Are you planning on going to Italy soon? Are you excited about visiting this lovely country but scared at the same time because you know you won’t be able to communicate?
Well, I can help you! Just keep reading 🙂
Formal and informal expressions
We often don’t realise our language rules until we compare them to the ones of another.
Formal expressions are used when talking or writing to someone we don’t know very well for example: a teacher, a policeman, elder people.
The pronoun that we use in this case is lei (lit. “She”), both if you refer to men or women, and we refer to our speaker with the title and surname:
- Signora Bianchi (Mrs Bianchi);
- Dottor Paolucci (Doctor Paolucci);
- Ingegner Messina (Engineer Messina).
We can also use the first name with the title signor or signora: signor Gianni, signora Maria.
Informal expressions are used between friends, colleagues, relatives, young people or when we want to “reduce the distance” between us and the person we’re talking to.
In this case we use the pronoun tu (you) and the first name.
You should use middle formality when we talk to someone we don’t know and we want to show respect but at the same time we want to reduce the distance from.
In this case we use the pronoun lei and the first name. For example students have always to use formal expressions with their teachers; on the other hand, teachers, can use middle formality expressions (but they don’t have to).
The Italian culture places importance on introductions and salutations as it is often considered a foundational way of showing respect.
Offer polite greetings to friends and associates or as a way to break the ice when meeting new people.
You can find the video “Italian greetings” here for the pronunciation 🙂