Welcome to our first lesson!
We’re going to learn five common and useful words in Italian.
Read the text accompanying each word, listen to how the word is pronounced and repeat it. Don’t worry if you can’t remember everything — you’ll get plenty of practice later on.
At the end of the page you’ll find some suggested exercises.
Hello in Italian
Ciao means hello or goodbye.
Ciao is one of the most common greetings in Italy. It’s useful because you can say it to everyone. Ciao is an informal greeting, but you can use it in formal situations as well.
- In Italian if the letter c is followed by e or i , it is always pronounced like ‘ch’.
- Therefore, ‘ci’ in ciao is pronounced ‘ch’ as in English ‘chapter’, for example.
- There’s no special rule for pronouncing ‘ao’. Each vowel is pronounced separately, but because they’re pronounced so close together, they end up sounding a lot like ‘ow’ in English.
How to Say Yes in italian
Sì is the Italian word for yes.
Say sì without any fear if someone offers you a nice drink in a coffee bar.
- Notice that sì is always written with a “grave” accent.
- “Grave” means the accent slopes downwards as you move from left to right.
- In Italian, the letter ì is pronounced like the ‘ee’ in English ‘see’, but much shorter. One thing you can do to really improve your Italian accent is to always remember to pronounce ‘i’ in an Italian way.
No in Italian
The Italian no means just the same as the English no.
- “O” at the end of a word in Italian is pronounced a bit differently to in English. In English, the word so has a sort of ‘w’ sound at the end. Your lips change position at the end of the word. In Italian, the lips do not change position while pronouncing ‘o’. It’s just one short sound.
- Consonants are also pronounced a bit differently in Italian. You’ll be understood if you say them in an English way, so don’t stress! But in English, there’s a puff of air after many consonants, such as the ‘n’ in ‘no’. You can feel this most easily if you say something beginning with a ‘p’, while holding your hand in front of your mouth. Do you feel the puff of air on your hand? In Italian this is largely absent. This can be tricky to avoid at first, but after a while you’ll start to notice the difference between Italian and English consonants and can learn to imitate the Italian pronunciation.
The Italian for Water
Acqua means water.
Italy’s a hot country, so it’s useful to be able to ask for water.
- Acqua is a noun, meaning it’s the name of a thing.
- ‘Q’ in Italian is always followed by ‘u’, like in English.
Thank You in Italian
The last word for our first lesson is grazie which means thanks or thank you.
Now you can already see how easy is to be polite in Italian :).
- The letter z in Italian is pronounced like ‘ts’ in the word ‘rats’.
Play each word and read it out loud. Don’t be embarrassed! Do this three times for each word.
Congratulations and grazie! We’re at the end of our first lesson. But don’t worry, the second lesson will be just as easy as this one.