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Language & Local Phrases in Milan

Discover key Milan local phrases

Updated

Italian is Milan's official language, spoken by everyone. As a popular international tourist destination, you may well find that in many restaurants, bars and hotels English is spoken.

Keyphrases & translations

If you decide to do some travelling into the surrounding, more rural villages or happen upon a restaurant off the beaten track then it's a good idea to brush up on your Italian! If you are driving through the area or through Italy to reach your destination then a few handy phrases to ask directions will be a good idea.

Below are a few words and phrases to help you get along.

General & Polite Conversation

  • si - si
  • no - no
  • hello - ciao
  • goodbye - arrivederci
  • good morning - buongiorno
  • good afternoon - buonasera
  • goodnight - buona notte
  • please - per favore
  • thank you (very much) - (molte) grazie
  • you're welcome - prego
  • How are you? - Come sta?
  • Fine - Bene
  • I don't understand -  Non capisco
  • Do you speak...? - Parla...?
  • English - inglese
  • Can you help me? - Mi puoi aiutare?
  • excuse me -  scusi

Accommodation

  • open - aperto
  • closed - chiuso
  • Do you have a room? - Avete una camera?
  • single room - camera singola
  • twin room - camera con due letti separati
  • double room - camera doppia matrimoniale
  • booking - prenotazione
  • with bath/shower - con bagno

Transport & Directions

  • airport - aeroporto
  • bus/bus stop - fermata dell'autobus
  • coach station - autostazione 
  • train - treno
  • railway station - stazione
  • platform - binario
  • timetable - orario
  • left-luggage locker -  deposito bagagli
  • car - auto/macchina
  • ticket office/ticket -  biglietteria
  • a single to... - biglieto di sola andata per...
  • return to... - biglieto di andata e ritorno per...
  • I want to go to... - Vorrei andare a...
  • Where is...? - Dove si trova...?
  • Over there -
  • Is it far? - É lontano?
  • left - a sinistra
  • right -  a destra
  • straight on - tutto dritto

Food & Drink

  • restaurant - ristorante
  • pub/bar - bar
  • breakfast - colazione
  • lunch - pranzo
  • dinner - cena
  • table - mesa
  • waiter - cameriere
  • waitress - cameriera
  • starter - antipasto
  • main course - secondo piatto
  • dessert - dolce
  • bill - conto
  • beer - birra
  • wine - vino
  • water - aqua
  • coffee - caffè

Money & Numbers

  • money (notes) - soldi
  • credit card - carta di credito
  • How much is it? - Quanto costa?
  • It's too expensive - É troppo caro
  • 1 to 10 - uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nove, dieci
  • 11 to 20 - undici, dodici, tredici, quattordici, quindici, sedici, diciassette, diciotto, diciannove, venti
  • 21 & 22 - ventuno, ventidue
  • 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 & 90 - trenta, quaranta, cinquanta, sessanta, settanta, ottanta, novanta
  • 100 & 200 - cento, duecento

History of the language

Both Italian and Milanese are Romance languages, descendants of Latin. Standard Italian is based in Tuscan, derived from the writings created in the central region of the country during the 12th century. Even if Italian was recognised as an official language of the Italian states before the unification in the 19th century, the country has always had distinctive dialects for each region, and even each city, which until recently were city-states.

Milanese, also known as 'Meneghino' (a traditional character in 'comedia dell'arte' associated with the city) is a dialect of Western Lombard language. It boasts a long literary history which can be stretched back to the 13th century with works by the mid 13th-century poet Bonvesin de la Riva, the 17th-century scholar Carlo Maria Maggi, or the renowned vernacular poet Carlo Porta, who wrote at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century.

History of Milan