If you want to say “good night” in Italian, you would say “buona notte.” Slightly earlier in the day, during the evening hours, you might choose to say, “buona sera” (good evening). By the way, both expressions work for not only hellos, but goodbyes too. Greeting someone earlier in the day? Then you can use “buongiorno.” It’s the safest catch-all expression, whether said early-morning, mid-morning, or early afternoon––much like the American/English “good morning.”
The ins-and-outs of Italian greetings and goodbyes are pretty simple. Sure, there are some variations, both formal and informal, but the general hellos and goodbyes Italians stick to are attainable when you’re first learning Italian. After all, you probably already know more than a few Italian words ––and not just the ones related to food. “Prego,” “arrivederci,” and “molto bene” are all Italian words or phrases you’ve heard hundreds of times. Plus, if you speak another Latin-based “romance language” like French or Spanish, there’s a good chance you have a jump start on learning Italian. Even English, while technically a Germanic language, has been profoundly influenced by the same Latin roots that formed Italian. Basically, if you speak another major European language, you’re well on your way to speaking Italian.
If you’re concerned about the time and effort required to learn Italian, you can relax. That’s because Rosetta Stone has developed a natural path of small steps to help you learn to understand and speak Italian. This small-steps approach means you have the flexibility to schedule language lessons around your everyday life, rather than schedule your life around lessons. So when you’re walking the dog, taking a break from watching the kids or commuting home from work, Rosetta Stone makes it possible for you to fit in the small steps that lead to learning Italian.
To begin your journey of understanding and speaking Italian, here are some very common phrases to learn first:
If you’re a new student of Italian, one of the first characteristics of the Italian language you might come across is the use of double consonants. These two letter configurations appear in a wide array of common words, like pizza and anno and the female name Alessandra. And while you’ll find that every Italian word is enunciated a bit differently, a general tip you can use is to put less emphasis on the vowel that comes just before the double consonants.
Another notable characteristic of Italian pronunciation relates to the letter c. By comparison, in other Romance languages such as Spanish, the c is quite often pronounced like an s. This use of c is referred to as el ceceo and differs quite markedly from Iberian Spanish. But unlike Spanish, in Italian the letter c is very often pronounced with a hard ch sound, as you hear in the pronunciation of the English word “charge.”
Of no surprise, there are some exceptions to this general rule. The letter c is pronounced in other ways in different contexts. For example, the Italian letter c can sound like the English letter c, which is sometimes pronounced like a k in common and familiar words such as company, capital, campfire, Caroline, coordination, Compton, and collar. You’ll hear this same k-sounding pronunciation in some Italian words. You’ll find that those Italian words always include an a, o, or u after the c, such as in the Italian words Capri, Campari, capra (goat), cannoli, and campione (champion).
Have you ever gone to an Italian restaurant and ordered the potato-filled pasta, known as gnocchi? This delectable dumpling-style dish is not only very popular, it can also help us to learn the accurate Italian pronunciation of the gn sound. In Italian, that two-letter combination of gn is pronounced quite nasally, comparable to the Spanish ñ sound. Let’s look more closely at the Spanish translation of the Italian word gnocchi to understand this:
To refine your Italian pronunciation, you’ll need accurate and immediate feedback to make needed corrections. Then, once you’ve learned the correct pronunciation, you’ll want to practice until you acquire a comfortable feel for shaping the specific sounds that make up the spoken Italian language. Rosetta Stone embeds our patented speech-recognition engine, TruAccent, into each and every language learning lesson. TruAccent gives you the instant feedback you need to be able to hear the correct pronunciation and then practice it. TruAccent was designed by first carefully scanning and then closely analyzing the speech of native and non-native Italian speakers. It can be an extremely helpful tool as you learn to speak and understand Italian.
After new language learners have acquired the basic building blocks of speaking Italian, they will be able to readily transition to learning longer phrases that make up the backbone of everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s brief, 10-minute language lessons are designed for exactly this approach. Rosetta Stone language lessons lead to speaking Italian with comfort and confidence.
Surround yourself with Italian whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.