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Lesson Transcript

Ciao a tutti! Sono Consuelo. Hi everybody! I’m Consuelo.
Welcome back to ItalianPod101.com’s Italiano in tre minuti, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Italian.
In the last lesson, we learned the most common forms of greetings in Italian. Do you remember them? We talked about greetings like ciao, buongiorno, buonasera and so on.
Today we’re going to learn a very useful phrase: “do you speak English?”
Using this phrase as opposed to speaking English to someone is important for many reasons. For one, if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t understand English, at least they’ll be able to understand what you’re asking.
Furthermore, that you've made an effort to learn even a little bit of the language shows a lot of respect on your part. So, for these reasons and many more, we’re going to cover this very important phrase.
Are you ready? Allora cominciamo, so let’s start!
Now here's the informal way to say it.
Parli inglese?
(One more time, slowly: parli inglese?).
In this sentence, the verb parlare, to speak, is inflected in the second singular person “tu.” You can easily recognize it from the ending part of the verb parli.
To learn how to properly conjugate -are verbs, like parlare, at the present indicative, please look at our Absolute Beginner series. You can find very detailed grammar lessons if you check up on ItalianPod101.com.
But now let’s go back to parli inglese.
Inglese is the adjective that means English.
When asking the question “do you speak English” in a formal situation, you should switch the verb parlare into the third singular courtesy person Lei. The result is:
Parla inglese?
(One more time, slowly: parla inglese?).
This sentence could be very helpful if you’re in trouble on the street, in a restaurant, or at a hotel—no matter where you are, if you need to talk to an English speaker, just ask…
Parla inglese?
Adding scusi, excuse-me, the sentence becomes more polite:
Scusi, parla inglese?
(One more time, slowly: scusi, parla inglese?).
The responses you will receive could basically be one of these three:
Sì. Yes.
(One more time, slowly: sì.).
Un pò. A little.
(One more time, slowly: un pò.).
No, non parlo inglese. No, I don’t speak English.
(One more time, slowly: no, non parlo inglese.).
Since this last one is a negative statement, we should just say non before the verb. With io, Italian for "I," the verb changes into parlo.
That is why “I do not speak” is:
Non parlo.
Now it’s time for Consuelo’s tips.
For those of you who are not only English speakers, you can obviously use this question with any language you need. Italians study other European languages at school, so maybe you will get lucky! Just substitute inglese with…
Francese for French.
Spagnolo for Spanish.
Tedesco for German.
In today’s lesson we mentioned the word scusi. In the next lesson we will learn this and other ways to apologize in Italian. It’s never too late to show your good manners with Italian people!
I'll see you in our next Italiano in tre minuti lesson.
Ciao, a presto, alla prossima lezione!!