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You go to Italy after months of learning and practicing Italian.
Your very first conversation in Italian is with the guy selling train tickets at the airport in Rome.
You ask him for two tickets to Rome, and he answers you in English, complete with a bored look on his face.
You shake it off, confident that your next conversation will be full of Italian (proverbs, flowery phrases, the whole deal).
When it happens with the barista at the bar next to your hotel, you order two cappuccinos, and they answer you with the price in English.
And so it goes, happening again and again and again.
So when that happens, what can you do to maneuver the conversation back to Italian so you can put your long hours of study to use?
Here are 4 phrases for curving the conversation back to Italian
— Scusi, ma vorrei parlare in italiano, se possibile. – Excuse me, but I would like to speak in Italian, if possible.
— Scusi, ma sto imparando l’italiano, quindi vorrei fare pratica. – Excuse me, but I’ve been learning Italian, so I would like to practice.
— Come mai parli l’inglese così bene? (Face in amazement) – How come you speak English so well?
— Parli benissimo in inglese! Ti andrebbe bene se continuassimo a parlare in italiano? – You speak English really well! Would it be okay if we were to continue speaking in Italian?
And here 5 funnier, less polite ways to ask to speak in Italian. (This is just for humor. Please don’t actually use these.)
— Basta con l’inglese! – Enough with the English!
— Stai zitto. Parlami in italiano! – Shut up. Speak to me in Italian!
— Non vorrei sentirla parlare in inglese. – I would not like to hear you speak in English.
— In questo momento, vorrei darle uno schiaffo, perché mi sta parlando in inglese. Stavo aspettando questo momento da anni! (Yelling) – Right now, I would like to slap you for speaking to me in English. I’ve been waiting for this for years!
— (Surprised, shocked face) Che lingua sta parlando!? – What language are you speaking?
Remember, it usually isn’t about you.
When someone hears you speaking Italian and they switch to English, it could be for a variety of reasons.
— They see that you’re struggling and want you to feel more comfortable.
— They’ve been learning English and really want to practice.
— They’re used to speaking English with tourists, so they switch to English out of routine.
Remember, there are always reasons for an Italian choosing to speak in English, so try to get out of your head about how you probably sounded bad or said the wrong thing.