Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! What I Said…

Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases
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!

*{For those who like grammar, this passato prossimo verb is derived from:
 avere (to have) + the past participle of the action verb dire (to say).}

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

Italian Pocket Pal for Travelers

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important 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!

Available on   Amazon.com  and www.LearnTravelItalian.com 

….with the redesigned cover shown below for 2019!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

 

 

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 controllare… 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’è …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. 

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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, Conversational Italian for Travelers 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.

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  Amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Reading Italian Menus: Il Secondo (cont’d)

Roman restaurant
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

As I mentioned in the last blog post on this topic, when I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.

Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria asked me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!

Along these lines, members of the Conversational Italian! Facebook group have been discussing their favorite main course dishes and, of course, these include fish dishes. The Italians know many wonderful ways to prepare fish—as you would expect, because they are surrounded by the sea and fresh fish are in abundance. They also import fish from their Scandinavian neighbors.

Fish is also important as an appetizer in Italy. One of my favorites is called “fritto misto,” fresh fish and shellfish fried in a light batter and presented beautifully on a large platter for all to share.

I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

Read the list below of common fish and shellfish that are served as a delicious main course or appetizer in Italy, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers. See if this list reminds you of one of your favorite Italian dishes!

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

Fish and Shellfish in Italian

 

la sogliola filet of sole
la trota trout
il merluzzo cod
il baccalà cod (dried)
 il pesce spada swordfish
il branzino sea bass
il tonno tuna
il salmone salmon
i calamari squid
la seppia cuttlefish (like squid)
i gamberi shrimp
gli scampi large, shrimp-like crustacean from the
Mediterranean Sea
le capesante scallops
l’aragosta lobster
le cozze mussels 
le vongole clams
le ostriche oysters
le acciughe anchovies
le sardine sardines
l’anguilla eel
i granchi clams
le lumache snails
il polpo octopus
l’aringa affumicata smoked herring

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

The Italian Subjunctive Mode Part 2: Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Book Display

This blog about the Italian subjunctive mode, or il congiuntivo, is the second in a series on this topic that I’ve created for advanced students and teachers of Italian. Each blog post will focus on real-life situations and give examples of when the Italian subjunctive mode should be used. Below is an excerpt from the original post.

Visit the Learn Italian! blog post from June 5, 2016, to read the entire article and get started with learning how to express yourself more naturally and fluently in Italian!

Italian Subjunctive Mode:  Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Verbs in Italian can have a subjunctive mode that is used to express doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

The subjunctive mode is said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mode, and these initial phrases will be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense). These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mode in the phrase to follow.

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

Points to remember about the subjunctive mode:

 In Italian, the introductory phrases usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

Note that the simple present or past tenses can also be used after the introductory phrases listed below, rather than the subjunctive mode, if you are speaking about a fact or something you believe to be true. This use will make perfect sense to the Italian listener, even when the subjective mode is otherwise commonly used.

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

In each blog post in the “Speak Italian” series about the subjunctive mode (“il congiuntivo”), phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Then we will review the Italian conjugation for the subjunctive mode in the present and past tenses. Finally, examples of common phrases used in daily life with the subjunctive mode will be presented. Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian, and try out the subjunctive mode in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy the second blog post in this series: Italian Subjunctive Mode (Part 2): Speak Italian!
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Reading Italian Menus: Il Secondo

Roman restaurant
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

When I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.

Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria would ask me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!

Along these lines, last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “What is your favorite Italian dish for Il Secondo, or the second course?” I posted about one of my favorite dishes my mother would make when I was growing up as a child, called braciole, and the family tomato sauce recipe she would cook this rolled-up meat in.

I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

Read the list below of cooking methods and types of meats found on menus in Italian restaurants, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers and see if it reminds you of your favorite Italian dish!

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

Cooking Methods in Italian

fritto fried
bollito boiled
arrostito roasted
brasato/stufato braised/stewed
affumicato smoked
farcito(a)/ripieno(a) stuffed
al forno baked (lit. from the oven)
alla brace broiled
alla griglia/ai ferri grilled
alla cacciatora stewed in a pot (as a hunter would make)

 

Meat Dishes in Italian

 

la cotoletta cutlet (meat without bone)
la scaloppina very thin cutlet
la costoletta chop/rib (bone in meat)
l’arrosto the roast (to be sliced)
la bistecca* steak*
bistecca alla fiorentina steak florentine style
al sangue rare meat
ben cotto well-done meat
cotto a puntino cooked just right
il sugo di carne gravy
le polpette meatballs
il vitello veal
il pollo chicken
il petto di pollo chicken breast fillet
il tacchino turkey
l’anatra duck
la quaglia quail
il fagiano pheasant
il coniglio rabbit
il maiale pork
la pancetta bacon
il guanciale bacon from pig cheeks
l’agnello lamb
l’abbacchio young lamb
la capra/il capretto goat/kid
il fegato liver

*When ordering a steak in Italy (wonderful grilled steaks, called bistecca alla fiorentina, can be found in Tuscany, for example), it is not really possible to order how the steak should be cooked. Instead, it is usually left for the chef to decide, based on the cut of meat and the style of the dish.

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com