“Scrivere la Nuova Europa: editoria italiana, Autori e Lettori nell’Era Digitale- Writing the New Europe: Italian Publishing, Authors and Readers in the Digital Era”.
That’s the theme chosen for the annual “Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo” Week of the Italian Language in the World, which will take place from October 20th to the 25th. The project is being organized by the Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the management of the ministry’s Cultural Promotion, with the collaboration of the Accademia della Crusca, the Società Dante Alighieri, the Fondazione Corriere della Sera, RAI International, and RAI Educational.
The initiative, inaugurated with much success in 2001 both in Italy and abroad, renews the commitment of Italian institutions to the promotion and diffusion of the Italian language and culture in the international arena. To underscore the importance of the cultural initiative, a number of institutions, such the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, the Ministero dell’Istruzione, Institute of Italian Culture all actively support activities and events during the Week. Events to celebrate Week of the Italian Language in the World include a nation-wide writing contest, a video conference, radio and television shows on RAI, and special online multimedia features.
The Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo comes at an auspicious time for the Italian language. According to a recent study, there has been an increase in the number of people outside Italy studying Italian. In the last five years, the number of foreign students studying Italian at cultural institutes has increased by almost 40%; according to the university La Sapienza of Rome, the number of pages in Italian on the Internet has also increased to 3.96% of the total. Although Italian ranks nineteenth in the world for the number of people who speak it, the data shows that Italian is in fourth position in the number of courses attended by foreign students.
Much of the increase in demand has come from commerce, industry and tourism. However, traditional motivations for learning the language remain: Italian is still considered a language of culture and also a way for Italian immigrants to maintain contacts and ties with their distant homeland.