Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pondering The Italian Language

I want to make my peace right here, right now.

Someone on another blog presented an interesting comment about the United Nations official languages. As some of you may or may not know, the official languages of the UN are: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Chinese.

However, it's rather obtuse that Italian, with direct lineage to Latin and among the most beautiful languages in the world (if not the most beautiful) along with its staggering importance to European civilization, is overlooked.

I assume the reason why these languages were selected comes down to two things: politics, sheer numbers and history. Italian - with roughly 60 million speakers and a minor political player (in the age between the Treaty of Westphalia and WWI especially. In the post-war era Italy was able to improve on this playing a key role in the development of the EU, ESA and NATO) - doesn't fit the first two but the third one - history - it does.

If we appeal to history (encompassing culture), then Italian might in this section becomes apparent. It comfortably sits equal to French and perhaps even more so than Spanish.

Two other languages that also meet the politics, numbers, culture criteria are German, Japanese and Hindi.


Speaking about beautiful languages. I recognize beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that there are many beautiful languages in this wonderful world, but it would take a lot to convince me that Italian is not among them.

A tale of two people I must tell. One negative, one positive.

Not so long ago I was surprised to hear one person assert (a British citizen living in Spain) rather condescendingly that French and Italian are "clunky" languages" and that Spanish is a "purer" and "greater" language. Needless to say, I disagree with him. To me, all three are wickedly stylish languages. Italian and French clunky? I still don't know what he could have meant.

Soon after that, my friend, a wise and well-traveled pediatrician, and I were engaged in conversation. He speaks a few languages (he happens to be a fan of German) and he assuredly felt by far, bar none, that Italian stood at the apex of all languages. The cadence, tone and layered texture of the language connects to him on a subconscious level. He described it as words gently moving between time and space; flowing like drops of rain rolling off leaves.

Ok, enough of this. Back to the industrial stuff!

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