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I am Italian and I have two cultures

Having one nationality and growing up with a double culture can live under the same roof. I am Italian, born and raised polentona with the roots of a terrona: let me tell you the benefits.

Raise your hand if you discovered in your late teenage years that some words you were saying in your everyday life were not actually what everyone says but what you were used to saying. Or that when your friends came over for dinner at your place, they were missing bits and pieces of the conversation because no one noticed they had changed language. Again, opposite to that, if at the age of 24 you have to ask for the meaning of some words of your own dialect when someone is speaking to you.

Well, if you raised your hand it means you are bilingual. Wait, what if it were possible to have a double culture coming from one country only?

In this new version of the world of this past century, bilingualism has proven to have some incontrovertible benefits: growing up between two cultures teaches you to be kind to the different, allows you to travel regularly to another country, therefore having two homes, along with other aspects that are constructive personally and professionally. Now, let us include whom, just like me, was born in the north of Italy but was soaked with both North and South.

As everybody knows, Italy is wide and beautiful, despite its limited dimension, and the variety of this country is impressive. It is for this reason that we need to extend the concept of bilingualism to the different nuances inside one borderline.

Being born in Veneto and having been raised by Neapolitan parents has always made me proud. Emigration from the South to the North is very common in Italy, but it brings to life an extremely fascinating phenomenon that is the mixture of cultures and lifestyles. Not everyone recognizes the difference that the tiny habits can make.

The most immediate and obvious effect is the linguistic one. Managing two native languages like Spanish and English is, without any doubt, a valuable strength, which has nothing to do with knowing Neapolitan, Venetian and speaking standard Italian only. What linguists know is the effect that the very first years of a child have on the development of the brain and the synapsis. Being in contact with three ways of expressing one thing at a time is enormously positive for the formation of the brain, which will develop to be more flexible and inclined to the learning of languages in the adult life. From their early age, they will have multiple ways to say the same thing without needing to translate mechanically from one language to another.

Another very important aptitude in order to be able to live consciously in the 2020’s is the tolerance towards what is different. In the premature mind, seeing and hearing different types of food, habits and expressions at home and at school creates malleability and awareness since the earliest stages that there must be more than one way, more than one perspective. Then, of course, unfortunately it is up to the external influences what this child will turn up to be!

Ultimately, the conception of homeland of the people who have left their own work for work and then succeeded in making a new place their new home is rather melancholic. They will love their birthplace forever but it is proof to us that the human being was made to move and adapt, feel good and be surrounded by what is right for them. One could say it is rather difficult not to become a free spirit with this example set for you!

In conclusion, it is more than possible to be child of two cultures in one same country. It is something to be jealously proud of that shows how you can be madly in love with a place, move to another and then be madly in love with that too.

Articolo a cura di: Bianca Petrucci

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