun, learning a new language is possible with a little hard work and perseverance, you too can learn Italian and progress quickly! Let's take a look at some of the options to learn Italian in the Glasgow area.
Learning to speak Italian for an English speaker is much easier than learning Russian or Mandarin Chinese for example. And for good reason: Italian is a sister language of English, with some of the same etymological roots, derived from the Latin language.
Around half of the vocabulary in the English language is of Latin or French origin. This means that a large number of English words came from the same place as Italian words did. These common roots mean that when you look at a text during your Italian language course you’ll probably understand more than you would have thought.
Italian is one of the Romance languages belonging to the group of Indo-European Latin languages. A learner in a beginner Italian course might think that the language they are learning derives directly from Latin as it was spoken in ancient Rome.
This is not exactly true: modern Italian is one of the closest languages to the vulgar Latin of Antiquity, certainly, but today it is more of the Tuscan dialect. Originally from Florence and Pisa, it is a substratum of Etruscan - a dead language but one that penetrated into Latin - and is one of the many languages spoken in the Italian peninsula throughout the course of history.
Nevertheless, many words in Italian are close to English, which will be enough to help you learn the Italian vocabulary! The Italian language was for a long time the international language of culture and the arts: music, theatre, literature, etc.
As such, many words in Italian are found in common English language such as: piano, pianissimo, mezzo, forte, domino, a capella, adagio, allegretto, allegro, arpeggio, harlequin, americano, banco, bank, bankruptcy, capo, caricature, paparazzi, soprano, moderato, mosaic, jump seat, etc.
Today, Italian is the official language of Italy, unified in 1861. It is estimated that Italian is used by 61.7 million people, mainly in Italy, but there are also many Italian-speaking communities around the world, including in France, Switzerland, Malta, Albania, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Libya.
The language of Dante is also an official language in the Vatican, Switzerland, San Marino, Istria (Croatia), and is recognized as one of the twenty-four official languages of the European Union. In other words, the international influence of Italian is important, and it is, therefore, interesting to increase one's linguistic skills in this area.
Indeed, the Italian presence in Scotland, especially in Glasgow - because of its size - has always been important: a recent Italian census estimated that there are 70,000 to 100,000 people in Scotland of Italian descent or Italian nationals, which is up to 1.9% of the overall Scottish population. The 2011 UK Census showed that were 6,048 people living in Scotland who were born in Italy.
Why is it that so many Scottish people have Italian ancestry? It could partly be because during the 19th century the Italian Diaspora didn't only travel to the Americas, but thousands also came to Britain and the UK. Industrial areas such as West Scotland and South Wales in particular. Italian prisoners of war were also held by the thousands in Scotland during WWII. After the war, many of those who had worked in agriculture and industry continued their work and stayed.
Currently, Glasgow, today's economic capital of Scotland, is a successful tourism destination, with over 2 million tourists per year. Each year they also attract a whopping 20 million visitors per day for business and those just travelling through. It is a strategic place for tourism and trade. The largest city in Scotland and third largest in the UK has enough to attract Italian speakers, which in turn is an incredible pool of potential private teachers to take Italian classes with!
Why learn the Italian language instead of learning, say, Spanish or French? There can be many different good reasons to do so.
Italian, like a lot of foreign languages, is in decline in schools. This is most likely due to foreign languages no longer being obligatory at GCSE. However, this could work in your favour. After all, if you chose to study a language like Italian and ended up speaking it fluently, you’d have a unique selling point on your CV.
In fact, the British Council considers Italian the 7th most important language for Britain’s future. Let's look at business for example, companies are looking for all types of skills and only 1% of students take Italian at GCSE! If you were to study Italian and GCSE and then continue onto A Level or a Degree, you would be a one-in-a-hundred candidate for certain jobs. Even if you were barely conversational or just knew basic Italian, your Italian would probably be significantly better than the majority of candidates!
Italy is the third largest economy in the euro zone. It's clear that a good level of knowledge in Italian language and culture will send a strong signal of employability to Italian or UK-Italian entrepreneurs. We live in a context of ever greater globalization and economic integration, where positions are sometimes very competitive and learning a foreign language is always a major asset to stand out from others.
Another reason? From the point of view of written comprehension, Italian is an easy language to learn: one can easily deduce, translate and understand the meaning of an Italian sentence.
Another advantage: taking individual courses on Superprof allows you to steadily progress towards your goals. An Italian teacher, one who is a certified teacher, a native speaker, or with advanced skills, is there to help you move from a beginner level to more advanced or to deepen your skills at an intermediate level. Having an individual in-home tutor is, in our opinion, the best way to learn from one's mistakes and to strive for fluency in Italian.
You may also want to learn Italian out of pure curiosity, to extend one's general culture. Our Glaswegian Italian speakers on Superprof will allow you to discover the appeal of a rich culture that has shone throughout the world for millennia: with its' history of art, history of civilizations, Italian cuisine, music, theatre, cinema.. the list goes on. While Italy isn’t the world’s largest country, Italian culture is one of the richest in the world. Did you know, for example, that Italy is home to 60% of Europe’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s also home to 40% of those all around the world. You can also learn about famous Italians like Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Rossellini, Vivaldi, and Verdi to name just a few.
In addition, there is evidence that learning a new language allows for better cognition, which creates many neurological connections in the brain, which helps it to work faster and more efficiently. We do not necessarily become smarter, but comprehension is facilitated.
Italian belongs to the Romance family, which in turn is part of the large Indo-European language family. It, therefore, shares many features with other Romance languages such as French or Spanish. Italian words are made up of the same 26 letters as employed by English, although the letters j, k, w, x and y are considered foreign and are only used in import words.
Italian is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler. Because both languages have Latin roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.
According to Babbel.com, "Consider this sentence in Italian – made up almost entirely of Italian-English cognates: Il ristorante antico si trova vicino al museo d’arte. The cognates for “restaurant”, “museum” and “art” are almost unchanged. Stretch your brain a bit and you might notice that “antico” looks a lot like “antique” and “vicino” looks like “vicinity”; put more simply, you get the words “old” and “near”. Put it all together and you have: The old restaurant is near the art museum."
Not only is Italian relatively easy to pick up and start speaking, understanding it gives you a huge head-start to understanding other Romance languages like French, Spanish and Portuguese.
There are dozens of our tutors on the Superprof platform ready and available to give in-home classes and help their students to perfect or consolidate their knowledge of Italian. The average hourly rate of our courses is £ 19 in Glasgow and the surrounding area.
One-to-one tutoring, both individual and home-based, offers an "à la carte" learning modality adapted to each student's needs and schedule: all-grade classes, intensive courses, summer courses, support classes school, adult classes, etc.
How to choose your Italian teacher? You have to compare the profiles. Here are some criteria to help you choose the best fit for you:
● The hourly rate
● The teacher's experience and certification
● Geographical origin of the teacher: native, UK, UK-Italian
● The level of education
● Course content: conversation classes, grammar, lessons and exercises, remedial classes, refresher courses, exam preparation, etc.
● Location of the teacher in the city
It's important to find the right fit and choose the profile most likely to be "the soulmate of your language training" :) Andiamo!