Regardless of how long you plan on staying in Sardinia, one of the first questions you will need an answer to is whether they speak English.
While the answer is quite obvious given the acknowledgment and use of English as the primary international language, you might also want to know whether many people speak it in Sardinia or if it’s just those working with tourists.
We have the answer to that, in addition to more information about the life and languages spoken in Sardinia, so keep reading below!
Do Many People Speak English In Sardinia?
To be polite when visiting Sardinia, you should know how to speak either Sardo or Italian and use a few expressions and phrases.
However, there are numerous Sardinians that know and speak the English language.
Some of them are even fluent, speaking English as a second language, with many younger locals having been taught the language at school.
You won’t have any trouble understanding how to get around the coastal regions of the island or ordering a meal at a restaurant, while the tourist hotspots are better prepared for travelers who find it easier to communicate in English.
Which Language Do People In Sardinia Use?
A typical assumption most people make is that since Sardinia is an Italian island, the locals there use the Italian language.
This is not entirely wrong, but it is not as simple and straightforward as it sounds.
If you visit any area of mainland Italy, you are most likely to hear locals speak a language that differs from the standard Italian you have read in guidebooks or vocabulary lexicons.
This is due to the fact that nearly every single area of mainland Italy uses its own unique regional dialect, which was regarded as a profane type of Latin in the old days.
The majority of local dialects in Italy seem more like individual languages as they have their own intricate grammatical rules and verb formations.
Several of them share a lot with the standard language, while others share close to nothing!
In the latter group, we can include Sardinians, who do speak Italian but also have their own language, Sardo, which is completely different from Italian.
Sardinian Language: An Overview
Even though many people consider Sardinian as one of the Italian dialects, it is actually a language (learn more about the people of Sardinia here).
Although Italian is currently the primary commonly spoken language in Sardinia, the Sardinian language, also referred to as Sardo, is still widespread, with many local residents speaking it.
Sardo is an enchanting and rich language and is now spoken by over 1,350,000 people as a first or second language!
Moreover, Sardo is deemed as the closest descendant of Latin, with just an 8% variation in lexical items, syntactic details, and phonology.
And while Sardinia is so close to Italy, the Sardo language is not comprehensible to Italians, and it shares more things in common, sound-wise, with Spanish.
The island’s language was formally acknowledged by regional legislation in 1997, and then by national legislation in 1999.
Although it is directly connected to Latin, it has been influenced by numerous other languages, including Arabic, Byzantine Greek, Ligurian, Catalan, Spanish, and, lately, Italian.
It is also divided into dialects that differ from one region to another. In Sardinia, neighboring communities frequently speak in a different dialect from one another.
Even when we talk about short distances of no more than 10 kilometers, any villager can tell when someone from another village pays a visit thanks to the dialect they’re speaking!
Is Sardinia A Nice Place To Live?
If you like beautiful landscapes and mountainous areas, endless shores, and Italian food, you should think about living in Sardinia.
Given its size, the island has more than enough to offer to anyone wishing to live there.
Those looking for a peaceful home and want to experience life in tranquil surroundings are going to be equally content as those seeking to unwind at sandy scenery.
Sardinia has approximately 25 centenarians per 100,000 of its residents, and while the precise cause is unknown, several people believe it is largely attributable to the Italian and Mediterranean diet, the great weather conditions, as well as the way of living on the island, which is rather relaxed.
Because there aren’t many immigrants in Sardinia, if you choose to move there you will be able to immerse yourself in the island’s culture and community.
Is Sardinia A Nice Retirement Destination?
Sardinia is a fantastic destination to think about retiring in (if you want to know more about retiring in Sardinia, read here). The island’s relaxed way of life, stunning landscape, food, and culture make it an ideal place to spend your retirement years.
If strolling along sandy shores, exploring dazzling landscapes, discovering some of the world’s greatest ancient sites, trying locally grown products, and local Sicilian chardonnay sounds enticing to you, then retiring in Sardinia should be an instant ‘yes.’
The Sardinian way of life is ideal for individuals in their golden years.
Apart from when it’s a busy tourist season, even in tourist hotspots, streets are almost always quiet after 8:00 pm, with cafes, bars, and eateries being closed by then.
Locals in Sardinia choose to spend their evenings at home with their relatives and friends. Excellent local wine and cuisine are quintessential aspects of the Sardinian lifestyle, and they are always enjoyed in relaxing and cozy environments.
Basic Italian or Sardinian language knowledge will assist you with completing routine tasks and going on with your day-to-day life, and a few Sardinian expressions (the regional vernacular) can help you a lot.
The Drawbacks Of Living In Sardinia
While all this sounds great, we wouldn’t want to trick you into moving to Sardinia without knowing its downsides too.
Laws And Regulations
The legal system in Italy is considerably more complex. The laws are constantly modified, often to the point where even local residents have difficulty keeping up.
This seems to be particularly challenging when it comes to taxes. You will want to hire an accountant because there is no automated process for stuff such as tax returns.
Things are carried out in a particular way on this island and that’s just something you need to accept.
It Is Difficult To Find Work
Long-term employment is difficult to find, and even more so for people who do not speak the local language.
Nevertheless, temporary tourist job opportunities exist in tourist hotspots. It is, therefore, suggested that you have a stable income or retirement benefits if you decide to move here.
Specific things, primarily gasoline and utilities, are much more expensive than they are in mainland Italy. Furthermore, your residency status can often result in additional expenses.
Living in Sardinia as a non-resident, which essentially means you are living on the island for no more than 3 months at a time, could indeed entail additional fees for a bank account and utilities, and purchasing a vehicle is more complicated.
When your residency is approved, you will be able to skip a few of these expenses.
Even so, choosing to stay in Italy for more than 183 days per year renders you a tax resident, which means that you’ll be required to pay capital tax on your international earnings and assets.
The Bottom Line
If you visit Sardinia or plan on moving there, rest assured that you will be able to communicate in English.
Even though it is not a second language to most people, almost everyone knows how to speak it, but the truth is that if you want to experience Sardinia the right way, it is better for you to learn some Italian, or even better Sardinian, phrases to feel more like part of this beautiful country and immerse yourself in its culture!