Parla italiano?

Kathryn for
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel

For the last week on our Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we have been discussing how to answer the question, “Parla italiano?” “Do you speak Italian?” Of course, this will be an important phrase to know how to answer when in Italy! Have an answer handy that works for you. Even more importantly, learn the phrases listed below just in case you have difficulty following the Italian spoken to you once you start up your Italian conversation!

Here is a summary of this topic, adapted from the “Important Phrases” section of Chapter 2 of our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, now available on and www.Learn Travel


Do You Speak Italian?

If you are asked:
Parla italiano?                     (Do) you (polite) speak Italian?

You may reply:

Si, un po’. Yes, a little.
Si, molto bene. Yes, very well.
No, mi dispiace!  No, I am sorry!
 Parla inglese? (Do) you (polite) speak English?


An Italian may say:
No, parlo soltanto italiano.      No, (I) only speak Italian.

You may want to ask:
Dov’è un interprete?                 Where is an interpreter?


If you are having difficulty understanding fluent Italian, you may want to say:

Che cosa? What?
Non capisco. (I) don’t understand.
Non capisco che cosa ha detto. (I) didn’t understand what you (polite) said.
Non ho sentito. (I) didn’t hear (you).
Lei parla troppo veloce (per me)! You (polite) speak too fast (for me)!


To ask for help you could try:

Per favore, può… Please, could you (polite)…
…parlare più lentamente …speak more slowly?
…parlare più piano?  …speak more slowly?
…parlare più forte? …speak more loudly?
…parlare in inglese? …speak in English?
Non parlare troppo veloce. Don’t speak too quickly.
Può ripetere? Could you (polite) repeat (that)?


Come si dice…?  How (do) you (polite) say…?
(literally: How does one say?)
Come si dice in italiano? How (do) you (polite) say (it) in Italian?
Cosa significa?  What does (it) mean?
Come si chiama in italiano? What is it called in Italian?


Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel


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