By Tom England
This is a simple little tip, so I will be brief.
As I make my way slowly toward being conversational in Italian, I try not to say. “Non parlo Italiano”. I have found that phrase to be a conversation stopper, not what I normally want.
Instead, these days I like to say:
“Sto imparando parlare italiano”
Or, “Sto studiando per parlare italiano.”
I might even throw in a “mi spiace, ma”
Suggesting that I am making an effort seems to elicit a more sympathetic response, usually a smile and a “piano piano.”
But never say never—I still sometimes use “Non parlo” with aggressive street hustlers or eager petitioners.