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German or Italian?

Just want some suggestions: I want to learn an(other) European language, that has a strong musical background. The three big European music giants are France, Italy, and Germany(/Austria). I've ruled out French for one, as I've been to France and disliked the food (the rest were fine, but I'm allergic to so many things there!), and I don't like how the language was spoken. I like many French musicians, but I'm still meh with the entire thing. It's mostly personal.

So now I'm deciding between German and Italian, both of which are languages with strong musical backgrounds. German is spoken more widely, and in more places (but the dialect varies a lot). Austria, a German speaking country, is populated with many of my favorite musicians, like Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms (my absolute faves are mostly Russian, but I'm not going to Russia to study music!). Italian, on the other hand, is the classical opera stage. I'm not exactly a big fan of operas (I'm a fan, but I prefer piano), but the language sounds better anyways, and I love Italy! I like the landmarks and it's Roman history, and the food is the best.

The main objective of this is for my studies in music (and/or philosophy, if this was taken into account as well that'll be good) in the future, to build up the basis for my career path, so I have no clue which to choose. Help!

May 3, 2017



Why not do both? They are quite different, which cuts down on the confusion factor. After a while, you might find that you develop a strong preference for one of them, at which point you might shelve the other... at least for a while. If you're planning on a career in classical music, then investing time in both of those languages will not be wasted, even if you just learn a little of one and more of the other.


The thing is: I do not have time to hack away at two different languages with the time I have left from my schoolwork and things. Which is why I want to come to a decision :)


Then do both of them for just a month - and then decide which one you want to focus on. You won't know before you try, and either way, with any language, once you're past the honeymoon period (which lasts about 3 months or so) things will become more difficult and you'll need a lot of discipline and stamina to stick with it, so it's essential that you feel that you connect with a language on an emotional level, otherwise you won't last the distance. Good luck!


I say both as well. I studied German for a while, finished the course, then did Italian. I find them equally useful when studying classical music. (I play in an orchestra.) A lot of the instrument names and movement names are written in German, and the musical directions, of course, are usually in Italian. I enjoy being able to readily translate both.


Go to Switzerland, they often speak both


I am from Switzerland and I wouldn't advise anyone to come here to learn German. We always speak in dialect (Swiss German) and to make it even worse, there are many different local dialects. Even radio shows and TV are in Swiss German and the Swiss are often quite reluctant to speak proper "High German" because they feel uncomfortable speaking it. Exchange students who come to Switzerland often learn much less German than those who spend a year in Germany.

The Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is very small and they also speak in their own dialect quite often.

Dear original poster, why don't you just start learning Italian as well as German on Duolingo and find out which language "grabs" you more. Also try to get some insight into the contemporary (!) culture of Germany and Italy (maybe by watching some movies). They are two very different countries and liking a country and feeling connected to its culture can be a great motivation.

PS. Please feel free to correct any mistakes in my English!


You are correct my answer was in jest. I see people here often ask which Language they should learn. I hope in the end they choose the one they want not something me or any other stranger suggests.


Italian is much easier. But perhaps try both out?


I'm learning Italian and just picked up German again (took three years in HS...40 years ago). I love the Italian language, but if you are also interested in philosophy, I believe German would be of greater benefit.


Italy, my family and I are Italian and it is very good. Though I have only been once, there wa many things related to music. There are lots of museums and I learned quite a bit. An as always, the food is the best.

(also if you are catholic, there is a lot of churches and you can probably see the pope!)


This is not directly adressing your question, but in the course of exploring German popular song, I have found a lot of language switching in the current music. Musicians often write and sing in more than one language. One of my favorite finds: A concert with 3 musicians 1 from Italy and 2 from Germany (Bavaria). The songs switch off between Italian and Bavarian dialect from one verse to the next. They took each others songs and wrote verses in their own language. The speech is in high German. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrDql9W_3qQ

I also notice that quite a few other European artists go back and forth between Germany and their native countriies.. There seems to be a lot of support for arts in Germany.


German, because even though the dialect varies, you can get the gist of what people are saying, even if you can't understand a word or phrase.


both, but German , is easier

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