How the Italian Language Became a Beautiful Thing


Writers and poets spent centuries crafting the country's lovely native tongue.

The following article, written by Breena Kerr, appears on BBC.com. 

How Italian became the language of love

Writers and poets shaped its style and vocabulary over centuries, with beauty and sound as some of their primary considerations.

It happened again the other day. I was walking down the street in my home city in the US when I heard it; a couple speaking Italian. I hurried to catch up with them, staying close so I could eavesdrop. From what I could understand, they were talking about remodelling their house. Not the most elegant topic. But the words sounded so beautiful that I cried.

I had the same reaction when I moved home after spending two years in Florence, when I wept at the lack of attention to beauty in my own American city. Italians are always using the word bello (beautiful) for everything good. In Italy, beauty is paramount. And Italian is no different.

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This passionate tongue can seduce people so thoroughly they’ll even change their lives for it. Some move to Italy on a whim and remodel abandoned farmhouses. Others sit in classrooms, trying earnestly to pronounce its odder-sounding words (like tongue-bending uomini, the word for ‘men’). Continue reading at BBC.com. 

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