Going to Italy? A language guide through Rome
Irresistible food, highest end fashion, awesome architecture, diversity, sceneries, incomparable art, Italy is the most alluring countries in Europe. The whole country is packed with a million possibilities and it is offering you a million different ways for you to enjoy it.
And Rome, what can we say about Rome, it is one of the most beautiful cities you’ll ever see in your life.
However, whenever you are traveling to a foreign country that doesn’t speak English it ends up being really hard to communicate, and while some countries are extremely easy to be in since everyone speaks English, however, in other cities not so much. If you have never been to Rome, there is something you might want to know.
Is Rome English friendly?
Mmmmm, yes and no. I guess the answer depends on what you mean by friendly. In the end, Rome is the capital of Italy, it is a cosmopolitan city and most people there tend to speak English. Of course, you’ll come to across a lot of people that speak very little or aren’t able to understand you, but chances are the vast majority will. However, it never hurts you to know a bunch of phrases in the language. Now, let’s talk about the friendly part. Rome is very similar to Paris in the sense that you can’t get away with just talking louder and trying to make people understand you. It is one of those cities that has resisted the American/English influence a little. The thing about the Italian people is that if you approach them with cero disposition to try and speak even a little Italian, they’ll probably not be very willing to help you, but there is really only old people or rather cocky Italians. Most of the time you’ll be able to communicate in English.
Why don’t Italians speak that much English?
The fact is that if you leave Rome, or even within Rome, Italian people don’t speak much English, and they don’t speak it that well. This is due to a series of factors of the country itself. First, it is a matter of education, while some schools (usually private) might have a great teaching system, other schools can have English teaching programs that aren’t as good or as prioritized. Also, Italian schools tend to prioritize other languages that aren’t English, such as French and German. In Italy, there is also a lack of English media, while movies, cartoons, books, TV shows, documentaries are translated from English to Italian, because the Italian translating industry is one of the best in the world, so people are often not in constant contact with the language. Not being exposed to it is also the reason why they don’t practice, cause they don’t usually come up to people who speak English unless they are tourists.
There is also the cockiness factor, in which they speak English but think tourists (this is a European issue that applies especially to American tourists) should make more of an effort to learn the language, even simple phrases, the way other people do when it comes to English.
How can I get around in Rome if I don’t speak Italian
The thing is if you move through the city without knowing Italian you are going to be missing out on some pretty great parts of the culture and the people. First of all, only tourist restaurants tend to serve in English, and we all know tourist restaurants are overpriced and not really good. You won’t be able to talk to the elderly about how cool their country is, or just get yourself around without asking for instructions until you find someone who speaks English. But, if you have no time to learn Italian from now to your trip, here are some of the things you should know before heading to the Mediterranean country.
Learn this, “Parli Inglese?” Is the most useful phrase you’ll learn because, first, it shows the people you are at least trying, and second, people realize you do not speak Italian. Always have Google translate with you, especially in case you end up lost on a metro station or something similar. Try a third language, Spanish is your best choice, because even if they don’t speak it they might understand you, but French and German are also pretty safe bets. Be super polite, but make people understand you don’t understand a word of Italian, they’ll probably send for someone who knows someone who’ll help translate or even speak themselves. If you have an issue and need help, try someone under 30, since education systems in general have becomes more prone to teaching English in the latest years. Also, listen to the TV or the radio in Italian, so you can pick up a bit of the basic words and language.
The overall recommendation is, don’t stop yourself from going to Italy because you are afraid people won’t understand you and everything will be a nightmare. English is a pretty universal language and you will get someone who speaks it eventually. However, don’t get all cocky and just scream in English until someone understands you, remember you are visiting their country, trying to learn about their culture, you are not entitled to anything, and people are not obligated to speak English to you. So, if you are completely unable to learn at least a little Italian before going there, make sure you are very polite and patient to the people there, even if they don’t speak English they will probably try to get someone who can help you, or try to understand you if you are an actual nice person. Don’t be entitled, don’t talk louder as they don’t understand you, and don’t do the Italian hand thing of the memes. If you really want to get yourself to really try to know and understand the culture, a big part of it is the language.