Speaking English in Rome?

Jan 10th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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Speaking English in Rome?

My husband and I are going to Rome next month, and it is the first time that we are going to a place where one of us does not have at least a working knowledge of the language. Will we be able to get by in Rome knowing how to say little more than "gratzi" (sp?) or "gnocchi" - meaning can we get by just speaking English - or should we get a book/tape and try to learn some basic phrases before we go?
brooklyngal is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Here you will find a spectrum of opinions n learning a language before yu travl to a country, including my opinion:


You can do it. When do you leave? Thirty or more days from now? Ten words a day. Today would be a good day to start.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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You will be pleasantly surprised at how many people there speak English, and will be willing to speak to you once you explain to them - in Italian - that you cannot speak Italian. We had the best intentions before our trip, and meant to learn more than we did, but we didn't get too far. So we carried our phrase book, and politely asked people if they spoke English. Most people did, and were very very friendly about it. No worries. Have a great trip.
pegg is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 10:13 AM
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Hi gal,

I found that "parla l'Inglese, per favore?" (speak English, please?), even if poor Italian and mispronounced, usually got a pleasant response of "a little".

Bon giorno Hello
arrividerce So long
per favore Please
Grazi thank you

are required.
ira is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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It's always a good idea to learn at least the basics where you can - greetings, numbers, days of the week, directions, foods, etc. but in rome it's really not necessary.

I'm not sure what languages you speak but Italian and spanish are so close that if you speak one you can easily understand (and be understood) in the other - as least for basic tourist things (maybe not to discuss philosophy).
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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You'll be fine. Many Italians in the cities speak excellent English.

However, I would recommend a phrase book such as "Fodor's Italian for Travelers." It comes in handy for asking about really basic things like if a seat is vacant in a crowded area, excuse me (because of all the crowds), and asking for your room key, etc.

Italians are very friendly, but really appreciate an effort on a foreigner's part to communicate in the local language. Have fun!
ambender is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Slight corrections on Ira's list of approximate translations:

buon giorno (Note the "u" in first word.)

arrivederci (Note the "i" rather than "e" at the very end after the "c" and the "e" rather than "i" in the middle after the "v")

grazie (Note the "e" at the end! For some reason a lot of Italians think it's very comical when Americans say "grazi.")

You'd still be understood easily if you said them with the slight mistakes as written above, but if you're going to try to learn a few words might as well not learn them wrong.
cmt is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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I assume you ride the subway or in your car every day on the way to/from work. Buy the Fodor's Italian for Travellers tapes and listen to them every day. Practice using them between yourselves on the weekends. You'll be amazed how many of the basic phrases you'll absorb. You don't have to be fluent, but people appreciate your making the effort to learn the basics.
Jean is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 03:29 PM
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Re: can we get by just speaking English - or should we get a book/tape and try to learn some basic phrases before we go?

Yes, and yes. While you can definitely get by speaking English, it never hurts to learn, at a minimum, polite words and phrases like "Please", "Thank You", "Good morning", etc.

You don't need to knock yourself out trying to master phrases like, "Can you tell me if there is a gelateria near the Pantheon?" or "What do you think of Berlusconi?" but do try to learn some of the basic words and phrases and use them once in a while. I think you'll be very glad you did.

Good luck!
capo is offline  
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