Italian 101

Impress your friends with some new Italian vocab! The Italians will appreciate your genuine efforts and embrace of their culture. And many may even provide helpful coaching to fine-tune your tongue!

Don’t know a lick of Italian?
Non è un problema. We don’t either, but we’re learning. As long as you have an understanding of local values and etiquette, you’ll be fine. 💁‍♂️

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Conversational PhrasesKey VocabularyPronunciation

 

Conversational Phrases

Greetings

  • Hi, hey: Ciao

  • Hello (formal): Salve

  • Good morning: buongiorno (not “bonjour”—that’s French for hello!)

  • Good day/afternoon: buona griornata, buon pomeriggio

  • Good evening (arrival): buonasera (or “sera” in casual passing)

  • Goodbye: ciao, ciao ciao, arrivederci (inf.); arrivederla (for.)

  • See you later: a dopo

  • Good night: buona notte

Questions

  • Where is/Where are…: Dov'è…/Dove sono…

  • Is there / Are there: C'è… / Ci sono…

  • How much [does this/do these] cost: Quanto questo / Quanto costano?

  • I don’t speak Italian well. Do you speak English? Non parlo bene l'italiano. Parla inglese?

  • What does … mean? Cosa significa …?

  • What is … in Italian? Che cos'è … in italiano?

  • How long is the wait? Quanto dura l'attesa?

  • May I have…: Posso avere…

  • Check, please?: Il conto, per favor?

  • Would you take a photo of us? Puoi fare una foto di noi?

Responses

  • yes:

  • ok: ok

  • certo: of course

  • no: no

  • maybe: forse

Courtesy

  • Please: Per favore

  • Thank you: Grazie

  • Thank you very much: Mil grazie / Grazie mille

  • You’re welcome: Prego

  • Nice to meet you: Piacere conoscerti

  • Excuse me: Scusami

  • Sorry: Mi dispiace

Key Vocabulary

The City

  • ATM: l'ATM (le ah teh eme)

  • bank: la banca

  • beach: la spiaggia

  • building: l'edificio

  • bus: l'autobus

  • castle: il castello

  • church: la chiesa

  • city: la città

  • community: la comunità

  • car: l'auto, la macchina

  • downtown: il centro

  • highway/freeway: l'autostrada

  • intersection: l'intersezione

  • motorcycle: la moto, la motocicletta

  • museum: il museo

  • park: il parco

  • plaza: la piazza

  • person/people: la persona/le persone

  • shop/store: il negozio

  • station: la stazione

  • stop sign: il segnale di stop

  • street: la via, la strada

  • traffic signal: il semaforo

  • train: il treno

  • truck: il camion

  • village: il villaggio

Food & Bev

  • beer: la birra

  • bottle: la bottiglia

  • breakfast: prima colazione

  • check: il conto

  • chef: il cuoco

  • coffee: il caffè

  • dessert: i docli

  • dinner: la cena

  • food: il cibo

  • fork: la forchetta

  • glass (drinking): il bicchiere

  • ice: il ghiaccio

  • knife: il coltello

  • lunch: il pranzo

  • meal: il pasto

  • meat: la carne

  • napkin: il tovagliolo

  • plate: il piatto

  • salad: l'insalata

  • server: la cameriera, il cameriere

  • spoon: il cucchiaio

  • tea: il tè

  • vegetables: le verdure

  • water: l'acqua

  • wine: il vino

Restaurant Types

  • il ristorante: fine family dining

  • la trattoria: casual Italian dining

  • l’osteria: casual dining with a regional specialty

  • la tavola calda: walk-up-and-order, cafeteria, or diner style

  • il bar: coffee house (often with liquor, wine, pastries, paninis)

  • l’enoteca: wine lounge

  • la taverna: pub with simple fare

The Home

  • bathroom: il bagno

  • bathtub: la vasca

  • bed: il letto

  • bedroom: la camera da letto

  • chair: la sedia

  • closet/cabinet: l'armadio

  • couch/sofa: il divano

  • dining room: la sala da pranzo

  • door: la porta

  • entry: l'entrata

  • house/home: la casa

  • kitchen: la cucina

  • lamp: la lampada

  • light: la luce

  • living room: il soggiorno

  • mirror: lo specchio

  • room: la stanza, la camera

  • shower: la doccia

  • sink: il lavandino

  • soap: il sapone

  • table: la tavola

  • toilet: la toilette

  • window: la finestra

Pronunciation

Here are some general pronunication rules that are quite different from typical English pronunciations.

ITALIAN LETTER ITALIAN PRONUNCIATION ENGLISH EXAMPLE ITALIAN EXAMPLE
a "ah" (ä) father la carne
c usually "kuh"
cake
il caffè
or "che" if the following letter is e or i chess ciao, la cena
c + h "kuh" (see h for other exceptions) kitchen l'orchestra
e "eh" elephant prego
g usually "guh" (like a hard English g) gun grazie
or "juh" when followed by e or i (like a soft English g)
general il gelato, il formaggio
g + h "guh" (like a hard English g) gate gli spaghetti
h never pronounced directly
honest (silent h)
ho
"kuh" if between c and e / i
chess l'orchestra, le chiese
"juh" if between g and e / i (like a hard English g) general il ghetto, i colleghi
i "ee" (ē) zebra sì
o "oh" (ō) open l'espresso
q "kw" (like English, q is always followed by u) quarterback il quaderno
r "rr" (comparable to a tongue-rolled "rr" in Spanish, but not as strongly emphasized) perro (Spanish) rustico
u "oo" (ü) Uber l'influenza
z "tzh" zen or cats la pizza
 

And now, you’re all set. 🎓
Go immerse yourself in the beautiful Italian culture and get to know some extraordinary locals!

 

Insider Tips:
Google is your friend. Use
Google Translate or get the app from your app store.
And if you’d like to learn to speak and read Italian, download the fun
Duolingo app.

Dovrei. Vorrei. Potrei. Fatto.