Learn Italian and Describe Your Needs!

Italian town of Stresa on Lago Maggiore, Italy

In the last few weeks in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we have been practicing how to use the phrase “Ho bisogno di,” which means “I need…” in Italian. This phrase is very useful in some situations, but in others, it is necessary to use the word “voglio” instead to express the same meaning.

Special thanks to Facebook group members Grace, Sandro, Rita, and Andu for providing some excellent examples and for reminding me that the phrase “Mi serve…” also means “I need…” This last phrase is very often used in Italy, and I have just heard this phrase twice on the latest Detective Montalbano episode I watched.

It is amazing how easy it is to hear phrases in Italian during normal conversation once we know them! Try it yourself and see how often you can hear these common phrases in Italian movies, TV series, or RAI.

Read on below from this excerpt published on July 17, 2016, on the LearnTravelItalian.com blog to find out how to talk about what you need in Italian! Read the entire post for more on the subjunctive mode. Listen for the examples and try some from our group. Join our group if you like at Conversational Italian!

*********************************

How to Use the Phrase “Avere bisogno di…” in Italian

Before we go on to discuss more complex uses of the phrases in the table below, here are a few words about the very popular phrase “ho bisogno di…,” which means “I need…” Any student of Italian no doubt has come across this phrase many times in general conversation and has needed to use it themselves to express what they want.

While I was learning how to use the subjunctive mode properly, I took the opportunity to learn how to use “ho bisogno di” properly as well. After many question-and-answer sessions with native Italian speakers, here is what I’ve found out about the different uses of this phrase in English and Italian.

First, use of the phrase “ho bisogno di” is limited to describing a need one has for a person, a thing, something, or a physical need. Remember to conjugate the verb avere used in this phrase (“ho” is the io form of avere) if someone else besides you needs something, of course! Leave out the word “di,” which means “of” in this phrase if it is used at the end of the sentence.

The phrases “Mi serve…” and “Mi servono…” can also mean, “I need…” and are often used in the negative sense. (This verb conjugates similar to piacere – see below.)

If a person needs to do something, but it is also necessary that he does it—if he has to do it—then the verb dovere is used. See some examples in the table below:

avere bisogno di… to have need of…  
   
…a person Ho bisogno di… te.
   
…a thing/ something Ho bisogno di… una macchina nuova.
  Ho bisogno di… prendere una vacanza.
   
…a physical need Ho bisogno di… riposare.
   
Mi serve…

Mi servono….

I need… Mi serve 1 millione di euro.

Mi servono tante cose.

   
   
dovere for what you have to do

(and need to do)

Devo cucinare il pranzo ogni sera.

 

When we come to more complex sentences and now must express what the subject would like another person to do, the phrase “ho bisogno di” is not used. In other words, if I want someone to do something, I must use the verb voglio with the subjunctive, as in “Voglio che tu…”  This was an important point for me to learn, because in English I am constantly asking my children or family to do things by saying, “I need you to…”

For instance, take the sentence “I need you to take care of the cats when I am on vacation.” I am not sure if the phrase “I need you to…” is used commonly in other parts of the America, but it has become habitually used in the Northeast and Midwest. The Italian translation would be “Voglio che tu ti prenda cura dei gatti quando io sono in vacanza.” So to use the phrase “ho bisogno di,” we must really learn how to think in Italian!

Enjoy some more examples for how to use our phrases to express a need or want in Italian, and then create your own!

 

Ho bisogno di un grande abbraccio! I need a big hug!
Abbracci e baci sono due cose che ho bisogno! Hugs and kisses are two things that I need!
Non mi serve niente. I don’t need anything.
Non mi serve nient’altro. I don’t need anything else.
Mi serve di più caffè. I need more coffee.
Devo andare al mercato. I need to/have to go to the (outdoor) market.

Non abbiamo  bisogno di giorni migliori,

ma di persone che rendono migliori i nostri giorni!

We don’t need to have better days; instead, we need people who make our days better!

Italian Past Tense Verbs to Use EVERY Day!

Burano in Venice, Italy
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the third in a series that will originate in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. After our group has had a chance to use these phrases, I will post them on this blog for everyone to try.

Our third blog post in this series on “commonly used phrases” will help us talk more easily and will build on the phrase structure used at the conclusion of our first two blog posts.

“Mi ha…” meaning “He/she… to me.”
What other past tense verbs can we use in this way every day?

