1. Basic Phrases / Frasi semplici

Buon giorno
bwon zhor-no
Hello / Good morning/afternoon
Buona sera
bwoh-nah seh-rah
Good evening
Buona notte
bwoh-nah noht-teh
Good night
Ciao
chow
Hi / Hello / Bye (informal)
Arrivederci
ah-ree-vuh-dehr-chee
Goodbye
ArrivederLa
ah-ree-vuh-dehr-lah
Goodbye (formal)
A più tardi
ah pyoo tar-dee
See you later
A presto / A dopo
ah press-toh / ah doh-poh
See you soon
A domani
ah doh-mahn-ee
See you tomorrow
Per favore / Per piacere
pehr fah-voh-reh / pehr pee-ah-cheh-reh
Please
Grazie (mille)
graht-zee-eh (mee-leh)
Thank you (very much)
Prego
preh-goh
You're Welcome
Mi dispiace
mee dee-spyah-cheh
Sorry
Scusi / Scusa
skoo-zee / skoo-zah
Excuse me (formal / informal)
Andiamo!
on-dee-ah-mo
Let's go!
Come sta? / Come stai?
koh-meh stah / koh-meh sty
How are you? (formal / informal)
Sto bene.
stoh beh-neh
I am fine / well.
Non c'è male.
nohn cheh mah-leh
Not bad.
Abbastanza bene.
ah-bah-stahn-tsah beh-neh
Pretty good.
Così così.
koh-zee koh-zee
So so.
Sì / No
see / noh
Yes / No
Come si chiama?
koh-meh see kee-ah-mah
What's your name? (formal)
Come ti chiami?
koh-meh tee kee-ah-mee
What's your name? (informal)
Mi chiamo...
mee kee-ah-mo
My name is...
Piacere / Molto lieto.
pee-ah-cheh-reh / mohl-toh lee-eh-toh
Pleased / Nice to meet you.
Signore, Signora, Signorina
seen-yoh-reh, seen-yoh-rah, seen-yoh-reen-ah
Mister, Misses, Miss
Di dov'è?
dee doh-veh
Where are you from? (formal)
Di dove sei?
dee doh-veh seh-ee
Where are you from? (informal)
Sono di...
soh-noh dee
I am from...
Quanti anni ha?
kwahn-tee ahn-nee ah
How old are you? (formal)
Quanti anni hai?
kwahn-tee ahn-nee ah-ee
How old are you? (informal)
Ho venti anni.
oh vehn-tee ahn-nee
I am 20 years old.
Parla italiano?
par-lah ee-tahl-ee-ah-no
Do you speak Italian? (formal)
Parli inglese?
par-lee een-gleh-zeh
Do you speak English? (informal)
Parlo italiano. / Non parlo inglese.
par-lo ee-tahl-ee-ah-no / non par-lo een-gleh-zeh
I speak Italian. / I don't speak English.
Capisce? / Capisci?
kah-pee-sheh / kah-pee-shee
Do you understand? (formal / informal)
[Non] capisco.
[non] kah-pees-koh
I [don't] understand.
Non so. / Lo so.
non soh / low soh
I don't know. / I know.
Può aiutarmi? / Puoi aiutarmi?
pwoh ah-yoo-tar-mee / pwoh-ee ah-yoo-tar-mee
Can you help me? (formal / informal)
Certamente / D'accordo.
cher-tah-mehn-teh / dah-kohr-doh
Sure / OK.
Come?
koh-meh?
What? / Pardon me?
Desidera? / Desideri?
deh-zee-deh-rah / deh-zee-deh-ree
May I help you? (formal / informal)
Come si dice "house" in italiano?
koh-meh see dee-cheh "house" een ee-tah-lee-ah-noh
How do you say "house" in Italian?
Dov'è / Dove sono...?
doh-veh / doh-veh soh-noh
Where is / Where are... ?
Ecco / Eccoli...
eh-koh / eh-koh-lee
Here is / Here are...
C'è / Ci sono...
cheh / chee soh-noh
There is / There are...
Cosa c'è?
koh-zah cheh
What's the matter? / What's wrong?
Non importa. / Di niente. / Di nulla.
nohn eem-por-tah / dee nee-ehn-teh / dee noo-lah
It doesn't matter.
Non m'importa.
nohn meem-por-tah
I don't care.
Non ti preoccupare.
nohn tee preh-ohk-koo-pah-reh
Don't worry. (informal)
Ho dimenticato.
oh dee-men-tee-kah-toh
I forgot.
Devo andare adesso.
deh-voh ahn-dah-reh ah-des-soh
I have to go now.
Ho fame. / Ho sete.
oh fah-meh / oh seh-teh
I'm hungry. / I'm thirsty.
Ho freddo. / Ho caldo.
oh freh-doh / oh kal-doh
I'm cold. / I'm hot.
Mi annoio.
mee ahn-noh-ee-oh
I'm bored.
Salute!
sah-loo-teh
Bless you!
Congratulazioni!
kohn-grah-tsoo-lah-tsee-oh-nee
Congratulations!
Benvenuti!
behn-veh-noo-tee
Welcome!
Buona fortuna!
bwoh-nah for-too-nah
Good luck!
Tocca a me! / Tocca a te!
tohk-kah ah meh / tohk-kah ah teh
It's my turn! / It's your turn! (informal)
Ti amo.
tee ah-moh
I love you. (informal)
È pazzo! / Sei pazzo!
eh pats-soh / seh-ee pats-soh
You're crazy! (formal / informal)
Sta zitto! / Stai zitto!
stah tseet-toh / sty tseet-toh
Be quiet / Shut up! (formal / informal)
Va bene!
vah beh-neh
OK!

