Telling Anecdotes in Italian: Useful Expressions

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Cinzia Lazzariniİtalyanca
18 Mayıs 2016
1885
4 dakika
Have you ever been in a situation where you want to tell something interesting that happened to you and you know exactly what to say in your head (it’s easy in our own language, isn’t it?) but, when you try to say it in Italian, your tongue seems to instantaneously tie itself into a big knot? As you probably already know, in any language it is very important to be able to tell a story or an anecdote and respond to it. This article is an action-packed collection of useful Italian expressions to kick-start your fluency improvement routine.

How to Tell Your Story

Ok, you have an incredible story to tell your Italian friend and you really want to be understood and sound natural. How can you do that? Well, first of all your story should be quite short and with simple grammar so that it is easy to follow. When telling a story, it is very important to try using sequencing and linking words, which show the chronological sequence of events. Here are some examples:

|Italian version | English equivalent |
| :---------- | :---------- |
| Anzitutto / per prima cosa (ho fatto la valigia) | First of all, I (packed my suitcase) |
|Dopo, (ho controllato di avere tutti i documenti) | Then, (I checked I had all my documents) |
| Prima di fare la valigia, (ho cambiato dei soldi) | Before that, (I changed some money). |
| Dopo (aver cambiato dei soldi, sono andata a bere un caffè) |After (changing some money, I went to the bar for a coffee) |
| Poi (ho chiamato un taxi per l'aereoporto) | Then (I called a taxi for the airport) |
| Più tardi (mentre ero bloccata nel traffico mi sono resa conto che…) | Later / Later on (when I was stuck in traffic, I realised that…) |
| Ma prima di tutto ciò (avevo controllato la mia prenotazione) | But before all that (I double checked my reservation) |
| Alla fine (sono arrivata all'aereoporto ma in quello sbagliato e per un volo che non sarebbe partito fino al giorno dopo!) | Finally (I arrived at the wrong airport for a flight that didn't leave until the next day!) |

Setting the context

Imagine that you are watching the first scene of a movie. Where does it take place? Who are the principal characters? When you tell a personal anecdote, strive to create a “movie-like” experience, planting your audience deeply into the moment. This basically means that you should provide a brief background to lay the foundation of your story so that your listeners can imagine themselves in the situation and really synchronize with you.

|Italian version | English equivalent |
| :---------- | :---------- |
| Be' è stato un po' di tempo fa | Well, it was a while ago |
| Conosci (una persona o un luogo)? | Do you know (person or place)? |
| Hai presente la casa rossa vicino alla mia? | Do you know the red house near mine? |
| Ti ricordi di quella volta che sono andata in vacanza in Sardegna? | Do you remember that time that I went on holiday in Sardinia? |
| Sarà stato circa due anni fa | It must have been about 2 years ago |
| Be' lo sai che avevo prenotato un volo per l’Alaska, no? | Well, you know I bought a flight to Alaska, right? |


Telling the story

Imagine you are a movie director, moving your camera and tracking the movements of a character or zooming in on an object. Frame your story, take the listener on a journey and unleash your creativity! And most importantly, experiment with new expressions and words and have fun with it! Here are some suggestions to help you develop your story.

|Italian version | English equivalent |
| :---------- | :---------- |
| Be', eravamo a casa | Well, we were at home |
| Praticamente / in pratica (stavo andando a lavoro, quando improvvisamente) | Basically I was on my way to work, when all of a sudden |
| Ho notato che / Mi sono resa conto che (una persona mi stava seguendo) | I noticed that/ I realised that (a person was following me) |
| Era una donna strana; mi ha fermato e mi ha chiesto | It was a strange woman; she stopped me and she asked me |
| E per qualche motivo | And for some reason |
| Pensa che proprio in quel momento ha iniziato a piovere, che sfortuna! | Consider that, right in that moment, it started raining, tough luck! |
| E di colpo, mi sono girato e ho visto questa donna vicino a me | And suddenly, I turned around and I saw this woman next to me |
| Allora io le ho detto | Then I said to her |
| Ti immagini? | Can you imagine? |
| Ho pensato che fosse un po' strano | I thought it was a bit strange |
| E poi, dopo essersene andata | And then, after she went away |
| Non potevo crederci! | I couldn’t believe it! |
| E comunque | and by the way |
| Per fortuna avevo il cellulare con me | Luckily, I had my mobile with me |
| È successo tutto così in fretta | It all happened so quick |
| Alla fine sono arrivato a casa | Finally I got home |
| È stato come in un film | It was like in a movie |


Telling stories is the most powerful way to improve your communication skills. To boost your confidence and get used to speaking fluently in Italian, practise talking about your personal anecdotes in front of a mirror. Say every sentence out loud to yourself and focus on speaking fluently instead of correctly. Even if you have nobody to talk to in Italian, you can still build confidence and master fluency on your own time.



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--- I WILL BE ON MATERNITY LEAVE UNTIL DECEMBER, I WILL RESUME WORK AFTER CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS, THANK YOU--- I have a Master Degree in teaching Italian a BA in Spanish, English and Armenian Studies and a CELTA certification. I have been teaching Skype-based classes for more than five years now counting more than 2,000 online lessons taught. Do you want to speak Italian but you get nervous when initiating a conversation? Did you try many apps and books but you don't know how to find the courage to talk to people or you feel frustrated that you can’t say things precisely the way you want to? Or maybe you are an intermediate or advanced students and you want to build your vocabulary, reduce your accent, reinforce your grammar and know more about Italian culture? I can help you improve and become more confident. You can speak from day 1, and become fluent in 6 months! My online classes combine a dedication for learning, friendship, humor and motivation that helps my students succeed. I've been teaching Italian Online and in person since 2012. I taught Italian in the UK, China, Germany and Italy. I hold a BA in English, Armenian and Spanish Studies, a MA in Teaching Italian to Foreigners and a CELTA certificate. This isn't my hobby, it's my full time job, and I make sure that my students get results like this: 'Learning a language can be intimidating, but Cinzia excels at putting you at ease. She has a strong understanding of both English and Italian, and feels equally comfortable with everyday conversation as well as the nitty-gritty of grammar. Highly recommended!' Brandon Carl united estates Once you schedule your lesson, I will send you a questionnaire so that I will know your level of Italian before we meet. Then, before our lesson, I will send you the link to a googledoc with your Italian Action Plan and we'll discuss how you can use Italian in a way that you will enjoy, every single day. During your first lesson we'll determine your oral ability and we will talk about the areas that you need to improve. Even if you decide not to take lessons with me, the trial will give you an excellent idea of where you need to get better! Missed class policy : unless 24 hours notice is given I do charge students for missed classes. Late / no show policy: if you have not contacted me to tell me that you will be late I will wait online for 10 mins Follow me facebook.com/LazzariniCinzia. My website http://cinzialazzarini.wix.com/home Important! Please contact me before you book as I work on other websites and I need to organize my calendar. Many thanks!

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