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Traveling in Italy w/ limited Italian fluency

Traveling in Italy w/ limited Italian fluency

Old Mar 12th, 2006, 10:42 AM
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Traveling in Italy w/ limited Italian fluency

How many people on here have traveled to Italy (especially Florence) with limited fluency in the language?

I know barely any Italian and was wondering if I will be able to maneuver my way around similar to Paris (where I also spoke very little of the language).

tia
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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The short answer is many. I am one. The more Italian you can learn the better but don't fret about it. People who deal with tourists often know a little English and tend to be not shy about using it...mixed with Italian if they don't know the English word.
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Use whatever Italian you know... for the rest, use your hands. You'll be understood!
 
Old Mar 12th, 2006, 11:00 AM
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The one tip I'd offer is .. write down addresses for places (restaurants, hotels, etc.) to show to cabbies or bus drivers. Even if you are trying hard to speak the language, a minor pronounciation glitch can cause major confusion.
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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The first time I went to Italy I didn;t know a single word - except for the names of foods. (Althougj I did have old high school Spanish which is close enough to let you figure out a lot of Italian.)

You will find in major cities/tourist attractions most people speak some english and someone speaks decent english. If you go into really small towns it will be less common - but we never found anyplace where someone didn;t speak basic english. And if you do - sign language works fairly well.

Just make sure you bring a good menu reader - so you don;t end up with something you really don;t want - like bunny or liver (my won;t eats).
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Do not hesitate to travel for lack of strong laguage skills.

If you know the pleastries of Italian and use them (start with hello, good bye and thank you), then the rest can be stumbled thru (ultimately, you have money to spend and that is what the merchants and hoteliers are there for.)
 
Old Mar 12th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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ira
 
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Hi B,

Itsa no problema. Justa spikka slow.

Learn a few polite phrases and ask people if they speak English. It will be just like in France, only a little more friendly.



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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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as my best friend would say "Point and Grunt"...it works for him.
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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Dear birthdaygirlstip, if I can make it around all of Italy with my terrible Italian believe me you can manage in Italy. Limited fluency..you will be way ahead of most visitors. Enjoy11
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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We often ask 'Do you speak english?'
We often get the response 'a little'.

Their 'a little' usually means:
'I have studied English.
I have this job because, thru my english studies, I can understand you and get you what you want to buy.'

Go and have fun.
 
Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
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You will not have a problem. Learn enough to be polite.

I think some of the most fun I have had interacting with locals during my travel has been with the people who speak no English. Maybe because I don't speak their language it gives us a common bond in our lack of ability to communicate with each other.

If you want a great opportunity to put my theory to the test, visit restaurants with communal seating. Very common in Italy. I have had so much fun laughing at my poor attempts at Italian with people who have offered less than perfect attempts at English.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Well I'd be concerned about this more than I would the possibility of bed bugs at your hotel.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 04:49 PM
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I always learn to say in the local language... "I'm sorry I don't speak French (Italian, Spanish)." And practice so you can say it at a normal speed, and be understood. Smile sheepishly.

Along with words like: please, thank you, excuse me, i'm sorry, good morning, good evening, how much?, where is?, and numbers.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:02 PM
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Buy a phrase book to take with you and spend some time with it before you go.

I like Langensheidt phrase books and dictionaries because they hold up better in my experience. They have a flexible plastic yellow cover and take abuse well.

The KEY to using a phrase book is to ask ONLY questions that can be answered "YES" or "No".
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:10 PM
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Yes to all the above advice. Also, you can't throw a cat without hitting an American college exchange student in Florence.

Don't worry about it. And isn't "limited fluency" an oxymoron?

Have a great trip. Or strip. Or whatever.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Ha! Now who goes around throwing cats that hit American students?!?

Too funny!

I think my poor kitty would frown on the idea of being thrown.....and he is a tough little bugger!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Meant to say "Not that I condone throwing cats."

While in Florence do try to see a few of the churches. Personally, I really love the frescoes in Santa Maria della Carmine and those in San Marco.

Again, enjoy your trip.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
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Don't worry. I speak nothing beyond the usual three of four words. We've traveled by car all over Italy, including Puglia, Calabria, and areas where there is far less English spoken that Florence -- the American capital of Italy! We've really never had a problem, though I am an expert at charades which seems to help from time to time.
 
Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 08:11 PM
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don't worry. My wife and I even managed to get married in Italy with me barly speaking a couple of words (I think I actually spoke Spanish with the folks there and it wokrd just fine). Everybody speaks English. DON't worry !
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