Italian words have been migrating to English over the course of many centuries, so you'll be happy to discover that you already know quite a bit of Italian. Most musicians are familiar with musical terms
such as bel canto
, and solo
. Architecture has borrowed words like cupola, loggia, and stanza. If you like Italian food, there's no avoiding mouth-watering ravioli
, or porcini
. And in everyday culture we speak of camera-toting paparazzi
artists, gun-slinging mafia
, and the urban ghetto
. So your vocabulary already consists of many familiar words that are Italian. Figuriamoci!
And because of the growing influence of American culture, especially through the media, it's a two-way linguistic street. So many English words have been adopted in Italian that there's a name for them: Itangliano (highly anglicized Italian). These words include "club," "flirt," "shopping," "spray," and "style." Sometimes it might seem that you hear more English than Italian spoken in the tourist-heavy cities of Florence, Rome, and Venice!
Ironically, there have been a series of efforts by politicians and academics to defend the Italian language against what's often referred to as italenglish
. Members of the Italian parliament launched a campaign against English phrases and syntax
that were flooding into their culture and language, and threatening to kill off Italian(!). More recently, Italian officials declared war on officialese
, vowing to simplify the way the state communicates with its citizens.