How I Met Italian and How Italian Met Me
Ciao! My name is Sylvia. Welcome to my organization, La Bella Lingua, which is devoted to the Italian language. The blog is devoted to the language in the widest sense possible - everywhere that the beautiful language permeates. I aim to explore seven dimensions of the Italian language – art, culture, faith, film, food, language and music. The language can be considered as white light and the seven dimensions as the colours of the rainbow. I offer myself as the prism through which the light travels.
As a child, I took piano and flute lessons in order to pass exams from the Royal Conservatory of Music. As a classically trained musician, the first Italian words I heard were piano, forte and crescendo.
In 2016, I lived with my sister in Montreal for a few months. Since I had become Catholic in 2015, I wanted to go to daily Mass. There was a parish at the end of the block from my sister’s house. The parish offered daily Mass. But I went and I realized that the daily Mass was in Italian. I decided that if I wanted to go to daily Mass, I would have to learn Italian. The priests’ gestures were quite animated and the sound of the language pulled me in. Soon after, I discovered an Italian Missal and Pope Francis.
From 2016 until 2022, I have travelled from Italian classes at Dante Alighieri to Verbling to the PLIDA B1 and C1 to the CEDILS. I can help you discover this beautiful language.
As an adult, I discovered singing alongside the Italian lessons. The musical terms from my childhood like crescendo no longer simply meant “to get louder”, but crescere as in “to grow” and crescendo as in “growing” not only in volume bulso in broadness. Further, forte did not only mean “loud” but “strong” as well. And piano did not merely mean “soft” but “gently, delicately” like when we tell someone to work piano piano.
Meeting the Italian language not only re-introduced classical music to me but it also re-introduced me to myself. My name is Sylvia. My ethnic heritage is Korean, but I always thought my name was anglophone. It was not true. My first name is from Latin and it means “from the forest”. My last name comes from the Korean region of Gangneung. One of the symbols of Gangneung is the pine tree. It is the one I identify with the most, since my first impression upon arriving in Gangneung was the sight of pine trees. My time in Korea was a way for me to accept my Korean roots. Likewise, meeting the Italian was my way of coming to terms with my Latin roots. Che bello! That I could be from the forest of pine trees.
In another way, this organization is my thank you letter to the Italian language. A thank you for the colours it has brought into my life.