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Allora, Italiano -- So, Italian

Week 2, Episode 3

So you learned the letters, acquired some lexicon, understood basic grammar and pronunciation. What will now help you in a conversation to remember all this and use it? One more thing to learn—fillers. Fillers are the words that sometimes don't even have a meaning, they may add nothing to your idea, but you use them to get some time while you're collecting your mind and compose a nice sentence.

In English such words would be: you know, I mean, so, well, say, now, actually, etc. See, you need to know them. It make your speech sound more natural and not robot-like. Let's get to the Italian fillers? 

The following words are used in Italian to fill in conversations, and thus are common to hear as well as useful to know:

  • Allora = So, Well then (a versatile word!)
  • Cioè, Cioè a dire, Che dico = I mean
  • Insomma = So (literaly: to sum up)
  • Dunque = Therefore/Well then/So/Accordingly/Consequently
  • Poi = Then/Later
  • Diciamo = Let's say
  • Dopo = After
  • Dopotutto = After all
  • Ecco = There it is (mid-sentence: you know, opener: well, ALSO interjection: that's exactly it!)
  • Ma/Però = But (però is a bit stronger)
  • Anche = And also
  • Nel senso che = Meaning that
  • Ebbene = Well then (literally "and well...")
  • Inoltre = Besides/Moreover
  • In qualche modo = Somehow
  • Comunque = However/Anyhow (unque is roughly "ever/any"...so dovunque = wherever/anywhere, chiunque = anyone)
  • Quindi = Then/Therefore/So
  • Oppure = Otherwise/Or
  • Eppure = And yet/Still/Nevertheless
  • Guarda (Guardate) = Look...
  • Senti (Sentite) = Listen...
  • Vedi (Vedete) = See (You see,...)
  • Vediamo... = Let's see...
  • É che... = The thing is...
  • Come stavo dicendo... = As I was saying...
  • Voglio dire = I wanted to say...
  • Come dire... = How shall I put it...

It turned out, Allora is a favorite word of Italians, they use it all the time and in different situations. I liked the description of the word made by Linda Falcone in her article: "In Italy, when a person has no idea what to say, they usually start with allora. It buys them time. It’s as good an expression as any I suppose. Better than most, actually. Most words move within strict boundaries of meaning. Allora is well-versed on versatility. Adaptable as water, it conforms itself to almost any scenario. The dictionary will tell you that allora means ‘so’ or ‘thus’ but, in reality, the meaning of the word depends on who you are and how you say it."

And for those who can't wait to start use Italian, here are 10 short phrases for different occasions to keep conversation going.

 

Divertiti! (Enjoy!)

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