Earlier in the week, Monday I think it was, I promised to send you something that wasn’t just an advert.
Well, that was sort of an advert, but anyway… Enjoy!
Be polite and still sound native
It’s true that you can learn a foreign language perfectly ok from your home miles away from the country where it is spoken, you don’t need to go to that country to learn. Full immersion is not the only way. However, it helps for some things, for instance: how polite should I be? And how do I express my politeness?
Bored with the introduction already? Skip to the tips (dritte) below.
First of, for the Italian people being extremely polite is not a major concern as it is for so many eastern cultures or the UK. Which does not mean we are disrespectful nor are we ok with people being rude, of course!
But being TOO polite can also cause some embarrassment and make relationship with others unnatural and stiff, right? Especially with someone you already know (a friend, a family member or maybe your good old teacher). When you are too polite with these people it looks as if you were taking a step backwards in the bond you have already built with them.
There’s a language code and a non verbal way of being polite. Let’s take a look at some tips that will make you sound natural and polite without exceeding in Italian.
Dritta numero 1- “Mi scusi” o “scusami”???
“Mi scusi” is formal while “scusami” is informal. If you’re talking with friends and family members, and probably your Italian teacher too, go for “scusami”. Save “mi scusi” for your boss, a professor at university or the doctor.
Dritta numero 2 – Intonation rather than “please”
You don’t really need “please” in informal speech and context if you use the right intonation, which sounds just like a question. If you stress that intonation, you are being polite enough.
You could say: “Mi passi l’acqua?” instead of: “Mi potresti passare l’acqua per favore?”
Of course there are several things to keep into account (How big a favor you’re asking or how well you know the person).
Dritta numero 3 – Not too many things at once
Using “per favore”, modal verbs, conditionals and a question-like tone all at once sounds like too much.
If you use “per favore” you can match it with an imperative instead:
“Passami l’acqua per favore.”
“Ripeti per favore.”
In case you use the conditional and/or a modal verb (potere) you don’t need to say “per favore”.
“Puoi passarmi l’acqua?”
Dritta numero 4 – Use “hai ragione” rather than “scusa”
Of course this applies to situations where you have caused no harm and done anything wrong so you don’t need to be forgiven.
Let’s say you made a grammar mistake and the teacher points that mistake out. No matter how appalling it may be (!) instead of apologizing to the teacher you can simply say:
“Ah, è vero! Ho sbagliato!” (That’s true! I made a mistake!)
In case they correct you:
“Ah sì, hai ragione.” (Oh yes, you’re right.)
Dritta numero 5 – No need to “pray”
As in the dictionary “Ti prego” is translated as “please” as well, some people use it in the wrong context. “Ti prego” is more like “I beg you” and sounds extremely desperate and needy, like if you were on your knees. As a matter of fact, “pregare” is the same word we use for “pray” in a religious way.
Maybe if you cheated on your Italian wife you could cry: “Ti prego! Perdonami!” Or Italian kids who desperately want that latest videogame, when they see it in the shop window would go: “Ti prego mamma! Ti prego! Ti prego!”
The same expression, with “La” instead of “ti” is used in very formal expressions, maybe when the company line is busy:
“La preghiamo di attendere.” (Please hold the line.)
Or at a fancy hotel:
“Si pregano i gentili ospiti di non fare rumore dopo mezzanotte.” (Kind guests are requested not to make noise after midnight.)
Dritta numero 6 – Sì, grazie
“Yes, please” is translated as “Sì, grazie” rather than “Sì, per favore”.
“Vuoi delle patate fritte?” “Sì, grazie!”
Well, that was useful, wasn’t it? Thanks Fra!
You can practice those tips when chatting with your online native-speaker teacher.
What? You don’t have an online native-speaker teacher?
No worries! Remember what I wrote on Wednesday?
Which means that I’ll be publicising a coupon code which, if you apply it in your shopping cart in either/both online shops, will save you 20% on your cart total.
So you could, for instance, buy five ebooks but pay for just four of them (assuming they were the same price), or save a fifth on the price of one-to-one Italian lessons with a native speaker teacher.
We do promotions like this four times a year, in the spring, the first week of July, at the end of September, and at New Year. The discount is always 20%, which means anyone who plans when to buy materials for learning Italian, or the lesson credits they need to continue taking regular online lessons throughout the year, need never pay the full price!
A posto, as Italians say!
N.b. If you’re one of our regular online students, you should have received an email containing the coupon code from the teaching management team yesterday. If you didn’t see that, check your spam/junk file. We’re keen to get our regulars sorted out before the sale starts properly on Monday.
And of course, Friday wouldn’t be Friday without a final reminder about the week’s ebook promotion. This time there are two. Get them at a 25% discount, but only until Sunday night!
The first is the ebook version of our Summer Series on Il Rinascimento, which ended on Friday last week.
You can read and listen to all thirty chapters, for FREE, on our History page, along with thirty chapters each on the Romans and the Middle ages.
But if you want the printable .pdf and/or the Kindle-compatible .mobi or .epub files for your ebook reader device or app, well, now you can have them!
The second new ebook is the story of one of the characters who featured only peripherally in the Summer Series but who is worth knowing more about…
An original Italian easy reader by Francesca Colombo
Orphaned while still a baby, Caterina de’ Medici doesn’t have much going for her. Though there is one thing…
7 Agosto 1530. Corte Papale, Roma
“Avanti, avanti Caterina, camminate più veloce. E ricordate di inchinarvi davanti al Santo Padre! Il nostro Papa Clemente VII è un uomo meraviglioso, e ora avete un’udienza da sola con lui. Non siete emozionata? Siete fortunata ad avere… un santo in Paradiso! Proprio così, è un modo di dire molto appropriato.”
La vecchia suora, che ridacchia isterica, trascina Caterina per una mano e riprende: “Lo dico perché è un Medici come voi. E di certo è un uomo santo. Forza, forza, camminate. Non vogliamo fare aspettare Sua Santità” bisbiglia nervosa.
Caterina’s still only twelve years old, but her uncle, the Pope, is already busy reviewing possible husbands for her, with a view to strengthening ties between the Papacy and one or the other of Europe’s powerful royal families. Perhaps the time has come for her to learn French?
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
Buy Diventare regina. La storia di Caterina de’ Medici just £5.99 | Free sample chapter (.pdf) | Catalog
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
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