Italian language | the fourth most spoken in the world thanks to music

Italian, a popular language thanks to music

Everywhere in the world, Italian language is popular thanks to music; not just Opera but also pop hits such as Volare or Mamma.

Common Italian words are increasingly used in other languages, while notation on music scores is traditionally in Italian (piano, forte, crescendo, rallentando etc…). So much so that many Italian terms used for music are now truly international, representing a substantial part of the international Italian vocabulary.

Favourite Italian musical words

“In America the word Opera is truly widespread; in Japan Allegro is mostly popular; in Arabic, particularly in Egypt, the Italian word for score Partitura is the favourite” says Ilaria Bonomi, professor of Italian Linguistics at the University of Milan and author, with Vittorio Coletti, of a recent book “Italian: from music to the world”.

Ilaria Bonomi and Vittorio Coletti “L’Italiano della musica nel mondo – Italian from the music to the world” GoWare publications €4.99

Opera in Italian: the most performed in the world

Italian has to these days a very prestigious place among other languages, thanks to music. Most opera houses in the world, from Tokyo to New York to Sydney to Oslo, take a big part of their season from Italian repertoire, strictly sung in the original language. For instance, of the 24 titles in the program of the MET 2016 Opera season, 17 will be performed in Italian; also at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Italian operas will be as many as 19 on an overall number of 42 productions.

Italian in pop and folk music

Obviously the appeal of pop and folk music has to be taken in consideration too, with words such as Amore, Sole, Mare or concepts relating to food, repeated over and over again. Old tunes such Tu’ Vuo’ Fa’ l’Americano, Tutti Frutti or even songs in dialect, mostly Neapolitan such as in O’ sole mio, Funiculi Funicula’, ‘O surdato ‘nnammorato, Core ‘ngrato have grown increasingly popular worldwide, thanks also to the recordings of some of the most popular tenors of the last century like Caruso, Gigli, Tito Schipa, Mario Lanza, Di Stefano, Pavarotti, Bocelli.

“Very significant too is the use of Italian words to name cars, like Honda Concerto, Largo, Note and Nissan Fuga” stresses Coletti.

This passion for our music and composers are among the reasons that urge foreigners to still wanting to study Italian. “Dante’s language is the fourth language – after English, French and Spanish and ahead of Chinese, Japanese, German – learned in the world and its popularity is growing.

“Increasingly, the popularity of our language comes from Opera” ends Bonomi Thought moves on gold wings whilst the international vocabulary is taking the red-white-green of the Italian flag”.

About Sara Filippini

Opera music along with destination management and communication are my fields of expertise. Music and singing are my passion combined with travel and exploring the connection between places and their stories. Coming from Italy I am blessed with wealth of history and adventures to be explored from Sicily to the Alp's. The real dept of any story can be best felt from the place of its origin were the surroundings add to the sense of connection and true appreciation.


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