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, Just the Important Phrases, on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

 What he/she… (to) me

in Italian

As usual, let’s start with a recap of our previous blog posts:

The past tense for “I said,” a one-time event, uses the passato prossimo past tense form, which is “ho detto.” This Italian past tense verb also translates into the less commonly used English form “I have said.”  

Using this past tense verb, the phrase I use most often regarding what someone said to someone else is:

Mi ha detto… He said to me…/He told me
  She said to me…/She told me
  You (polite) said to me…/You told me

Memorize this first phrase, “mi ha detto,” then substitute a different past tense verb, as we did in our second blog post, with “mi ha chiesto.”  

The phrase I use most often regarding what someone asked of someone else is:

Mi ha chiesto… He asked (to) me…
  She asked (to) me…
  You (polite) asked (to) me…

For this third blog post, we will substitute even more Italian past tense verbs into the original phrase.

Soon all of these phrases will just roll off your tongue! See the tables below for how this works, and try to think of some phrases of your own!

Mi ha chiamato He/She/You (polite) called me
Mi ha telefonato He/She/You (polite) called me on the telephone
Mi ha spiegato He/She/You (polite) explained to me
Mi ha informato di He/She/You (polite) informed/updated/told me
Mi ha portato He/She/You (polite) took me
Mi ha invitato He/She/You (polite) invited me

 

Mi ha disturbato He/She/You/(polite) bothered me
Mi ha seccato He/She/You/(polite) annoyed me
Mi ha mentito He/She/You (polite) lied to me
Mi ha giurato He/She/You (polite) vowed to me
Mi ha promesso He/She/You (polite) promised me

 

Mi ha fatto contento(a)

(Mi ha fatto piacere.)

He/She/You(polite)/It made me happy

(I was pleased/happy.)

Mi ha fatto triste He/She/You (polite)/It made me sad
Mi ha fatto ridere He/She/You (polite)/It made me laugh
Mi ha fatto sorridere He/She/You (polite)/It made me smile

 

Finally, below are two important sentences to use when leaving someone’s company.

Mi ha fatto piacere vederti. It was nice to see you.
Mi ha fatto piacere sentirti. It was nice to hear from you.

 

Italian Terms of Endearment

Italian Terms of Endearment
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

According to one legend, St. Valentine’s Day started after the Italian saint of the same name left a note to his beloved. The note was written from prison just before he died, and it is not known if she ever received this note or even knew of his love. Such is the stuff of legends! But the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world today is truly an American invention.  

In our Conversational Italian! group on Facebook, we took this opportunity to discover the ways Italians tell their romantic love that they really care. I have copied over some tried and true phrases and pet names and even learned a few new ones myself! Special thanks to my Italian friend Atanasio in this group for keeping me current on this important topic!

 

How many more ways can you think of to say you care about your romantic love? Please reply. I’d love to hear! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, Just the Important Phrases, on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

Italian Terms of Endearment

 

Tried and true…

amore (mio) my love, or simply “love”  
dolcezza sweetie
gioia mia my joy
pucci sweetie (also refers to a person who is tender or affectionate*)
tesoro mio my treasure

 

References to cute animals and…

cricetino little hamster 
cucciolo puppy
gattina kitten
patatina little potato (Yes, apparently this is really a pet name!)

 

Some phrases to use every day to let the one you know you care…

Sei tutto per me. You are everything to me.
Tu sei il mio amore. You are my love.
Per sempre tua. Forever yours.

 

*Stai attento! (Be careful!) This word is also part of the phrase “Facciamo pucci pucci,” which means, “Let’s have sex.”

To revisit the important phrases Ti vogio bene and Ti amo, see my first blog post on this topic from February 2016: How to Say “I Love You”… in Italian!

Conversational Italian Author Profile

Conversational Italian pocket travel book with important Italian phrases

Author name: Kathryn Occhipinti, M.D. Genre: Adult Italian Language (for travel) Books: Conversational Italian for Travelers series: Textbook and…pocket book “Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions)…reference books, “Just the Verbs” and “Just the Grammar” Bio: Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in […]

via Who’s That Indie Author? Kathryn Occhipinti, M.D. — Book Club Mom

Everyday Italian Phrases: What I Asked (Part 2)

Burano in Venice, Italy
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the second in a series that will originate in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. After our group has had a chance to use these phrases, I will post them on this blog for everyone to try.

Our second “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily will focus on  What I asked…”
leading into “I asked (to) you, (to) her, (to) him…” and so on. See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, Just the Important Phrases, on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

What I Asked…

in Italian

Let’s review for a second before we go on to our topic for today. In our last blog post in this series, we learned the Italian past tense verb for “I said,” which is, “Ho detto.”

