The complete guide to small talk in Italian #1

It’s the beginning of every kind of relationship: to say who you are, what you do in your life, where you are from, what you like and so on. In the article I use informal Italian.
This is the sample that we’ll follow:

Hello, my name is……..
I’m from……… (city/country)
I live in………. (city/country)
I’m….years old.
My birthday is on……..
I’m a student at……. / I work as….
My favorite sport is…..
My hobby is………….
In my spare time, I also like……….
I don’t like……..
My favorite animal is……………
My favorite drink is…………
My favorite city is…………….

We will break it up sentence by sentence to understand how to translate each expression and how to express ourselves in correct Italian.

Let’s begin!

Hello, my name is…..

I’m quite sure you already know how to greet people in Italian: Ciao! Ciao is an informal way to greet people, therefore, you’ll use it with family, friends, or colleagues. You can use it both when you meet the other person and when you are saying goodbye to each other.

My name is, the literal translation would be il mio nome è + your name. However, it’s very unlikely that somebody will introduce himself in this way, a more natural Italian expression is

Mi chiamo

It comes from the reflexive verb chiamarsi, literally, to call oneself.
Here its conjugation:

chiamarsi

 

So we have:

Hello, my name is…. = Ciao, mi chiamo….

Useful questions:
Come ti chiami? = What’s your name?

 

I’m from……… (city/country)

To express where you are from, you can simply use the present tense of the verb essere (to be) + the simple preposition di.
So some examples could be:
sono di Milano, sono di Roma, sono di Venezia, sono di Firenze.

You can use the verb essere also to express your nationality. In this case you will have sono + adjective of nationality.
Some example:

sono tedesco/a
sono inglese
sono cinese
sono spagnolo/a
sono americano/a
sono indiano/a
sono francese

And so on…
If you are not sure how to say your nationality, here you can find a list.

To express where you are from, you can also use the verb venire (to come). It’s an irregular verb and its first person is vengo. Then you need a preposition. Yes here we are, one of your biggest fears: Italian prepositions. You have two possibilities:

  1. If you want to specify your city, you will need the preposition
    So some examples could be:
    vengo da Milano, vengo da Roma, vengo da Venezia, vengo da Firenze.
  2. If you want to specify your country, you will need one of the preposizioni articolate. Don’t be scared; just think about them as a beautiful marriage between an article and a simple preposition. So:

If the name of the country start with a vowel, you will have dall’:
vengo dall’Italia, vengo dall’Australia, vengo dall’Ecuador
and so on.

If the name of the country start with a consonant and it’s feminine, you will have dalla:
vengo dalla Francia; vengo dalla Cina; vengo dalla Colombia
and so on.

If the name of the country start with a consonant and it’s masculine, you will have dal:
vengo dal Senegal, vengo dal Belgio, vengo dal Libano
and so on.

Most names of countries in Italian are singular but we have some exceptions:

If the name of the country is plural and feminine, you will have dalle:
vengo dalle Filippine
.

If the name of the country is pluarl and masculine, you will have dagli:
vengo dagli Stati Uniti
.

How can you know the name of your country in Italian? Here you can find some of them Europa, America, Africa and Asia. It’s not a complete list but it’s a good start.

 

 

I’m from……… (city/country)=
sono di + city
sono + adjective of nationality
 vengo da + city
vengo dal/dalla/dall’/dalle/dagli + country

Useful questions:

Da dove vieni? = Where are you from?
Di dove sei? = Where are you from?
Da quale paese vieni? = What country are you from?
Da quale città vieni? = What city are you from?

Don’t miss the second part of the article!

Thank you for reading the article, if you find it useful, you could like it or leave a comment!

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