I am sitting by my open window sending emails to friends and absorbing the sounds floating into my new home. The sun is shining. A church bell is chiming in the background. The smell of fresh flowers and an occasional cigarette from my neighbor's window is filling my nose. Italian is being spoken by the construction workers in the courtyard below.
When I can simply listen to Italian, without the pressure of having to understand what is being said, I am reminded of the absolute beauty of this language. I hear the music of its cadence, and I get lost in its rhythm.
Of all the major Romance languages, Italian retains the closest resemblance to Latin, which was spoken by the Romans and forced upon Italians during Rome’s reign of power. Until the 19th century Italy had no national language, but was filled with local dialects. It was common that Italians from the North could not communicate with Italians from the South (or any other region) because the languages were completely different.
Italy’s unification in 1861 produced profound transformations including mandatory schooling which caused an increase in literacy and resulted in the adoption of the national language, based on Tuscany’s dialect, with less native dialects. As a result, the modern and beautiful language of Italian was born.
Okay, the construction workers have started to speak again. The echo of their words are rising up through the courtyard of my building. The church bells are once again chiming; time for me to get lost in the sounds of Italy.