How to make a phone call in Italian

Making a phone in Italian call can be daunting , even as a fluent learner. The lack of in-person contact and visual cues make it way more difficult than one on one conversation. On top of that, phone calls tend to be more impersonal and use a specific language. You don’t see the person, and you can’t read his gestures or face. 

Before you make your Italian phone call you should… 

Prepare For It

First things first, take some time to prepare for it beforehand. 

  1. Research the basic vocabulary for the call.
  2. Polite form or informal form? Make up your mind! In Italy, we use different conjugations and vocabulary depending on the person we are talking to. If you call your doctor or someone you don’t know, you should use the polite form. 
  3. Make your phone call in a quiet space – being on the phone in a foreign language can be quite stressful, make sure you won’t need to cope with background noise during your call.
  4. Use a paper to jot down the information that you are given, and use it to confirm that you understood the information correctly.  

How to Start a Phone Call In Italian 

When opening a call in Italian  we generally say “pronto” or “?”. The letter is more informal and colloquial. 

  • Pronto, sono [your name]
  • Pronto, sono il signor [your name] or la signora [your name]
  • Pronto, buongiorno / buonasera, sono [your name]

If you want to ask whether it’s a good moment for speaking, you shall say 

  • Sei libero in questo momento?  – Are you free right now? [informal]
  • E’ libero in questo momento? – Are you free right now? [formal]

 If you want to make sure you are speaking with the right person…you can ask

  • Parlo con [say the name]..? – Am I speaking with…?
  • Lei è [say the name]? – Are you..?

And then you stating your intent…

  • Sto chiamando per chiedere informazioni su…- I am calling to seek information about…
  • Chiamo per avere un informazione…- I am calling to seek information about…
  • Vorrei sapere se.. – I would like to know if 

Asking to speak with a specific person

  • Vorrei parlare con [name]
  • [name] in casa in questo momento? 

If you want to slow down the pace of you phone call or ask to repeat something, you should say…

  • Non ho capito bene, c’è un po’ di rumore Puoi ripetere, per favore? –  I didn’t catch what you said, there is a bit of noise. Can you repeat, please? 
  • Non sono sicura di aver capito,  può ripetere? – I am not sure I got you. Can you repeat, please? [formal] 
  • Non ti sento bene, puoi ripetere? – I can’t hear you, can you repeat?[informal]
  • Non la sento bene, può ripetere?- I can’t hear you, can you repeat?[formal]
  • Può ripetere l’ultima parte? – Can you repeat the last bit? 

Making sure you are on the same page with your counterpart.

  • Se ho capito bene […], giusto? – If I got it right […], right?

How To End A Phone Call In Italian 

Ending a call [informal settings]

  • Ciao ciao. 
  • Ci sentiamo.
  • A presto.
  • Un bacio.

Ending a phone call [formal setting]s in Italian 

  • Grazie, buongiorno
  • Grazie per [you name it], arrivederLa!
  • Grazie, arrisentirLa!

 Useful Italian phone vocabulary 

  • Il telefono squilla – the phone is ringing 
  • Digitare il numero – to dial a phone number 
  • Fare una chiamata – to make a phone call 
  • Il telefonino / il cellulare – the mobile phone 
  • La segreteria telefonica – the answering machine 
  • Il telefono fisso – the landline 
  • Riattaccare – to hang ip  
  • È caduta la linea – the line cut off 
  • Mettere gli auricolari – to put on the head-phones 

Cultural Insight 

Italians, especially during formal or professional phone calls, tend to keep the conversation straight and professional. Making small talk or asking someone who is not a friend or family “come stai” is not expected.  

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I’m Serena! I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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