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Lesson Transcript

Ciao! Hello and welcome back to Italian survival phrases brought to you by ItalianPod101.com, this course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Italy. You will be surprised at how far a little Italian will go.
Now, before we jump in, remember to stop by ItalianPod101.com and there, you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
In today's lesson, we'll cover another extremely important phrase, "Do you speak English?" Using this phrase, as opposed to speaking English directly to someone, is important for many reasons. For one, if the party you're speaking to doesn't understand English, at least they'll be able to understand what you're asking. Furthermore, it shows a lot of respect on your part that you've made an effort to learn even a little bit of the language. For these reasons and many more, we're going to cover this very important phrase.
In Italian "Can you speak English?" is Parla inglese?
Let's break it down by syllable Par-la in-gle-se?
The first word parla means "speak".
Let's breakdown this word and hear it one more time. par-la
This is followed by inglese, which in Italian is "English". in-gle-se
The phrase that we just learned is in the formal tense. Which means you should always use the above phrase in situations with people you don’t know or elders.
When speaking to younger people, it’s acceptable to use the informal tense. In which case, you will say in Italian, Parli inglese?
While the difference is minimal, the significance is very important.
Let's say it slowly now. Parli inglese?
Now we’ll break it down by syllable. Par-li in-gle-se?.
So before we move on please remember that Parla followed by a word for a language is the formal way to ask if somebody speaks that language, while Parli, again followed by a word for a language is the informal way to ask "do you speak" that language.
So Parli is more direct, don't use it with people you don't know or with elders.
Now for a change let's try a different language. How about Spanish. "Can you speak Spanish?" Parla spagnolo?
Parla spagnolo?
The word for "Spanish" is spagnolo.
Let's breakdown this word and hear it one more time. spa-gno-lo.
Here just the word for the language changes, the rest is the same.
Cultural Insights
Nowadays in Italy English is studied at schools, so the number of speakers is increasing; however, there are still many people who don’t speak English.
One time a friend of mine that was in Milan, got lost from the subway or underground station on the way back to her hotel. She needed to ask for directions but she thought that her hotel was far from where she was and receiving directions in Italian was going to be rather difficult for her to decipher. So she stopped at the newsstand and asked the owner for help. Naturally, her Italian was very basic so the first thing she asked him was, Parla inglese?. Thankfully, because he worked rather close to the main train station where there is often lots of tourist traffic, the nice man spoke enough English to lead her in the right direction and back to her hotel.


Okay, to close out this lesson, we'd like you to practice what you've just learned. I'll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you're responsible for shouting it aloud. You have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so buona fortuna, which means “good luck” in Italian.
"Do you speak English?" (formal) - Parla inglese?
Parla inglese?
Parla inglese?
"Do you speak English?" (informal) - Parli inglese?
Parli inglese?
Parli inglese?
That’s going to do it for today. Ciao ciao!