Let’s build on this! Besides saying or stating a fact, we often relay that we have asked a question of/to someone. And if we travel to Italy, we will certainly be asking many questions about all the wonderful places we visit!

In this second blog post in our series, we will use the same tables from our first blog post but substitute, “I asked,” which is, “ho chiesto,” for the passato prossimo form of the past tense. This Italian past tense verb also translates into the less commonly used English form “I have asked.”*  

Because the phrase “I asked” is frequently used in everyday conversation, we should commit the Italian verb “ho chiesto” to memory. We can then “build” on this simple, easy-to-remember verb to help us remember other, more complex phrases. Memorize one phrase and the others should be easy to remember as well. Soon all of these phrases will just roll off your tongue! See the following table for how this works.

Ho chiesto I asked
Ti ho chiesto I asked… (to) you 
Gli ho chiesto I asked… (to) him 
Le ho chiesto I asked… (to) her 

If you want to ask for something directly, think of the verb chiesto as meaning asked for,” because there is no need to use the Italian preposition per with this verb in this type of situation. An indirect or direct object (a/an or the) is used with the noun that follows, though.

If you want to add that you’ve already asked someone something, put the word “già,” which means “already,” between the two verbs we use for the passato prossimo past tense.

Notice that informazione is feminine and singular in Italian. It is used when you want only one answer to one question. Use the feminine plural informazioni if you’d like a more detailed explanation. In English, of course, the translation does not change.

Ho chiesto un’informazione. I asked for (some) information.
Ho chiesto il signor Rossi dov’è la piazza. I asked Mr. Rossi where the piazza is.
Ti ho già chiesto . I already asked you.
Gli ho chiesto. I asked him.
Le ho chiesto. I asked her.

Finally, I would say that the phrase I use most often regarding what someone asked of someone else, and the phrase that actually started this thread in my mind, is:

Mi ha chiesto… He asked (to) me…
  She asked (to) me…
  You (polite) asked (to) me…

Remember this last phrase, and I guarantee that you will use it every day!

*A quick note here: 

For conversational reasons, I’ve chosen the verb chiedere, with its irregular past participle, chiesto, to use in the past tense. But it should be noted that the verb domandare also means to ask/to inquire, and the noun domanda means question.

If you have a question to ask of someone, you might say, “Ho una domanda,” which means, “I have a question.”  

An investigator inquiring about something might say,

“Posso fare qualche domanda?” meaning, “May I ask some questions?” 

Or “L’ho fatto qualche domanda,” meaning, “I asked him some questions.”

(Notice how qualche is always followed by a singular noun.)

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!

Burano in Venice, Italy
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post will be the first in a series that will originate in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. After our group has had a chance to use these phrases, I will post them on this blog for everyone to try.

Our very first “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily will focus  on, “What I said…”
leading into “I said to you, to her, to him… etc. See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, “Just the Important Phrases,” on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

What I said…

in Italian

The past tense for “I said,” a one-time event, uses the passato prossimo past tense form, which is “ho detto.” This Italian past tense verb also translates into the less commonly used English form “I have said.”  

Because the phrase “I said” is frequently used in everyday conversation, we should commit the Italian verb “ho detto” to memory. We can then “build” on this simple, easy-to-remember verb to help us remember other more complex phrases. Memorize one phrase and the others should be easy to remember as well. Soon all of these phrases will just roll off your tongue! See the table below for how this works.

Ho detto I said
Ti ho detto I said… to you/I told you
Gli ho detto I said… to him/I told him
Le ho detto I said… to her/I told her

 To complete the sentences above, use “che if the next phrase has a different subject: This rule will be used again and again in Italian. Here are some sentences:

Ho detto,“si.” I said, “yes.”
Ho detto che il film era bello. I said… that the film was good.
Ti ho detto che il film era bello. I told you… that the film was good.
Gli ho detto che il film era bello. I told him… that the film was good.
Le ho detto che il film era bello. I told her… that the film was good.

Finally, I would say that the phrase I use most often regarding what someone said to someone else and the phrase that actually started this thread in my mind is:

Mi ha detto… He said to me…/He told me
  She said to me…/She told me
  You (polite) said to me…/You told me

Remember this last phrase and I guarantee you will use it every day!

Piacere: How Italians Say “I like it!”

