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Old 02-29-2012, 10:19 AM
 
220 posts, read 509,578 times
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Hello all,

My trip is still a ways off (September 2012) but I have begun to learn basic Italian as I would like to be able to communicate with the locals when I get there.

So far, I have been focusing on the basics like please, thank you, can I have, how much, where is, etc, etc. I started to look at words associated with a meal....spoon, fork, napkin and such, but then I started to feel a little overwhelmed.

Does anyone have any definite words that I should know how to say in Italian, in order to communicate on a minimal/basic level?

Are there any words that I need to learn to recognize when they're spoken to me in Italian? For example, if I ask someone how much (Quanto?) in Italian, should I learn numbers in Italian so that I can understand their answer to me?

Sorry if these questions sound mindless, but I am winging this whole thing and wanted to know if I'm on the right track.

Thanks!
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:54 AM
 
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Traveled to Italy a couple of years ago, and also took some conversational Italian before we went. Used it very little since most younger Italians speak English very well. It did help us to know numbers when we were at the local farmers markets, and directions such as left, right came in handy. Taking the classes gave us a feel for the language and made the trip so much more
enjoyable.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:30 AM
 
Location: EPWV
11,087 posts, read 6,218,489 times
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Lived there in the mid-80's (USN). I knew a little Spanish so that was helpful when seeing the written word but when people talked fast, it was a bit harder to keep up.

Had a welcoming day that involved getting out in the public, how to use the train, making phone calls, a little bit of the monetary system [pre-Euros]. It was quite helpful. Tried to take a course but I was a shift-worker at the time, so it meant missing some classes where I eventually had to drop out. Anyways, I tried conversing at times with our landlord and family. They were very nice. Picked up a few things along the way. They're very demonstrative and alot can be picked up from just watching. You can always get one of those traveling language packages from a Barnes & Noble, even some Target stores have them I noticed one time. At the bookstores, they range in price from around $10.00 to well, the Rosetta Stone package is nice but very pricey. Generally, over $300.00 [Rosetta Stone]. Think I've seen some broken down into a certain number of lessons and there you might find something less than 300 hundred. We've had some younger kids that came up to us wanting to practice their English.

Really, the pocket guides are quite nice, oh... if you have an iPhone, check out iTunes store apps, type "italian" and you can find some freebies or very low cost - under $5.00 that are quite handy. Most of the language apps that I've checked allow you to either slow down or speed up the talking. Some even allow you to choose male or female voice. They have quizzes at the end of each lesson. I'm sure the Droid's do too but I'm only familiar with the iphone. Good luck. Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip to Italy.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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I lived there for 6 years and found the majority of people understood English to a large extent and truly want to communicate. That is not true of all European countries. I agree with the previous poster that numbers, directions and the monetary system are helpful things to know. Also, understanding food items will help you in ordering in restaurants. Each area of Italy has it's dialect that differ greatly. You won't have any problems using English. Have a great trip! Italy is a beautiful and friendly country and September is a great month to visit.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:04 PM
 
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Just speak Spanish except add a vowel at the end of every word and wave your hands around a lot, you'll be fine.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
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Tell them you're American and demand they speak English
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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Unless your ambition is to have serious conversation, it's most important to be able to read and understand signs. Menus, train schedules, etc. also. This requires a fairly limited vocabulary.

You will probably want to be able to say thank you, to ask for the bill (il conto per favore) and to order a beer or an espresso. Also to know the words for shower and single and double room, etc.

And watch out for getting on trains without a ticket, especially on the way to the airport. I saw a guy stuck for a few hundred dollars by a little Mussolini on the train. A beautiful country, with spectacular art, wonderful food, and very friendly and helpful people, with just a few unpleasant exceptions.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: New York
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I am a huge fan of the earworms language cd's. on the site you can get a sample for free. I have them for Spanish and German. They put all the important phrases to music and it makes learning them easier..... They are not expensive to buy either. I bought Rosetta stone for German and sent it back for a refund. It didn't work for me at all... Its a personal think and I just couldn't learn like that.....


Earworms - Learn a new language, quickly and easily with music ::
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MzSJP View Post
Hello all,



Are there any words that I need to learn to recognize when they're spoken to me in Italian? For example, if I ask someone how much (Quanto?) in Italian, should I learn numbers in Italian so that I can understand their answer to me?

Sorry if these questions sound mindless, but I am winging this whole thing and wanted to know if I'm on the right track.

Thanks!
Of course! What is the point of knowing how to ask how much if you do not know what the answer will be. If your in tourist areas or large cities a lot of people will speak English. And the younger they are the more likely they will speak English. You can search online for some used versions of Rosetta Stone. Just get the most basic version, that should cover it.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:54 PM
 
12,365 posts, read 18,459,289 times
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Speaking the local language in Europe is a courtesy, not a necessity. Most of the young people speak better English then you. But it's nice to know a few words just for cultural purposes.
Actually, strangely enough, I did have a few instances where I needed a phrase book in Italy in a few small towns, but that was unique among my dozens of European trips, and I tend to go off the beaten path, so I label those as one-offs.
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