Planning a holiday to Italy? Then why not get into the spirit of traveling and be sure to fully embrace the culture, lifestyle and language of that country? Don’t worry, you won’t have to become fluent in Italian to visit Italy – in fact, you’ll find that in the major towns and cities, almost everyone speaks very good English. Of course it’s certainly very easy to travel to new countries without learning even one local phrase, but where’s the fun in that?! Any seasoned traveller will tell you that even a tiny bit of knowledge of the local language will endear you to the natives and make your experience a much richer one. Just be sure to make some time to familiarise yourself with some basic Italian words, and you’ll be set for a great trip!
There are many online resources available to you. You don’t have to enroll on a full-on, intensive language-learning course – all you need is a list of some useful, essential and basic Italian words and phrases. Local people will be so much more receptive and eager to help you if they see that you’ve made the effort to learn even the tiniest selection of words in their language. You’d be surprised at the difference it can make to be able to say even simple things like hello, goodbye, excuse me, please and thank you in Italian.
Why not start with a phrase that I have learned in the language of every country I’ve been to – which in this case is Italy.
Mi dispiace, non parlo italiano.
The meaning of which is “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian”. Trust me, that’s a very useful thing to know how to say! In a lot of situations, you’ll find that once you say it, locals will smile and switch to English – and even if they don’t they’ll be appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the trouble to learn how to explain your difficulty in their native tongue. They’ll slow down for you, or resort to a half-Italian, half-English dialogue complete with mime, which is always an amusing experience. I always say that I haven’t truly experienced a new country until I’ve embarrassed myself whilst trying to mime my desire for coffee or the fact that I’m lost. Anyway, the fact is that a knowledge of basic Italian words is always going to be a plus in any interactions with local people – so start by explaining that you don’t really speak the language, and then build up a mental reserve of as many useful words as you can!
Here are some basic Italian words to get you started:
Ciao – Hello/bye
Dove – Where
Per favore – Please
Grazie – Thank you
Si – Yes
No – No
Va bene – OK
Scusi – Sorry
Permesso – Excuse me (to get past someone)
Non capisco – I don’t understand
Para inglese? – Do you speak English?
Practice them with someone else who speaks Italian, or use a language learning website or CD to hear how the words are pronounced. It’s really simple, and it won’t take long at all to get the hang of it. So give it a go, and impress those Italian’s!
The author of this article Richard A Doyle is a keen language enthusiast and writer who has been studying Italian for the last two years. If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about Italian language courses visit http://hubpages.com/@richuk (URL Updated) and discover some more Basic Italian Words.