Rome's via dei Fori Imperiali
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

“Piacere” is a very important verb for the Italian traveler to know because there are so many people, places, and things “to like” in Italy! We have been focusing on the verb piacere this December holiday season in our Conversational Italian! group on Facebook.

At first glance, it may seem difficult for English speakers to use the verb piacere, which literally means “to be pleasing to” when translated into English. But this verb is actually the way Italians express the idea that they like something. Once we tap into the Italian way of thinking and learn a few simple examples, it becomes easy to express how much we like things in Italian! Read below to see how this works.  

How many more ways can you think of to use the verb piacere? Please reply. I’d love to hear! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, “Just the Important Phrases,” on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

Use the Italian Verb Piacere to Say…

“I Like It!”

The irregular verb piacere literally means to like, as in “to be pleasing to.” Italians use this verb when they want to express the idea that they like something. In English, when we say we like something, we mention two things: what thing is being liked and by whom. So in English, we would say, I like the car and fulfill these two requirements with the subject pronoun “I” and the direct object “car.”

But in Italian, the indirect object is used instead of the direct object, to describe to whom the thing is liked or pleasing to. If we wanted to change up this same English phrase into the Italian way of thinking, we could say, “The car is pleasing to me.” You will hopefully find the mixed Italianized-English phrase “is pleasing to” to be very helpful to understand how piacere really works!

The tricky thing about this type of phrase in Italian is that the conjugation of piacere will have to agree with the number of things that are being liked.

So, if one thing is liked, or an infinitive verb follows, piace is used.

If many things are liked, piacciono is used.

Italians then put the indirect object pronoun (mi, ti, Le, le, gli, ci, vi, or gli) before the verb, at the beginning of the sentence, to denote to whom the thing is pleasing to.

 

Piace — to be pleasing to
Use these phrases if one thing is liked/before infinitive verbs

 

Mi piace il vestito. The dress is pleasing to me. I like the dress.
Ti piace il vestito. The dress is pleasing to you. (fam.) You like the dress.
Le piace il vestito.

Gli/le piace il vestito.

The dress is pleasing to you. (pol.)

The dress is pleasing to him/her.

You like the dress.

He/she likes the dress.

     
Ci piace il vestito. The dress is pleasing to us. We like the dress.
Vi piace il vestito. The dress is pleasing to you all. You all like the dress.
Gli piace il vestito. The dress is pleasing to them. They like the dress.

 

Piacciono — to be pleasing to
Use these phrases 
if more than one thing is liked

 

Mi piacciono i vestiti. The dresses are pleasing to me. I like the dresses.
Ti piacciono i vestiti. The dresses are pleasing to you. (fam.) You like the dresses.
Le piacciono i vestiti.

Gli/le piacciono i vestiti.

The dresses are pleasing to you. (pol.)

The dresses are pleasing to him/her.

You like the dresses.

He/she likes the dresses.

     
Ci piacciono i vestiti. The dresses are pleasing to us. We like the dresses.
Vi piacciono i vestiti. The dresses are pleasing to you all. You all like the dresses.
Gli piacciono i vestiti. The dresses are pleasing to them. They like the dresses.

Let’s Email in Italian! Part 2: Italian Salutations

Conversational Italian for Travelers Books, 2015

Here is some information about how to write an email that will help with our latest discussion in the Conversational Italian! Facebook group.

We are talking this week about how to conclude an email or letter. Read below and join the conversation on our Facebook group. I’d love to hear from you!

For more complete details, visit our sister blog, blog.learntravelitalian.com, from which this excerpt was taken. All material is courtesy of Stella Lucente, LLC, and www.learntravelitalian.com.

Italian Salutations for Emails, Texts, and Letters

After we’ve written our email, text, or formal letter, how should we sign off? As you can imagine, this is very different depending on how close the two correspondents are. For two friends, the typical spoken salutations, “Ciao” and “Ci vediamo,” are commonly used for emails and texts, as are the many idiomatic expressions such as “A presto” or “A dopo.”

For those who are close friends or family, one may send kisses as “baci” and sometimes hugs, “abbracci,” as we do in English. You can imagine that there are many variations on this theme, such as “un bacione” for “a big kiss.” “Un bacio” or “tanti baci” are other variations and mean “a kiss” and “many kisses.” There is one big difference between salutations in English and Italian, though: Italians normally do not sign off with the word “love,” as in “Love, Kathy.”