Notice that Italian has informal and formal ways of saying things. This is because there is more than one meaning to "you" in Italian (as well as in many other languages.) The informal you is used when talking to close friends, relatives, animals or children. The formal you is used when talking to someone you just met, do not know well, or someone for whom you would like to show respect (a professor, for example.) There is also a plural you, used when speaking to more than one person.

Also, the words pazzo and zitto refer to men. If you are talking to a woman, use pazza and zitta. If you are talking to more than one person (all men, or a group of men and women), use pazzi and zitti. If you are talking to more than one person (all women), use pazze and zitte.


2. Pronunciation / la pronuncia

Italian is a very phonetic language, so pronunciation should be easy. Most words are pronounced exactly like they are spelled. There are only seven pure vowels, but several diphthongs and triphthongs. The English samples given are not pronounced exactly as in Italian because English vowels tend to be diphthongized (there's an extra yuh or wuh after the actual vowel). Make sure to only say the pure vowel and not the diphthong when pronouncing Italian.

Italian Vowels
English Pronunciation
[i]vitaee as in meet
[e]vediay as in bait
[ɛ]eraeh as in bet
[a]caneah as in father
[u]uvaoo as in boot
[o]soleoh as in boat
[ɔ]modoaw as in law

Semi-Vowels
[w]quando, uomowuh as in won
[j]piano, ieri, pioveyuh as in yes


In spelling, the letter e is used to represent both [e] and [ɛ]; while the letter o is used to represent both [o] and [ɔ]. If the vowel is stressed, then the pronunciation is always closed [e] and [o]. If the vowel is not stressed, it is always open[ɛ] and [ɔ]. This can change according to regional dialects in Italy, of course, but this is the standard rule. Italian semi-vowels are always written ua, ue, uo, ui for [w] and ia, ie, io, iu for [j]. If another vowel precedes u or i, then it is a diphthong: ai, ei, oi, au, eu. The combination iu + another vowel creates a triphthong.


Italian consonant + vowel combinations

c + a, o, u, he, hikamica, amico, amicheah-mee-kah, ah-mee-koh, ah-mee-keh
c + ia, io, iu, e, ichbacio, celebre, cinemabah-cho, cheh-leh-breh, chee-neh-mah