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a few Italian phrases to help us get by..

a few Italian phrases to help us get by..

Mar 7th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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a few Italian phrases to help us get by..

Could someone help with a few Italian phrases? I'm looking, in particular, for:

Do you speak English?
Thank you

LoisL is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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Lois, you are going to need a few more than these. I would invest in one of those pocket phrase/menu/language books.
Budman is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Here's a little help, but I recommend you pick up a small phrase book.
Buon giorno - good morning/day
Buena sera - good evening
Ciao - hello/goodbye
Grazie - thank you
Parla inglese? - speak English?
And one I found helpful:
No gas - use this when ordering a bottle of water in a restaurant if you prefer no carbonation.
job816 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Right here on this site! You can not only see, but hear pronunciation.

You'll also want a phreasebook. I speak a little Italian, but still study mine for a couple of weeks before a trip to refresh my memory. Am partial to the Rick Steves prasebook because of the way it's organized, but browse and see what suits you best.
Lesli is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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Echoing the same sentiments as others... 5-10 words a day. You can do it. "We" can help, though, ultimately you have to do it for yourself.

How many days before you leave? Today would be a good day to start.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Thank you for the assistance! We are only going to be in Rome for three days, including Easter Sunday, so it will be kind of zoo-y. We added this to an itinerary we already had because, #1, we had never been there, and #2, there was a special with a local airline that made it too good to pass up. When we booked it, we weren't thinking about exactly WHAT weekend it was, and what it would mean in Rome, with the Vatican, etc. I suspect, after getting a small taste of the city, that I'll want to get back there for a longer visit!
LoisL is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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I bought a small little flip book at Barnes and Noble called "Instant Italian" for $3.95. It is about the size of a passport and will fit in the back pocket of your jeans. Very handy at all times and every phrase I needed on my 2 week trip to Italy.
mellie88 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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the one I always am sure to learn in any language is "where is the bathroom!"
ekellyga is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 02:32 PM
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A pocket sized book called Italian At A Glance by Barrons was easy to use. I learned the words and phrases I thought would be most helpful first and then tried to add new words everyday. Italians appreciate your trying to speak their language and remember a smile is understood by everyone no matter what language you speak.
Bluebird is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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Study and/or print the phrases in the following website and you will get along very well for a 3-day visit to Rome:


KS452 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 04:19 PM
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I appreciate all the responses I've received. I have printed out some of the phrases from the site KS452 offered, which seem to cover much of what I expect to need. I found, when we were in Paris last year, that the most helpful phrase was asking, in their language, if they spoke English, along with obvious ones like, hello, good-by, thank you, etc. When I threw in something I'd picked up during the stay, it was always received warmly, and I'll give this my best shot! Thanks again.
LoisL is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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After 2 weeks in Italy, we learned many words and phrases, but one that I haven't found in books or on-line is 'I love you'. Can anyone tell me how to say it in Italian? We had a fantastic trip, thanks to all of my Fodor friends, and would like to keep it alive with my hubby. A trip report will be forthcoming, but first I have to deal with my bzillion emails awaiting me, and about 400 photos.
turnercindy is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 04:27 AM
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Ti amo
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 04:37 AM
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This always comes in handy:

Bring me a couple more of these and make it snappy!

I don't bother with saying it in Italian - just look annoyed and speak real loud as you point at the items!
degas is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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And if they don't respond, say it slowly and LOUDER.

Foreigners just pretend that they don't understand English.
ira is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:18 AM
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Do not use "Ciao" for either "hello" or "goodbye" unless you addressing close friends/family. It is a familiar term so with people you don't know well it is polite to use Buon Giorno or Buona Sera. You may also hear "salve" or "auguri."
Grinisa is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:32 AM
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Several thoughts:

Degas, you smooth talker, you!

Grinisa, I had never heard that before about the use of Ciao. But I've noticed how often it is said to me. This summer we rented apartments in Rome, Venice, and Montepulciano. In all cases we were spoken to as we left each day by owners who said freely "ciao". Were they trying to make a point that we were now their "friends or family"? I really don't recall if in the past hotel people or restaurant staff I came into contact with used the term or not, so you've really got me thinking.

A week or two ago there was quite a thread about how to fully say and pronounce "Do you speak English?" I had never thought about this, but a couple of posts got me to thinking about the logic of it all, and I had to agree. Why does one worry about saying "Do you speak English" in Italian, particularly worrying about flawless pronunciation? If they do speak English they'll understand it in English. And if they don't, they'll acknowledge they didn't know what you said when you ask it in English (although honestly -- nearly every Italian will know what you said when you say "do you speak English" in English! While it may be polite to learn the phrase in Italian for approaching a stranger, it does make a lot more sense to learn other phrases instead of this one, which often seems to be the phrase most English speakers are concerned with! I'd think "where is the toilet" is a lot more important, for example!
Patrick is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:44 AM
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Correction to Job816" post: It's "buona sera" (not "buena," which is Spanish). Also, I would avoid "ciao" unless you're very chummy with the people you're saying it to, or unless you just want to echo what they've already said to you. It's very casual, and it might appear a bit too forward/phoney-friendly (like the stereotypical waiter who says, "Hi, my name's Scott, and I'm your waiter. How's it goin'?") for you to say it to strangers. Better to stick with "buon giorno" or "buona sera" for hello ("buon giorno" early in the day, "buona sera" from mid or late afternoon on) and "arrivederci" (or even more formal "arrivederla") for good-bye. However, if you want to be casual, but with no hint of being inappropriately familiar, you could use "salve" in both directions, i.e. hello and good-bye. It's casual, but has a classic feel to it. (However, it is more common in some parts of Italy than others, and in places where it is not that popular, some people might think it's weird.)

I'm at work and don't have time to read through the whole thread at the moment, but just wanted to comment on this one post with the Spanish word in it.
cmt is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:46 AM
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cmt, you've been reported to your boss! Here's hoping they don't say to "ciao" to you! LOL
Patrick is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Another way of saying 'I love you' in Italian is 'Ti voglio bene", which literally means "I wish you well" but has more subtle connotations.

Here's a thread on the SlowTrav message board that explains this in depth:

nonnafelice is offline  

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