Lesson Transcript

Felice: Welcome to Fun and Easy Italian by ItalianPod101.com!
Felice: You might know what Ciao means, but do you know what I’m asking if I say Bella zio, come butta? Let’s find out in this lesson!
Ciao a tutti, sono Felice.
Hi everyone! I’m Felice.
And I’m Alisha.
English: In this lesson, you’ll learn all about how to say "hello" in Italian.
English: Greetings are an important part of a conversation. Regardless of whether you already know the person you’re talking to or not, most of the time we need to say "hello" before saying anything else.
English: If you want to learn a language well, it’s important that you know how to greet people in different situations.
English: In this video you'll learn how to say "hello" in Italian in all types of situations!
English: Let’s start with how to say "hello" to a friend.
If you have an Italian friend, you are likely to hug, kiss, hold hands, and exchange nice words as a casual greeting.
Italians don’t like it if you’re too formal.
As for what to say,
the Italian "hello" for friends is, of course, Ciao.
[SLOW] Ciao
Here is an example sentence:
Ciao! Come stai?
"Hello! How are you?"
[SLOW] Ciao! Come stai?
Ciao! Come stai?
You could answer this question with,
Ciao! Tutto bene, grazie. E tu?
"Hello! I’m alright, thanks. And you?
[SLOW] Ciao! Tutto bene, grazie. E tu?
Ciao! Tutto bene, grazie. E tu?
Italian friends usually kiss once on each cheek and hug. For me, shaking hands or patting each other’s backs is very common among friends as well.
Kissing is done more often by people from Southern Italy than those from the North.
To then say goodbye to your friends, while kissing, hugging, or shaking hands, you can say,
A presto.
"See you soon."
[SLOW] A presto.
A presto.
Alla prossima.
"See you next time."
[SLOW] Alla prossima.
Alla prossima.
A simple Ciao is okay as a parting greeting as well.
Next, let’s look at how to say hello to someone who’s a bit older.
Remember to use formal Italian when talking to an older person.
Instead of saying Ciao, for example, you’ll say, Buongiorno, which literally means "Good day."
[SLOW] Buongiorno.
Until four p.m., you can also say,
Buon pomeriggio,
which means "Good afternoon."
[SLOW] Buon pomeriggio.
Buon pomeriggio.
If you meet the other person after four p.m., you can say,
"Good evening."
[SLOW] Buonasera.
As for when you’re leaving, if it’s before four p.m., you can say,
Buona giornata,
"Have a nice day."
[SLOW] Buona giornata.
Buona giornata.
But if you are leaving after four p.m., you should instead say,
Buona serata,
"Have a nice evening."
[SLOW] Buona serata.
Buona serata.
If it is late at night, however, it’d be best to say,
Buona notte,
"Good night."
[SLOW] Buona notte.
Buona notte.
In addition to the time-specific greetings, there are other more general greetings as well.
A greeting that works for both meetings and farewells is
[SLOW] Salve.
And last, but not least, we also have,
which means "Goodbye."
Remember to only use this when bidding farewell.
[SLOW] Arrivederci.
If you want to be polite and correct in any situation, but you don’t want to appear too formal, you can use Salve and Arrivederci.
As for body language, outside of business situations, older people in Italy will expect you to kiss them on the cheeks, especially women. Sometimes men prefer to shake hands instead of kissing. But if you’re not sure what to do, you can follow their lead instead.
Now, let’s look at an example. This is how a conversation would usually start when talking to an older person in Italy:
Buongiorno, come sta?
"Good morning, how are you?"
[SLOW] Buongiorno, come sta?
Buongiorno, come sta?
The answer to that could be,
Buongiorno, sto bene, grazie. E lei?
"Good morning, I’m fine, thanks. And you?"
Buongiorno, sto bene, grazie. E lei?
Buongiorno, sto bene, grazie. E lei?
Let’s next see how to say "hello" in formal situations.
If you were to attend a business meeting while in Italy, the formal greetings used would be similar to those used for older people.
That being said, there are still a few differences which you have to be careful about.
For example, remember to shake hands instead of kissing people on the cheeks.
And in addition to using polite Italian, be sure to use the person’s title, and try to avoid asking "How are you?"
Here is a sample conversation:
Buongiorno, Professore. Ha fatto buon viaggio?
"Good morning, Professor. Did you have a nice journey?"
[SLOW] Buongiorno, Professore. Ha fatto buon viaggio?
Buongiorno, Professore. Ha fatto buon viaggio?
Buongiorno, signora Rossi. Sì, grazie.
"Good morning, Miss Rossi. Yes, thank you."
Buongiorno, signora Rossi. Sì, grazie.
Buongiorno, signora Rossi. Sì, grazie.
Next, let's briefly consider a rare, yet interesting, scenario: how to say "hello" to the Pope!
Being able to say hello to the Pope might seem impractical, but who knows? It’s always better to be prepared than not, right? So let’s get started!
When the Pope enters a room, or simply stands or walks, be sure to stand up as a sign of respect.
If the Pope talks to you directly, you should bow and shake his hand. You may also kiss his ring if you’re Catholic. When talking to him, you should use formal Italian, and call him Santo Padre,
"Saint Father."
[SLOW] Santo Padre
Santo Padre
English: Let’s now consider the complete opposite end of the spectrum: how to informally greet friends, on the street, for example.
Informal Italian greetings are just like those in any other language—they differ from the common language, and vary from city to city.
Felice: But here are some common expressions which you’re likely to come across:
Bella lì!
[SLOW] Bella lì!
Bella lì!
Bella zio!
which also means, "Hi!"
[SLOW] Bella zio!
Bella zio!
Felice: Come butta?
"What’s up?"
[SLOW] Come butta?
Come butta?
Felice: And here is an example conversation:
Bella zio, come butta?
"Hi, what’s up?"
[SLOW] Bella zio, come butta?
Bella zio, come butta?
Bella lì, tutto ok. E a te?
"Hi, everything’s good. How about you?"
[SLOW] Bella lì, tutto ok. E a te?
Bella lì, tutto ok. E a te?
English: Next is a brief note about what gestures you should be using when greeting someone.
English: Italian greetings and introductions are not only composed of words—the body language that you use is just as important as the spoken language.
Italians talk not only with their hands, but also with their arms, head, shoulders, and eyes.
English: Here’s a quick recap of the most common body gestures used with Italian greetings.
English: For friends and relatives, you may kiss twice on the cheeks—one on each side. You may also hold hands and give warm hugs.
If you meet someone on a formal occasion, however, be sure to shake their hands and avoid kissing. This is also true in Northern Italy among male relatives and friends.
Lastly, let’s go over how to say "hello" on the phone.
Have you ever wondered, "what’s the right greeting to use when making a call?" or "how do you answer the phone properly?"
Felice: Well, when you answer the phone, you just have to make sure to say Pronto, which means "hello."
This word literally means "ready."
[SLOW] Pronto
English: The rest of the conversation doesn’t differ much from a normal conversation.
Here is a simple example of two people talking over the phone:
[SLOW] Pronto?
Ciao Marta, sono la zia Antonia.
"Hi Marta, it’s Aunt Antonia."
[SLOW] Ciao Marta, sono la zia Antonia.
In this lesson, you learned how to say "hello" in casual and formal occasions—including when meeting the Pope!
You also learned how to speak to the elderly, some tips about Italian body language, and how to say "hello" over the phone.
Felice: That’s it for today! Alla prossima!
See you next time!
See you next time!