As an International School, GSO highly values English: all subjects, with the exception of foreign languages and the corresponding literatures, are taught in English. However, this may result, from the point of view of Italians, in a lacking of their mother tongue teaching. Conversely, at GSO, we give deep importance to the Italian language and literature.
But why do we feel that Italian is so important?
As a school located in Italy, Italian is the mother tongue for part of our students and staff. Therefore, learning Italian for them means developing their Italian identity, maintaining the link with their roots, with their native culture. Notwithstanding this, for foreign students, learning Italian means getting to know the country they are currently living in and being able to effectively communicate without being misunderstood.
Italian is a flexible language that needs concordance of several items across the sentence and is rich in exceptions to the rules. It therefore forces your brain to be always careful to changes and to “play games” with the parts of the discourse. As a consequence, by learning Italian, your mind will work creatively and continuously, developing abilities of deep thinking not usual for all languages.
Moreover, learning a language is strongly related to learning the culture that is intrinsic to that language. By getting in touch with a brand new culture, students may become more open minded and, since it’s a culture other from the native one, it should also increase international mindedness, an extremely important skill for the highly globalised world we are currently living in.
And what does Italian culture mean? Art, Fashion, Food, Music, Literature…
In regard to fashion, the Made-in-Italy is generally considered a guarantee of quality: Italy is the land of Valentino, Armani, Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana and many more. Made-in-Italy is not only a guarantee for fashion, though: Italian is the language of cooking too. Who did not taste a Neapolitan Pizza, a Pasta Carbonara, a gelato, an Espresso or a slice of Tiramisù at least once?
Not to speak of cars: the Italian automobile industry is famous worldwide for the Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, to list only some of them. However, Italy is also famous for motorcycles, at it’s the homeland of the Vespa Piaggioand Ducati.
As far as Art is concerned, Italy is an open-air museum, with masterpieces of great Italian painters, sculptors, architects. Italian, is therefore, the language that speaks this culture and many terms derive from it. Before Italian, they derive from Latin, the language from which all neolatine languages come from, but also the language (with Greek) from which Science derive. Knowing Italian, then, means gaining familiarity with these sounds and words, taking advantage in your science studies, but also studies in law or art. It also gives an advantage as far as the study of other neolatine languages – like French, Spanish and Portuguese – are concerned: having a common root of derivation, it might be easier for a beginner to learn these languages.
Moreover, Italy is the land of Vatican, where the Pope lives: it’s the emblem of Catholicism. Even as time passes, the Church keeps on choosing Italian: at every Catholic occasion, the whole world looks at Rome, and in particular, at San Pietro, hosting thousands of faithfuls on its monumental square. Italian, by virtue of the Church, becomes the language of communication on a global level, as even foreign Popes still decide to keep it as the official language.
Music too has a credit to this country, in particular as far as opera and classical music are concerned, as it’s the land where opera was developed. If you want to understand the main Operas worldwide, you need to know Italian (i.e. Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro). Italian is also the language of Dante (The Divine Comedy), Manzoni (The Betrothed) and poets like D’Annunzio, Montale, Pascoli and many more.
Last but not least, Italy is a very touristic country that also has a massive trade market (i.e. of wine) and several firms with branches located all around the world. Knowing Italian means getting one more chance to access the working field and apply for a job that allows you to have working relationships with Italian firms and, possibly, to travel to this wonderful country.
Italian is a complex yet fascinating language, often not given the consideration it deserves. At GSO, we are proud of Italian and highly value the teaching of this language, together with its culture. So while GSO Italian students take the chance to connect with their mother tongue and their roots, GSO international students have the advantage of learning this wonderful language while traveling around the country to discover its beauties and treasures.