What happened to Lei and Loro?
When I learned Italian at school (OK, it was a while ago), we were taught that it was disrespectful to use tu to anyone other than friends, family, children and animals. Instead, we were taught to use Lei and Loro (capital L) and the third person of the verb. The construction is similar to the very formal English construction of "Would Sir like to...". I have almost finished the English to Italian tree and have not yet found any mention of this usage. Has it fallen out of use? I am off to Italy in a couple of weeks and don't want to offend anyone by being too personal!
I believe the DuoLingo lesson you are looking for is entitled, "Formal You," which you will find in the third section of the Italian from English tree.
Have a fantastic time in Italy!
I expected to find it there, but didn't! Hence my question. I'll look at it again. Thanks, I am sure we will have a fantastic holiday.
So I did the Formal You module again and there it was. There must just have been an unfortunate selection of questions the first time I did the module. Thanks for the steer.
"loro" as a formal plural has never been much used to be honest and has definitely fallen out of use, i wonder who taught you that. Say "voi" instead (not necessarily capitalized by the way, unless you are writing a letter and want to sound very formal).
Well it was in the 1970s but my Italian textbook from 1985 also mentions it (although it does say that voi is perfectly polite)!
You should use Lei, that's true, but don't worry too much about offending someone, none will feel that way if a tourist doesn't address them formally, it's pretty common, instead they will probably apreciate that you can speak Italian.
Enjoy your time in Italy :)