For business, the word “Saluti” is generally used in closing to mean “Regards.” One can also give “Un Saluto” or “Tanti Saluti.” “Cordalimente” means “Yours Truly.” “Cordali Saluti” or Distinti Saluti” are particularly polite, meaning “Kind Regards” and “Best Regards.” “Sinceramente” means “Sincerely” but is not as often used in closing an email or letter.

Commonly Used Familiar Italian Salutations

Ciao Bye
Ci vediamo Good-bye
(Until we see each other again.)
A presto! See you soon!
A dopo! See you later!
Baci Kisses
Un bacio A kiss
Un bacione A big kiss
Tanti baci Lots of kisses
Baci e Abbracci Kisses and hugs

Commonly Used Formal Italian Salutations

Saluti Regards
Un Saluto Regards
Cordialmente Yours truly
Cordali Saluti Kind regards
Distinti Saluti Best regards
Tanti Saluti Many regards
Sinceramente Sincerely

Let’s Email in Italian! Part 1: Italian Greetings

Venice: The Grand Canal

Here is some information about how to write an email that will help with our latest discussion in the Conversational Italian! Facebook group.

We have started to talk about how to start an email or letter. Read below and join the conversation on our Facebook group. I’d love to hear from you!

For more complete details, visit our sister blog, blog.learntravelitalian.com, from which this excerpt was taken. All material is courtesy of Stella Lucente, LLC, and www.learntravelitalian.com.

Italian Greetings for Family Emails, Texts, and Letters

Now that email has become an essential way to communicate, it is important to know how to address family, friends, and work colleagues in writing. In effect, that old-fashioned way of communicating—the letter—has been resurrected in electronic form! Here are some suggestions for greetings and salutations in Italian, depending on the formality of the situation.

For family and friends, most Italian emails will begin with “Cara” for females or “Caro” for males, meaning “Dear.” This greeting is, of course, followed by the first name of the person to whom the email is addressed. Because caro is an adjective, the ending can be modified to match the gender and number of the person it refers to, just as other adjectives are. So cara(e) is used before a female singular/plural person(s) and caro(i) before male singular/plural person(s). Carissimo(a,i,e) is a common variation and means “Dearest.” Many times, no greeting at all is used for close family and friends who communicate frequently.

A note about texting, which is even more informal than email, because texts are usually made only to friends: there is much more variation if a greeting is used, and there are many creative ways to greet someone by text in Italian. One of the most common text greetings is probably “Ciao” for “Hi” or “Bye.” There are many common variations, such as “Ciao bella” for a female, “Ciao bello” for a male, or simply “Bella” or “Bellezza” for a female, all meaning “Hello beautiful/handsome.” If texting in the day or evening, “Buon giorno” or “Buona sera” may be used as well, meaning, “Good morning/Good day” or “Good evening.”

A text is still not acceptable in most situations for a first or a formal communication, although email is now often the preferred way of establishing an initial contact in business.


You Will Need to Know…
Italian Greetings for  Formal Emails and Letters

Letters are still frequently used in Italy. Several common salutations are used when writing a formal email in Italian. These salutations have been established over many centuries of formal communication.

A formal Italian letter will commonly begin with the Italian word for “Gentle,” which is “Gentile,” followed by a title, such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss, and then a surname. For example: Gentile Signor* Verde or Gentilissima Signora Russo. The Italian word “Egregio,” which used to mean “Esquire,” is still commonly used in very formal business communications, but in these instances, it is translated as “Dear.” “Pregiatissimo” is the most formal type of greeting and is similar to the English phrase “Dear Sir.” This greeting is only rarely used in Italy today.

This all seems simple enough, although a typical formal Italian greeting is often abbreviated and can seem a bit off-putting unless one is fluent in the abbreviations as well. Our salutations above are often written as follows: Gentile Sig. Verde and Gen.ma Sig.na Russo. The table in the next section lists the most commonly used abbreviations.

Also, in Italian, even more than in English, if one holds a professional title, such as “doctor” or “lawyer,” this title is always used as the form of address when speaking and in writing. In fact, those who have attended an Italian university or have an important job title are usually addressed by other Italians as “Dottore” or “Dottoressa.” A medical doctor is addressed the same way but is known specifically as “un medico” (used for men and women).


