¿Primo Hermano o Falso Amigo? Español para Italianos
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As a native Italian speaker, I often have to face the common misconception that learning Spanish is easy for Italian speakers. "Are you Italian? It is easy for you to learn Spanish, then…." This is the most common comment I have heard.
On both the diachronic level (for the development of the two Romance languages from the same language, Latin) and the synchronic level (especially in the area which, from XVIII to XIX centuries, was called Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) the encounter between these two linguistic realities is important. If on one hand the information provided above supports and tests the undeniable correspondence of the two languages, on the other hand it can account for a very different evolution.
The ease of an Italian student in learning the first level of knowledge of Spanish is based on similarities (sounds, sentence construction, etc.); nevertheless, also the difficulties which the same student has, facing a deeper knowledge of Spanish, are explainable by the similarity.
In order to learn a completely different language than our own, we start from scratch and with many difficulties. Here we are trying to illustrate: first, how the native speakers of any language approach the Spanish language as L2, in general; then the advantages in having to start in medias res, for speakers of Romance Languages such as Italian and Sicilian; finally, the problems to raise the level in the latter case, despite the overall homogeneity between first and second language, and in light of this.
With a comparative approach, I intend to dismantle the simplistic belief that considers Spanish and Italian only as sisters-languages. They should be seen as enemies as well. The methods of learning Spanish for an Italian native speaker, all the dynamics that first facilitate things and then (when the study deepens) make them complicated, are the basis of my research. The biggest problem in the error of judgment we are trying to debunk, is, above all, the lack of knowledge of the huge linguistic variety of Italian language (dialects, habits, idioms, regional uses, etc.): standard Italian is totally different than the varieties simplistically called dialects.
Even Literature can help us to support the notion of the contamination that has always interested the two languages, but, even more, the radical differences that make it so difficult to properly use for speakers from the other language.