Italian Words to Jump-start Your Italian

italian wordsSo you are thinking about learning Italian.  Wonderful!  Italian is soprendente!  If you are contemplating visiting Italy, learning a second language, or simply going to an authentic Italian restaurant (and wanting to sound authentic yourself), you have come to the right place.  Knowing some basic words Italian are all you need to get you started to enter this language of love.  So get some flash cards ready or a travel-sized notebook that you can take on the go, because we are going to give you some general and basic words to start you off with good ol’ Italiano.

Days of the Week and Month

Let’s get you started with some of the basic words of Italian that are helpful to know.  Everyone needs to know what day it is, so let’s go over the days of the week.

Lunedì: Monday
Martedì: Tuesday
Mercoledì: Wednesday
Giovedì: Thursday
Venerdì: Friday
Sabato: Saturday

While we are on the topic, here are the days of the month as well:

Gennaio: January
Febbraio: February
Marzo: March
Aprile: April
Maggio: May
Giugno: June
Luglio: July
Agosto: August
Settembre: September
Ottobre: October
Novembr: November
Dicembre: December

It is interesting to note that for the months in Italian, many of them, with the exception of January perhaps, sound very similar to their English counterparts.

Weather

If you are visiting Italy, there is a good chance you are going to be outside for a majority of the time.  Here are some Italian words that will reference the weather for you!

Cloudy: Nuvoloso

Windy: C’è vento

Cold: Freddo

Hot: Caldo

The temperature: La temperature

The sun: Il sole

The rain: La pioggia

Family

Italians generally have large families, and if you have seen the Sopranos, you can tell that family is very important.  If you meet any Italians, you will probably meet some of their family as well.  Here are the names for different family members to help you properly identify them if you are introduced:

Mom: Mamma
Mother: Madre
Dad: Papà
Father: Padre
Brother: Fratello
Sister: Sorella
Son: Siglio
Daughter:Figlia

Grandmother: Nonna
Grandfather: Nonno
Grandson or Granddaughter: Nipote
Great grandfather: Bisnonno
Great grandmother: Bisnonna

Uncle: Zio
Aunt: Zia
Cousin: Cugino (masculine) and Cugina (feminine)

Sister in law: Cognata
Brother in law: Cognato
Mother in law: Suocera
Father in law: Suocero
Daughter in law: Nuora
Son in law: Genero

As with any language, you will notice that you have to pay attention to the gender, as words are replaced with an “a” or “o” at the end depending on whether it is a male or female article.  This is just like Spanish!

Expressions

If you are not able to carry a conversation in Italian, the next best thing for communicating is being able to use expressions to convey your feelings and emotions.  Here are some popular words for expressions that are bound to come in handy:

Ciao:  Hello

Buongiorno: Good morning

Buon pomeriggio: Good afternoon

Buonasera: Good evening

Buonanotte: Good night

Grazie!: Thank you!

No: No

Buono!: Delicious!

Sono (nome): I’m (name)

Arrivederci: Goodbye

Sì: Yes.

Verbs

As human beings, we are constantly doing things.  As such, verbs come in handy when we want to communicate that we are getting something done, we want to do something, or if we want something done.  Here are some popular Italian verbs for all your action needs:

Potere: can

Usare: use

Fare: do

Andare: go

Venire: come

Ridere: laugh

Preparare: make

Vedere: see

Body Parts

Additionally as humans, we all have body parts, and it is nice to know how to reference them if we are speaking another language.  Who knows, you might be stuck in Italy with a broken foot – how are you going to go about relaying that message to people around you who only speak Italian?  By knowing your basic body parts, of course!

L’orrechio: Ear

L’occhio: Eye

Il naso: Nose

La bocca: Mouth

I denti: Teeth

Il ditto: Finger

La mano: Hand

Il piede: Feet

Il braccio: Arm

La gamba: Legs

La testa: Head

La lingua: Tongue

Lo stomaco: Stomach

Il corpo: Body

I capelli: Hair

La faccia: Face

Le labbra: Lips

Tableware

No doubt you are going to eat while you are in Italy or if you are with other Italians.  You are going to want to know to know how to identify the different utensils on your table.  After all, you don’t want to ask for a spoon if you need to eat your pasta with a fork!

The bowl: Scodella

The napkin: Il tovagliolo

The chair: La sedia

The pepper: Il pepe

The check: Il conto

The pitcher: La caraffa

The cup: La tazza

The plate: Il piatto

The fork: La forchetta

The salt: Il sale

The knife: Il coltello

The spoon: Il cucchiaio

The waitress: La cameriera

The menu: Il menu

The waiter: Il cameriere

Food

We know this is what you have all been waiting for: the food!  It is time to eat you way across Italy! Whether you are stepping outside of your comfort zone or not, Italian food is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the language and culture while pleasing you tummy at the same time.  Here are some Italian food words that you may or may not already know:

Ristorante: Restaurant

Espresso: Caffè

Cappuccino: Cappuccino

Espresso with milk foam: Macchiato

Breakfast: Colazione

Lunch: Prazo

Dinner: Cena

Snack: Merenda

Bread: Pane

EVOO: Olio extra vergine di oliva

Cheese: Formaggio

Meat: Carne

Fish: Pesce

Chicken: Pollo

Pork: Maiale

Wine: Vino

Egg: Uovo

Italian cream cheese: Mascarpone

Noodles: Le tagliatelle

Onion: La cipolla

Chocolate: Il cioccolato

Toasts: Bruschetta

Italian ice cream: Gelato

Balsamic vinegar: Aceto Balsamico

Start Talking!

With these words, you will be well on your way to general communication and expression in Italian.  Soon you will be ordering, talking, and shouting in confidence along with other Italians.  There are many different areas where Italian is beneficial: socially, economically, and culturally.  Italian is a beautiful language; after all, why else would Mozart have written most of his Operas in Italian?