Italian Pronunciation Guide: How To Get Those Key Phrases Right

Have you ever wanted to take a holiday to Italy, but you’re completely daunted by the language barrier? Well fear not, because we have the answer! Or every answer, we should say. In today’s post, we’ll be going through the basic conversational phrases that you’ll require when in Italy, as well as a thorough breakdown on how to pronounce them. We’ll detail on greetings, pleasantries, questions, days of the week, how to order food and handle emergency situations, to ensure that you’re fully covered no matter what scenario you find yourself in. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Girl reading a map and exploring Italy

Greetings

  • Buongiorno (bwohn-johr-noh) – Hello/Good morning
  • Buon pomeriggio (bwon po-meh-reej-joh) – Good afternoon
  • Buonosera (bwoh-nah-seh-rah) – Good evening
  • Arrivederci (ahr-ree-veh-dehr-chee) – Goodbye (formal)
  • Ciao (chee-ah-oh) – Hello/Goodbye (informal)
  • Salve (sahl-veh) – Hello/Goodbye (informal)
  • Buonanotte (bwoh-nah-noht-teh) – Goodnight (informal)

General Phrases & Pleasantries

  • Sì (see) - Yes
  • No (noh) - No
  • Per favore (pehr fah-voh-reh) - Please
  • Grazie (grah-tsee-eh) – Thank you
  • Prego (preh-goh) – You’re welcome
  • Scusa (skooh-zah) – I’m sorry/Excuse me

Questions

  • Parla inglese? (pahr-lah een-gleh-zeh) – Do you speak English?
  • Cosa? (koh-sah) – What?
  • Quando? (kwahn-doh) – When?
  • Chi? (kee) – Who?
  • Dove? (doh-veh) – Where?
  • Perché? (pehr-keh) – Why?
  • Come? (koh-meh) – How?
  • Quanto? (kwanh-toh) – How much?

And of course, the most important question… Dove si mangia il miglior gelato? (doh-veh see mahn-jah eel meel-yohr geh-lah-toh). And yes, it means "Where can I get the best ice-cream?". Priorities, am I right?

Days

  • domenica (doh-meh-nee-kah) – Monday
  • lunedì (looh-neh-dee) – Tuesday
  • martedì (mahr-teh-dee) – Wednesday
  • mercoledì (mehr-koh-leh-dee) – Thursday
  • giovedì (joh-veh-dee) – Friday
  • venerdì (veh-nehr-dee) – Saturday
  • sabato (sah-bah-toh) – Sunday
  • Leri (yeh-ree) – Yesterday
  • Oggi (ohj-jee) – Today
  • Domani (doh-mah-nee) – Tomorrow

Ordering Food and Drink

  •  _________, per favore (________, pehr fah-voh-reh) – _________, please
  • Ci fa il conto, per favore? (chee fah eel kohn-toh pehr fah-voh-reh) – Will you bring us the bill please?

Emergency Scenarios

  • Aiuto! (ah-yooh-toh) – Help!
  • Chiamate la polizia! (kee-ah-mah-teh lah poh-lee-tsee-ah) – Call the police!
  • Chiamate un’ambulanza! (kee-ah-mah-teh ooh-nahm-booh-lahn-tsah) – Call an ambulance!
  • Ho bisogno di un medico (oh bee-zoh-nyoh dee oohn meh-dee-koh) – I need a doctor
  • Dov’è l’ospedale? (doh-veh lohs-peh-dah-leh) – Where is the hospital?

We’re hoping that you won’t need the latter portion of phrases on your trip, but we think we’ve covered all bases when it comes to basic conversational Italian. Try out the guide and be sure to let us know how you get on with it! We’d also like to credit dummies.com for their collection of easy pronunciations.

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