Archive for March, 2014

Conflicts in International Relationships: Italy

Posted on March 19th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Italy and romance are practically synonymous in pop culture, but don’t go planning your wedding just yet; getting involved with someone from Italy or of strong Italian heritage can lead to confusion and frustration to someone unfamiliar with their culture.  sunset_couple_walk_243076_lGondola rides, opera, and sexy accents are all very well and good, but if you aren’t willing to compromise on some matters, you may find yourself trapped in a rocky relationship filled with heartache.  Here are a few of the chief conflict points to look out for:

  1. Gender Roles.  Coming from a country steeped in tradition, Italians may treat men and women as having starkly diverging roles in both the relationship and the household.  As a woman, even if you are highly educated, your male partner may view you primarily as a wife, mother, and housekeeper.  You will be responsible for all cooking and cleaning, just as your partner will pride himself in being the sole provider of the household.  Similarly, if you’re involved with an Italian woman, she may expect you to place her on a pedestal and lavish her with gifts, as that’s what she’s most likely used to.
  2. The Whole Mama’s Boy Thing.  If you want to date an Italian man, you will have to accept the fact that you’ll always be a substitute for his mother.  Italian mothers tend to smother their sons with care and affection, often resulting in very clingy and spoiled men.  Be prepared to have your cooking, your cleaning, and your unconditional love pale in comparison to hers.
  3. Excessive Arrogance About Their Love-Making Skills.  Italy has a very macho culture, and the men generally view themselves as a breed of Casanovas.  While they may talk a very big game, boasting loud and often about their prowess in the bedroom, keep in mind that it’s all bravado.besar-pares-romantico-vector-relacion_21-30067746
  4. Overt Demonstration of Emotions.  Coming from a very loud and expressive culture, your Italian paramour may see it as normal to communicate their affections or dissatisfactions very passionately, rather than let their feelings quietly simmer for months or even years.  If heartfelt talks, raging quarrels, or public displays of affection are not your cup of tea, then you may wish to reconsider this relationship.
  5. Your Partner Will Get Jealous.  Unlike more gender-egalitarian societies where men and women spending time together as friends is viewed as a common and even wholesome pastime, your Italian partner may view it as breeding grounds for adultery.  You may have to put up with possessiveness and accusations from your partner if you’re caught in the company of someone of the opposite gender.

If you feel you have the stamina and patience to see your relationship through with someone with an Italian background, you’re sure to find yourself with a new family opening you with open arms.  Impress them all by showing up to family gatherings with a firm grasp of the Italian language.  Send us an inquiry for more information or taking a look at our Italian courses to get started learning right away.

Learn Italian Through Music!

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Music has been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective ways to facilitate language learning; it evokes a higher sense of concentration and clarity, and studies have shown that listening to music releases endorphins in your brain, making it more likely that the words you associate with this experience will stick.  And Italian is such a musical language to begin with, ideal for putting to song, that your options in that regard are endless.


YouTube is a wealth of resources for practicing your Italian listening skills while picking up some new vocabulary in the process.  Plenty of songs provide lyrics in both Italian and an English translation under the video, or sometimes even as subtitles.  These can be perfect for watching on your phone during a long commute, or downloading and listening on headphones throughout the day, or even leaving on to listen to while you multitask with other jobs around the house.

When it comes to choosing what type of music to seek out, it may be helpful to start with the most familiar.  International opera star Andrea Bocelli is well-known to most English-speakers who have come into contact with a radio in the past ten years due to his widely beloved pop/opera hit, “Con Te Partiro.”  The music is moving and melodic and Bocelli’s voice is rich and clear.  The lyrics of most of his songs, once you get used to reading in Italian, all make perfect vocabulary words for the intermediate learner: they are common words expressing emotional ideas in simple terms.  Look for songs from his classic album Romanza which are all very catchy and will have you singing along in no time.


If slow, romantic ballads aren’t for you, check out pop stars such as Luciano Ligabue, who has more of a rock and roll edge to his songs, but keeps with Italy’s favorite subject matter: love.  If you’re looking to learn Italian via the songs of a true maestro, explore the work of the famous Mina Mazzini, wild child of the doo-wop age and later queen of virtually every single music genre over the course of her five-decade career.  For fans of Bob Dylan, check out Rino Gaetano, a folksy singer-songwriter who used his music to speak out against the conservatism, hypocrisy, and corruption of his country during the 1970s.

For the more advanced student of Italian who seeks to fully immerse themselves in the power and poetry of the language, the internet has endless resources of classical music and opera for downloading and streaming.  For the student who doesn’t wish to stray so far from what’s familiar, there is an equal amount of songs from movies and pop culture that have been translated into Italian—if you already know the tune, the words will stick that much more easily.

Whatever your strategy in language-learning, keep in mind that before the music and lyrics can mean anything to you, you must have a healthy foundation of Italian to build off of.  Get started right away by sending us an inquiry, or by taking a look at our different Italian courses.  Soon you’ll find yourself singing along to whatever songs you hear!