Thursday, March 4, 2010

Buon Giorno/ Buonasera

Language in Naples
The official language of Italy and consequentially Naples, is Italian. The region of Campania, which Naples is the capital of, has a secondary language or dialect called Neapolitan. It is normal for people to switch back and forth between languages depending on who they are speaking to. Italian is used during business transactions, when meeting new people, in school and when speaking with someone distinguished. In a way it shows respect for the other person. 
Neapolitan is used amongst people who know each other well. In some instances, especially in smaller towns or amongst older people, Neapolitan is the only language spoken because it is also the only language known. What makes it even more interesting is that every small town has a different version of Neapolitan where the vocabulary and pronunciation is slightly different. Some versions of Neapolitan, such as Puzzulano (Neapolitan spoken in the town of Pozzuoli) or Cappellese (Neapolitan spoken in the small town of Cappella) are so different, they are hard to understand from one town to the next.

Common Phrases
Good Morning: Buon Giorno (before 1PM)
Good Evening: Buonasera (after 1PM)
Good Night: Buona Notte

Come Stai? :How are you?
Bene :Good

Come Ti Chiami? :What's your name
Mi Chiamo... :My name is...

Customs and Courtesies

When speaking to people they don't know well, Italians use the Second Person Plural title and verbs, called 'dare il lei' . This form of speaking is also used when speaking to older or distinguished people. For Example instead of asking "Come stai?" you would use the Second person  plural "Come state?". The opposite is 'dare il tu', using the second person singular for people you are familiar with or peers. In this case you would ask "Come ti chiami?" instead of "Come vi chiamate?"
1st Person Io (I)
2nd Person Tu (You)
3rd Person Egli (Him)

1st Person Noi (Us)
2nd Person Voi (You) 
3rd Person Loro (Them)

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