You Will Need to Know…
Commonly Used Italian Abbreviations for Business Greetings

Avv. Avvocato Lawyer
Dott. Dottore Doctor (male or female)
Dott.ssa Dottoressa Female Doctor
Egr. Egregio Dear (Esquire)
  Ingegnere Engineer
Gent.mi Gentilissimi(e) Dear (plural) Very Kind
Gent.mo Gentilissimo(a) Dear (singular) Very Kind
Preg. Pregiatissimo Dear
Sig. Signor Mister (Mr.)
Sig.na Signorina Miss
Sig.ra Signora Misses (Mrs.)
Sig.ri Signori Mr. and Mrs./Messers
Spett. Spettabile Messers

*When signore is followed by someone’s first or last name, in writing and when addressing someone directly, the “e” from signore is dropped to form signor.

Italian Pocket Pal for Travelers

Conversational Italian pocket travel book with important Italian phrases

Grazie mille Fra Noi magazine for your review of Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) in the September 2016 edition of your magazine!

 

Conversational Italian pocket travel book with important Italian phrases

Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases pocket travel book

Pocket pal: Don’t speak Italian? Planning your dream vacation to Italy? Kathryn Occhipinti’s pocket travel book may be just what you’re looking for. The full title says it all. “Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions)” is accessible and humorous while offering a tried-and-true method for understanding and remembering important Italian phrases. Small and lightweight, it slips easily into a pocket or purse. The book covers pronunciation, basic vocabulary and communication, meetings and greetings, how to be polite, changing money, taking the train, asking for help, shopping, making friends, talking on the telephone, dealing with hotels, reading menus, ordering at restaurants and much more.  Available on Amazon.com

 

 

Use the Italian Verb “Può” to Ask for… Everything!

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy © Stella Lucente, LLC for www.learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

“Può” is a little Italian word that means a lot! We have been focusing on the verb può this August at the Osher Center for Lifelong Learning in Peoria, Illinois, where I was the moderator for a conversational Italian study group called “Italian for Fun and Travel.”

We can use the handy verb può, which means “could you?” to politely ask for whatever we need in Italy. With this trick, there is no need to conjugate! Read below to see how this works and for some examples.  

How many more ways can you think of to use the verb può? Please reply. I’d love to hear! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, “Just the Important Phrases,” on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

Use the Italian Verb Può to Ask for… Everything!

Most Italians are quite friendly and helpful to tourists, especially if a polite phrase is used to initiate the conversation, such as “Mi scusi…” or “Per favore…” Once you have someone’s attention, the word, “Può?” (“Could you?” from the verb potere), when followed by an infinitive verb,* will enable you to ask politely for whatever you need.

Some examples we learned in Chapters 5 and 6 of Conversational Italian for Travelers include the phrases, Mi può dire?” (“Could you tell me?”) and “Mi può portare?” (“Could you take me?”) “Puo chiamare…?” means “Could you call…?” a taxi, for instance, or a person. And, of course, a nice way to end the conversation would be to say, “Mille grazie!”

*Remember, our Italian infinitive verbs end in -are, -ere, -ire and translate as “to be, to do,” and so on.

Può parlare… Can you speak…
…più lentamente?

…più piano?**

…more slowly?
…più forte? …more loudly?
…in inglese? …in English?
   
Può chiamare…? Can you call?
   
Può fare… Can you make…
…una prenotazione? …a reservation?
   
Può controlloare… Can you check… (for a car)
…l’olio? …the oil?
…le gomme? …the tires?
…l’acqua? …the water?
Può cambiare la gomma? Can you change the tire?
Può fare il pieno?
Il pieno, per favore!
Can you fill it up?
Fill it up, please!

**The word piano also means softly in Italian.

Mi può dire… Can you tell me…
…dov’é …where is
…la metro?*** …the subway?
…la stazione dei treni? …the train station?
…la fermata dell’autobus? …the bus stop?
…il duomo? …the cathedral?
…la piazza? …the town square?
…il museo? …the museum?
…la banca? ….the bank?
   
Mi può portare… Can you take me…
…in via Verde 23? …to 23 Green Street?
   
Mi può aiutare con… Can you help me with…
…le valigie? …the suitcases?
   

***The word metro is an abbreviation from the feminine metropolitana. 

For Italians: How Much Time Will It Take?

The Grand Canal and the Piazza San Marco
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Last week on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we talked about how to use the phrase ci vuole,” which means, “it takes time.”

This is a complicated Italian phrase for an English speaker to learn how to use, because in this case, volere is conjugated like the verb piacere. But of course, it is a very important phrase to know if one truly wants to converse in Italian, because we commonly talk about how much time something takes us to do!

