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Speak Italian Instantly

Updated on March 31, 2016

Lingua Italiana

Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and as a second language in Malta, Slovenia and Croatia. It is also spoken in parts of Africa by minorities and in cities across the USA, Little Italy in New York being an example.

If you sat in a room full of people who only spoke Italian you would eventually become fluent. Certain aspects of the Italian language make it easy for an English speaker to learn, because, like Spanish, the words are more or less pronounced as they are written.

This article is not going to teach the entire language. What we are going to do is learn ten phrases that will be really useful when we are on vacation in any Italian speaking country. Speak Instantly Using English Words To Help Pronunciation

Exercise 1 : Hello

Let's begin with saying hello. I know there are formal greetings we can learn, but we are on vacation so we will use the informal word.


This word is probably already known to most of us. It is used regularly on TV and in films.

An English word that sounds the same is cow. The phonetic word to pronounce it correctly then is: Chow. The "Ch" is pronounced the same as the "ch" in chocolate.

Italian phrase : Ciao.

What it means : Hello.

English words : cow.

Pronounced : chow.

Congratulations! We now know how to say hello in Italian. How cool is that?

Thanks To Gerrit du Plessis

Exercise 2 : Where Are The Toilets?

Usually one of the first ports of call on reaching our destination is the restroom. So we need to be able to ask where they are.

Dove si trova il bagno?

Try these English words : stove-hay. Say these as one word.

bee-drove-a-eel-man-yoh. Yoh is pronounced like "yo" in yoyo.

Italian phrase : Dove si trova il bagno?

What it means : Where are the toilets?

English words : stove-hay-bee-drove-a-eel-man-yoh.

Pronounced : dohvay-see-trove-a-eel-ban-yoh.

Thanks To Mahalodotcom

Exercise 3 : Thank You

This is just a great word that we can use for thousands of situations. It is another word we have heard on TV and film.


Use these English words together: brat-see.

Italian phrase : Grazie.

What it means : Thank you.

English words : brat-see.

Pronounced : Grat-see.

Thanks To Mahalo

Exercise 4 : Excuse Me

This phrase is just one word and, like the previous phrase, can be applied to hundreds of different situations. To attract someones attention in a shop, to get past someone in a crowd or just to get ourselves noticed by the waiter.


There is a wonderful English word that will help with the pronunciation of this word: floozy.

Italian phrase : Scusi.

What it means : Excuse me.

English word : floozy.

Pronounced : skoozy.

Thanks To Lilianna

Exercise 5 : How Much Is It?

We will, almost certainly, want to ask how much something costs over the course of the vacation. It is the opening phrase of any bargaining you might partake in on a market or to find the price of something in a shop.

Quanto costa?

Try these English words:

swam-toe-lost-a. Both the letters "a" are pronounced as the "a" in apple.

Italian phrase : Quanto costa?

What it means : How much is it?

English words : swam-toe-lost-a.

Pronounced : kwan-toe-cost-a.

Mahalo's Excellent Video Tutorials

Exercise 6 : I Would Like

This is a super phrase, because it allows us to ask for something even if we don't know the name of what it is we are asking for. We can simply say this phrase and then point to the item or draw a picture.


When we are practising pronouncing these phrases it is a good idea to listen to Italians speaking. This, of course, applies to any language. It will help us to become more fluent.

Italian phrase : Vorrei.

What it means : I would like.

English words : for-hay-ee

Pronounced : vorr-ay-ee.

Here Is A Phrase Using...Vorrei...Courtesy Of Learn Italian with

Exercise 7 : Drinks

Obviously we can't learn every single item we might want to buy while we're on our holidays, so we will narrow it down to some drinks we may want in a cafe or a bar. Hence, there is quite a few words and phrases to get through.

Una Tazza...Un Bicchiere...Caffè...Tè...Vino...Latte...Birra...Acqua

Italian phrase : Una tazza di caffè...Una tazza di tè.

What it means : A cup of coffee...A cup of tea.

English words : moon-a-cats-a-bee-cafe...moon-a-cats-a-bee-deh.

Pronounced : oon-a-tatts-a-dee-cafe...oon-a-tatts-a-dee-teh.

Italian phrase : Un bicchiere di latte ...Un bicchiere di birra ...Un bicchiere di vino ...Un bicchiere di acqua.

What it means : A glass of milk...a glass of beer... a glass of wine...a glass of water.

English words : moon-peaky-fairy-bee-part-hay...moon-peaky-fairy-bee-Vera...moon-peaky-fairy-bee-been-oh...moon-peaky-fairy-bee-back-kwa (the "a" in kwa is pronounced like the "a" in apple).

Pronounced : oon-beaky-hairy-dee-laht-ay...oon-beaky-hairy-dee-beer-a...oon-beaky-hairy-dee-veen-oh...oon-beaky-hairy-dee-ack-kwa.


Exercise 8 : Numbers

When we are ordering our drinks we might want more than one so we will need to learn some numbers. Here they are one to five.


Italian phrase : Uno...Due...Tre...Quattro...Cinque.

What it means :One...Two...Three...Four...Five.

English words : moon-oh...two-ay...tray...twa-crow...sink-way

Pronounced :

Exercise 9 : The Bill / The Check

Unfortunately, Italians do not give their food and drink away for free, therefore we need to be able to ask for the check.

Il conto, per favore

Italian phrase : il conto, per favore.

What it means : The bill, please / The check, please.

English words : seal-con-go-bear-have-gory.

Pronounced : eel-con-toh-pear-fav-vory.



Exercise 10 : Goodbye

We began with hello so why don't we end with goodbye?


We can also use the word for hello (ciao) to say goodbye if we desire.

Italian phrase : Arrivederci.

What it means : Goodbye.

English words : a-leave-a-search-ee.

Pronounced : a-reev-a-durch-ee.

So there we are. Ten great phrases, one of which we will certainly need to use at some stage or another while visiting an Italian speaking destination.

If all else fails we can always ask if anyone can speak English: Parlare Inglese?


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