So what about the time between morning and evening? Do Italians even say Good afternoon or Have a good afternoon?
As it turns out, no, they usually don’t. In fact, the expression Buon pomeriggio is now heard almost exclusively on the TV or radio and is considered quite formal.
Buon pomeriggio a tutti i nostri ascoltatori e ben ritrovati. Sono le quattordici e trenta e siamo in diretta su Radio Capital.
Good afternoon everyone, and welcome back. It’s half past two in the afternoon and we’re live on Radio Capital.
The reason Buon pomeriggio isn’t used all that much in day-to-day exchanges may be because Italians tend to think of the day in terms of daytime (light) and evening (dark). So in a sense pomeriggio isn’t necessary to define the day. On the TV and radio, however, buon pomeriggio may be more commonly used because it precisely defines the time of day of the broadcast.
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.