Below is an excerpt from my blog for advanced students of Italian that contains materials Italian teachers may want to use as well. I am hoping to soon compile these blog posts into an Italian course, but for now, stay tuned to blog.learntravelitalian.com for an essay each month on important topics we all need to learn to become more fluent in Italian.

If you want to read more about beginning and intermediate Italian, of course, my textbook is available for delivery from Amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com. The rights to purchase the book in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be purchased at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

How to Conjugate Volere for Phrases Describing Time

To describe the general passage of time that it takes to do something, an English speaker will often say, “It takes time.” Here is the method that must be followed to translate this phrase into Italian: in Italian, the impersonal adverb “ci” is always used to begin the phrase, and the verb “volere” is then conjugated to reflect the amount of time taken, in either the third person singular or plural. This is the same way we conjugate the verb piacere, only with piacere, the reference is to what we like, rather than to how much time something takes.

So when saying, “It takes time,” the word “time” is considered one segment of time, and the third person singular form of volere, which is “vuole,” is used.

If the time “it” takes is one minute, one hour, one month, or one year—that is, if the reference is to one time segment, again, use “vuole.”

If the time “it” takes is more than one of each time segment (plural), the third person plural form of volere, which is “vogliono,” is used.

Ci vuole tempo. It takes time.
     
Ci vuole un minuto. Ci vogliono due minuti. It takes one minute/two minutes.
Ci vuole un’ora. Ci vogliono due ore. It takes one hour/two hours.
Ci vuole un giorno. Ci vogliono due giorni. It takes one day/two days.
Ci vuole un mese. Ci vogliono due mesi. It takes one month/two months.
Ci vuole un anno. Ci vogliono due anni. It takes one year/two years.

Book Review: 5 Reasons ‘Conversational Italian For Travelers’ is Your Best Bet

Grazie mille for this review of my pocket travel book out today!

Timeless Italy

Although I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of traveling through Italy many times, I firmly believe that the Italian language will be an eternal challenge to adequately grasp and understand. Everyone learns differently, but for me I need total immersion and that means living among the Italians. However, with each new experience conversing with them while I’m in Italy, I learn a little more. They are so encouraging with my efforts to communicate and they make me feel good for putting my best efforts into it. It is such a rewarding experience to say the right words in Italian and to join in the conversation while making good sense.

I always make it a rule to travel extremely light. That means just one small pull-bag and a knapsack. As most of us, I had to learn the hard way. So when Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti, author of “Conversational Italian for Travelers ~…

View original post 379 more words

How to say “I love you”… in Italian!

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.comThere are many phrases in Italian for those relationships that are friendship or more… and, of course, many ways to say to that special someone, “I love you,” in Italian! Here are a few phrases from Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and the Just the Important Phrases travel pocket book on Amazon.com to help you out!

*Featured photo from thereadables.tumblr.com

**************************************

All About Italian Love

l’amicizia friendship
l’amico the friend (male)
gli amici the friends (male group or male + female group)
l’amica the friend
le amiche the girlfriends

 

Tu sei… You are…
il mio amico del cuore.
la mia amica del cuore.
my close friend.
(Italians call many their close friends!)
il mio migliore amico.
la mia migliore amica.
my best friend. 
(There is only one best friend!)

 

Mi vuoi bene?  Do you love me/care for me?
(for family and friends, and also your true love)
Ti voglio bene.  I love you/care for you/wish you well.

 

amare to love in a romantic way
l’amore romantic love
innamorato(a)  in love
Mi ami? Do you love me?
Ti amo!  I love you!

 

 

 

Conversational Italian for Travelers

Conversational Italian for Travelers
Just the Important Phrases

(with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions)


Don’t you just love a small book with a long title?

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogMy name is Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, and I am the author of the book we will be featuring on this blog. I am also the moderator of the Conversational Italian! Facebook group.

Join us each week as we discuss how to use the phrases that will allow YOU to get around Italy and feel comfortable there to really enjoy your dream vacation. My pocket book of Italian is easy to take along on your trip and has questions you will want to ask and the answers you will hear—and in the back, there’s a guide to the Italian dishes found on restaurant menus. It is all presented in a friendly, easy-to-read way, with lots of real-life examples that are not found in textbooks.

Let’s have fun together conversing about Italian language and culture as we learn Italian! Go to the sidebar and check out the Italian proverbs and Italian phrases we have been discussing on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group.

Traditional Sicilian Easter Cheesecake

Italian Easter Cheesecake from Ragusa, Sicily
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Easter is a very special time for celebration in Italy, as most Italians are Catholics or Christians.

