In this lesson we’ll look at some phrases you can use if you need to ask someone for help in Italy.

“I Don’t Speak Italian” in italian

Non parlo l’italiano is the Italian for I don’t speak Italian.

Non parlo l’italiano.

Non in Italian means both not and don’t.

  • You can also say just italiano here, without the l’, but it’s more common (and sounds nicer) to say l’italiano with the verb parlare (to speak).

Italian for “Could You Repeat, Please?”

Potrebbe ripetere, per favore? in Italian means Could you repeat (that), please?

Potrebbe ripetere, per favore?

“Potrebbe” (could) in Italian is used only in formal situations. But of course you’ll be perfectly understood if you use it in an informal situation too.

While in English it’s more common to say “could you repeat that?”, in Italian the “that” is not used here.

  • Potrebbe is actually the “third person present conditional” conjugation of the verb potere, to be able to. It’s similar to “could she/he” in English. But, confusingly at first, this is how Italians speak in a formal way; using the third person (he/she) instead of “you” when they’re talking directly to someone.

“I Don’t Understand” in Italian

The Italian Non ho capito means I don’t understand (literally, I haven’t understood.

Non ho capito.

This is obviously going to be a useful phrase at first, when you’re learning Italian. We’ve already learned this phrase in the previous section, but we thought we’d repeat it so that you have all the most useful tourist phrases in one place.

The Italian for Help

Aiuto! in Italian means Help!

Aiuto!
  • Although Italian vowels are generally pronounced distinctly, in this case they are slurred together somewhat. The vowels i and u together sound very like to the word “you” in English.

“Could You Help Me?”

Potrebbe aiutarmi? in Italian means Could you help me?

Potrebbe aiutarmi?
  • The verb “aiutare” means “to help”. The mi in “aiutarmi” refers to the speaker and can be translated in English as “to me”. So you’re saying “help to me!”.

Exercises

Translate the following sentences from English into Italian.

Click the link below to view the answers. Don’t forget to also read all the examples out loud at least two or three times.

  1. I don’t understand. Could you repeat that, please?
  2. I’m alone. Help!
  3. Where can I find the telephone?
  4. That is the restaurant!
Show answers »
  1. Non ho capito. Potrebbe ripetere?
  2. Sono solo/a. Aiuto!
  3. Dov’è posso trovare il telefono?
  4. Quello è il ristorante!

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