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Easy words to get you through a greeting


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Ciao -pronounced chow meaning hello and goodbye

Come stai? pronounced kom e sty meaning how are you

mi chiamo e donna pronounced me key a more - meaning my name is donna

Piacere - pee a chair e meaning - pleasure

If all lese fails just give a big smile say ciao and give a hug! You are set for someone to help you

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Just bare in mind that italian has got formalities... referring to verbs these formalities present themselves in the form of a third person singular which is almost mandatory when you speak to an unknown person such as a bartender, your mother-in-law or an employee that is giving you a service (just like spanish language has its "Usted" or german has its "Sie")

what you have written is all in the second person singular... which is reserved for friends...

one more tip... if you pronounce them using the "english similarities" you just proposed (e.g. ciao = chow) no real italian will understand a single word...

If that is your idea of italian greetings I suggest you just go for the smile...  :laugh:

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I'll also try to write some greetings for informal and formal/polite situations. If I have made a mistake, please correct me.


Ciao - Hi (informal)

Buongiorno / Salve - Good morning/afternoon / Hello (polite)

Buonasera - Good evening (polite)


Come va? - How's it going? (informal)

Come stai? - How are you? (informal) 

Come sta? - How are you? (polite)  lit. How is he/she?


Bene, grazie. - Fine, thanks.

Non c'è male. - Not bad.     

Tutto bene. - All is well.     

If your interlocutor asked you first and you responded with the above, then add "E tu? - And you? (inf.)" or "E Lei? - And you?(formal.) after the response. 


Ciao - Bye (informal)

Ci vediamo - (informal)

A presto - See you soon. (informal/formal)

Arrivederci - Goodbye (informal?) lit. Until we see each other again. (A-rri-veder-ci)

ArrivederLa - Goodbye (formal)

Some other useful phrases:

Si - Yes.

No - No. (They are not pronounced the same.)

Grazie - Thank you.

Grazie mille. - Thanks a lot.  lit. A thousand thanks.

Prego - You're welcome.

Come ti chiami? - What's your name?

Mi chiamo "name". - My name is "name". lit. I call myself..

Mi dispiace,... (non parlo italiano) - I am sorry,... (I don't speak Italian)

Per favore - Please.

Capisco - I understand.

Non capisco - I don't understand.

Quanto costa questo? - How much does this cost?

Dov'è ...? - Where is ...?

Mi scusi, che ore sono? - Excuse me, what time is it?

Buonanotte - Good night.

A question for Italians, do you always say: "Buongiorno, buonasera etc." when you walk into a bar? Is it common to greet the waiters/staff?

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I almost forgot, about the greetings when you enter a pubblic place, well, let's say that it depends on the regions: northern folks are quite reserved so it might be uncommon, southern people are more friendly so they might greet people... but, since I come from the north, I am not 100% about southern people greeting habits...

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