The Easter season begins with Carnevale, which technically starts in January the day after Epifania, followed by Ash Wednesday (Mercoledi delle Cenere) and Lent (la Qauresima).

The week before Easter is called Holy Week in the Catholic Church. During this week, processions are held in the streets, often re-enacting the story of Jesus Christ, and special Masses are held.  This culminates in Good Friday, or Venerdì Santo.  The national holiday is officially Easter Sunday or Pasqua, followed by Easter Monday, or Pasquetta.

The week before Easter, Italians will say their “good byes” when leaving a group with the phrase, “Buona Pasqua!”

The Italian Easter Sunday is a day for the family to gather and attend church, followed by a special meal that is rich in the eggs and dairy that families in the past centuries were obligated to “give up” during the Lenten period.

The method for making traditional Sicilian Easter cheesecake given here is made in my family hometown of Ragusa, Sicily, and was passed on from my grandmother to my mother here in America. It is a very rich dessert and is still a family favorite on Easter.

The recipe was originally posted on March 21, 2016, on the Learn Italian! blog for Stella Lucente, LLC, and www.learntravelitalian.com. Below is an excerpt.

I’d love to hear from you after your family has tried this recipe!  

 

Easter Cheesecake Recipe:
Traditional Sicilian Sweet Farro Wheat Pie

Italian Easter traditions are unique to each region of the country and have been lovingly handed down within families through the generations. Ricotta cheesecake, a version of which was first served by the Romans centuries ago, has come to play a part in the Easter celebration in Sicily as well.

The recipe given below is for a Sicilian Easter cheesecake—actually a “ricotta pie,” made with a sweet Italian pie crust and sweet ricotta and farro wheat filling.  It has been passed down through the years within my father’s family from the town of Ragusa in Sicily. If you would like to see how the lattice pie crust top is assembled, visit the Stella Lucente Italian Pinterest site.

Farro wheat is one of the oldest forms of natural wheat grown in southern Italy and has been enjoyed by Italians for centuries. This whole-wheat grain is added to the ricotta filling as a symbol of renewal, along with dried fruit left over from winter stores and traditional Sicilian flavorings, in order to create a rich texture and a perfectly balanced sweet citrus and cinnamon flavor. Try it this Easter for a taste of Italian tradition! —Kathryn Occhipinti

Click on the link here for the recipe: Traditional Sicilian Sweet Farro Wheat Pie    Buon apetito!

 

One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine

One Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine

The perfect chicken dinner for those trapped indoors in the snowstorm that’s hit the country this weekend, or anytime! This is one of my family’s favorite suppers, and it is oh-so-easy to make.

The method for making Italian chicken in Marsala wine was originally posted on February 26, 2017, on the Learn Italian! blog for Stella Lucente, LLC, and www.learntravelitalian.com. Below is an excerpt.

I’d love to hear from you after your family has tried this recipe!  

One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine

The recipe title, “One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine” sounds rich… and it is! But it is also so easy to make! I am told that for many years in Italy, only relatively wealthy families had ovens (in the day of my great grandparents). As a result, many wonderful Italian meals were developed that could be made entirely on the stove top. This actually fits perfectly with the lifestyle we live today.

In this chicken in Marsala wine recipe, a whole cut chicken is cooked in one large skillet along with the wine and few other ingredients until a silky gravy forms. This hearty and fulfilling dish can be made during the week or served when friends are over on the weekend. Hearty, crusty Italian bread makes a perfect accompaniment. Add a salad or vegetable side dish (contorno) if you like.

So get out the largest skillet you have, and try our chicken in Marsala wine dish for your family tonight. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! —Kathryn Occhipinti

Click on the Learn Italian! link for the recipe!

Buona Festa della Donna 2017

Today’s Italian saying is about a truly Italian holiday, the Festa della Donna, which was celebrated on March 8 this year. It is a simple holiday started by Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei after World War II (dopoguerra)during which men give the mimosa flower to all the women in their lives as a show of appreciation and love.

The saying below is a tribute to Sicilian women that was written by my favorite, and world-renowned Sicilian author, Andrea Camilleri. His mystery series has been made into the hugely successful BBC television series Inspector Montalbano, segments of which I watch almost every day to keep up on my “local” Italian.

Buona Festa della Donna!

Il 8 di Marzo

Festa della Donna 2017
Buona Festa della Donna! A tribute to Sicilian women from renown Sicilian author Andrea Camilleri.

Featured image photo by Dénes Emőke – London, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15200409