Contemporary with the 15th Italian Language in the World Week, the conference “Riparliamone: la lingua ha valore” took place at Florence’s Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on the impetus of Under-Secretary Mario Giro and in collaboration with the Florence city government.
Participants included Under-Secretary Giro and Gabriele Toccafondi of the education ministry, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella, Vice-President of the Tuscany region Monica Barni, Director-General for Country Promotion Andrea Meloni and major representatives of economic and business spheres. The encounter offered an opportunity to present the initial results of the process launched last October with the States General for the Italian Language.
The status of Italian language teaching around the world, conducted according to the new criteria propsed by the States General, will be examined and include data on numbers of students and projects currently under way abroad (Cultural Institutes, Italian schools abroad, courses, universities). The Florence conference will, in particular, provide an illustration of the “Portal of the Italian Language in the World” project. Also discussed will be the inclusion of degrees in Italian language teaching for foreigners in foreign University programmes; the association of italo-phones; the development of a certification of language skills; the consultative work group for the promotion of Italian language and culture abroad; and the training and updating of teachers and lecturers.
“Speaking Italian” increasingly part of communication strategies
“The aim is to foster the birth of a great undertaking in the teaching of the Italian language abroad, a major public and private effort in which business becomes a key player. Studying Italian also means acquiring Italian taste and therefore consumers of Italian products”, added Under-Secretary Mario Giro.
One of the meeting’s priority themes was also the promotion of Italian and its involvement in the world of enterprise, which, as has emerged over recent years, shows a close relationship between the spread of the Italian language and productive sectors. The value of the language mentioned in the event’s title, underscores the importance that the evocative strength of words assumes in economic, commercial and media spheres. From fashion to automobiles, architecture to art, music and design, “speaking Italian” has increasingly become linked with global level communication strategies that underscore the bond with Italy and guarantee that “added value” associated with Made in Italy.
“In order to improve our strategies we need the help of businesses. We wish to adopt an inclusive approach and develop a direct and continuous interface with the world of enterprise”, Under-Secretary Giro concluded.
More and more often, foreign firms are using advertising messages that incorporate Italian in order to seduce consumers and attract them to products that suggest the Italian productive impulse and quality. The Florence meeting was acutely aware of the relationship between culture and business and between the products of creativity and the language by which they are presented.