Learning Italian can improve brain health

Learning a language improves brain health

Okay, this statement about learning Italian is the broad brush, non-nuanced version of a study reported in 2015.  The science behind this broad claim is as follows.

People who speak two languages have more gray matter in the executive control region of their brains—the area that controls higher cognitive processes like thinking, analyzing, making connections, and synthesizing information—than monolinguals. The findings of this study corroborate and bolster data from earlier investigations that suggested bilingualism can not only improve brain functioning but also keep age-related neural disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at bay (Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD | August 5, 2015).

If improving your brain isn’t enough incentive to want to learn Italian, what about learning more about the cradle of civilisation; being able to read about design and fashion in the language of world-leading design houses like Prada, Versace, Armani, Gucci, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari and Benetton; or, the language of world-leading brands revered for their quality and design mastery such as Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Lamborghini? All of these brands and dozens more are internationally recognised as world leaders in quality.

We’ve all heard that the ideal time to learn languages is when you’re aged between 3 and 7 (and we have Girotondo for that). What is less well-known, however, are the advantages of learning a second language as an adult. Adults have a wider vocabulary and a pre-existing understanding of how language works, that allows them to learn more efficiently. Ideally, they have an understanding of grammar and the logic behind concepts like tense and homophones, so they can focus on the differences between their first language and the new language.

Still not convinced? According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 60% of the world’s art treasures are housed in Italy. The Italian language is key to study and research in the fields of art history, literature, archaeology and philosophy.

Of all of the romantic languages, (Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian) Italian is the closest to Latin. It is estimated that up to 60% of English words are derived from Latin, so learning Italian will help you to develop a deeper understanding of English.

However, it is arguable that the strongest association most Australians have with Italy and the Italian language is food. It’s hard to imagine a more legitimate excuse for indulging in pizza, focaccia, gelato, tiramisu, pasta and antipasto, than an odyssey into Italian language and culture.

Italian language and culture classes for first semester 2021 are now open.