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I don't speak Italian. Will I have trouble?

I don't speak Italian. Will I have trouble?

Apr 14th, 2001, 08:38 AM
Speak No Italian
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I don't speak Italian. Will I have trouble?

I am planning a trip to Italy. I don't speak Italian. What kind of trouble will I run into? Do you have any advice?
Apr 14th, 2001, 08:52 AM
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If you're going to major and minor cities and towns that are used to tourists you shouldn't have any problem--I didn't (although I'm excited about starting to take Italian lessons this summer)
My advice is always to learn a few
basic phrases in any language just to demonstrate
courtesy--hello, good bye, please, thank you, excuse me, do you speak English, I don't speak Italian.
There are so many painless ways to learn those--cassettes or CDs at home or in the car, and plenty of places on the internet as well. Elsewhere on this Fodor's website you can find a language instruction section for basic phrases--you need sound on your computer. Try also
Apr 14th, 2001, 08:56 AM
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In larger cities, and even in smaller towns, in places of business that routinely deal with tourists (hotels, restaurants, museums, airports, etc), you will often find someone who UNDERSTANDS English. Their ability or reluctance to SPEAK to you in English may not be as good as their ability to understand you. You will also commonly find WRITTEN English in many places (on menus, signs, brochures) but you may have to train your eyes to find it. I have seen many travelers see a foreign language printed on something and totally overlook the fact that there is an English translation printed somewhere beside the other language(s). Keep in mind that the Union Jack (British flag) is often used as a symbol meaning that English is available on a website or other printed information.

You say that you are planning. I assume that this trip will not begin tomorrow nor next week. Make part of your planning to plan to learn some Italian. If you have ten weeks, make yourself a plan to learn 100 words. You will find that people are so much more receptive to you, and much more willing to try their English, if you approach them with

Buon giorno. Scusi, parla inglese?

(Hello, or literally, good day. Excuse me, do you speak English?)

rather than just rattling off your needs or questions in English.

You will love Italy, the Italian people and the Italian language.

Best wishes,

Apr 14th, 2001, 08:56 AM
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... mh, difficult to say. You'll miss a lot. Italians love to talk with their hands, but they also have very nice and less nicer expressions for whatsovever. Sometimes, it's better not to know just to tell you!
But I recommend to learn some of the most important expressions, like buon giorno, buono sera, grazie, per favore and so on! Unless staying in touristy places, you will hardly find Italians who speak English or are willing to.
Apr 14th, 2001, 08:58 AM
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A few basics will get you a long way --- if nothing else, here's what you need to know:

Buon Giorno --- Good Morning (altho greeting is used thru most of the day)
Grazie --- Thank You
Per Favore --- Please (Mom was right, always remember your 'pleases' and 'thank you's')
Scusi (pronounced "skoo-zi") --- Excuse me
Si --- Yes
No --- No
Arrivederci !!! Buon Viaggio!
Apr 14th, 2001, 10:10 AM
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If you have time, head on over to your local community college and take Italian 1. You won't be sorry.

Buon viaggio
Apr 14th, 2001, 12:29 PM
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Beyond the above simple phrases, I've found if you smile a lot, it always helps.
Apr 14th, 2001, 01:03 PM
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I went to Italy last year with no more than the few words of Italian mentioned in these replies, and I got along fine. I found that my French made it possible for me to understand gobs of written Italian, and surprisingly even a lot of spoken Italian, especially when accompanied by gestures. I found the people very accepting of my feeble attempts, and very polite and warm and wonderful.

You'll be fine.
Apr 14th, 2001, 06:01 PM
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We just got back. We did learn a few basic phrases. It made them obviously happy when you try to speak their language. We saw a few (not many) people go into places and just spout off in English assuming they would be understood. We found them to be very helpful. Have a great time.
Apr 14th, 2001, 07:28 PM
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I have found Italians to be very tolerant and helpful with tourists who speak little or none of their language.
But do learn the basics and ask nicely when you need something. It will be all right.

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