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I'd like to start this discussion to crowd source rules for words like: i, gli, le, la, etc. I understand that i replaces the o for a plural masculine, and e replaces the a for plural feminine, but wanted to know why "gli uomini" is used when "i ragazzi" is used. Is it just in the case of a vowel at the beginning of a word?
uomo/uomini is irregular, so don't use it as a guide.
a e (fem words)
o i (masc words)
e i (either) (note that words ending in zione are always fem)
For the definite article (il/la)
la le (for most words)
l' le (for words that start with vowels)
la donna/le donne
l'acqua/ le acque
il i (for most words)
lo gli (for words that start in s+consonant or z)
l' gli (for words that start in vowels)
il ragazzo/i ragazzi
lo zucchero/ gli zuccheri
I think that's the major ones. That article linked below looks useful too.
hm, it got rid of my nice formatting. Oh well, I think the post is still usable.
Thanks quetzal, very useful!
Thanks a bunch! I was also confused about the i/ gli thing
Can we have Duolingo have some lessons that actually explains this too instead of having to go look it up ourselves? I'm just trying to learn by what I've seen come before words before but have no clue what the actual rules are.
i think that defeats the purpose of the program. programs like Rosetta Stone and DuoLingo aren't meant to be replacements for a classroom environment. they are designed for quick learning. if you want to learn the anatomy of the language, you'd have to take an actual class, or like you say, look it up yourself. it's just the way the program is designed
Agreed. There are great tips in the german course. Duolingo does support that.
"gli" is used before masculine plurals starting with vowels, "s+consonant", or "z".
The latter two rules for "gli" also apply for when to use "lo" and "uno" for singular masculine words.
I think GLI is also used for nouns starting with a vowel (so L' in singular)
true, but only the masculine form of l' works. I mean, l' also applies to feminine nouns like..."amica"(=friend) so it becomes in singular form la amica---> l' amica. But in plural form, since it's feminine, it must be "le amiche" (le because that's the only feminine plural form you'll have)
V. good point, Heppsi. Thanks for clarifying that: it's all logical really, once someone explains it clearly.
All the comments below are very useful but I agree that I would like to have a "help" link in duolingo that would take me to a site where I could find rules or conjugation of verbs.
I second that!
I thought the 'Explain' button did do this to a reasonable degree at one stage during the unit. I certainly understood how it worked from that, 'though it may not have been clear re difference between masc. and fem. Heppsi cleared that up for me (but could have been my lack of attention to the Duolingo explanation that was at fault).
Yes, I need some rules too. I found some explanation here but would like to see what others say. I also ordered the Practice Makes Perfect Italian Grammar book to get started. They had great workbooks for Spanish.
Although the app has some explanation now, I REALLY appreciate this article you posted!
That link also contains useful stuff about pronouncing Italian - especially how to determine the syllables. I use it often and have found no other comparable resoruce .
I'll second that - practice makes perfect for spanish was by far the best book I have seen for learning a language. Hopefully the Italian one is just as good.
Don't think so. The best book for Spanish is definitely Gramática basica del estudiante de español (GBE). That's a real one written by Spaniards themselves. http://www.amazon.com/Gram%25e1tica-b%25e1sica-del-estudiante-espa%25f1ol/dp/0131598708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8
Hi, I am going to post here my understanding of the REGULAR rules but I am just a learner as well.
In italian, nouns and articles can be masculine or feminine , and singular or plural. That is probably fairly obvious to almost everybody. Which might be not so clear, depending on the language you come from, is that the grammatical number and gender of the article and the number MUST match.
If a singular noun ends in:
o -> is masculine
a -> is feminine
e -> is used for both
What is important here is that the nouns ending in -o or -e in singular, end in -i in plural. And the nouns ending in -a in singular, end in -e in plural.
singular -> plural
-o -> -i
-e -> -i
-a -> -e
albero (tree) -> alberi (trees)
canne (dog) -> canni (dogs)
notte (night) -> notti (nights)
mela (apple) -> mele (apples)
So far you might be confused that nouns ending in -e migth be singular masculine or feminine, or plural feminine as well. How do you know which one is it?
Here is where is good to know that the gender and the number of the article and the noun MUST match.
So if we have a noun ending in -e with a singular feminine article, we can be sure the noun is singular feminine as well. (la notte)
But here's the trick about articles: There's only one feminine (la) singular article but two masculine (il, lo). How do we know which one to use? Let's see the case for each one:
il -> it's used with words that begin with a consonant with a "simple" sound
lo -> it's used with words that begin with a vocal (as "h" doesn't have sound it is included here as well) or a "complex" sound
la -> It's used always with a singular feminine noun
Simple sounds are related with words starting with b,c,d,f,g,m,n,p in a "simple" way.
Complex sounds are the ones like:
x -> xilofono (xylophone)
y -> yogurt (yoghurt)
ps -> psicologo (psychologist)
pn -> pneumatico (tire)
sch -> schivo (disgust)
str -> straniero (alien)
sq -> squalo (shark)
z -> zio (uncle)
To avoid repeating sounds when you use "lo" or "la" and the noun starts with a vocal (a,e,i,o,u) sound, you MUST place an apostrophe an omit the vocal of the article and read both article and noun as just one word. This applies only for SINGULAR
lo + albero = l'albero
la + acqua = l'acqua
Now, How to know when to use each plural articles?
If it is the noun is feminine it must use the article "le"
If it is the noun is masculine, check wheter the singular version of the noun uses "il" or "lo" and use the corresponding plural article.
The singular article turns into plural:
il -> i
lo -> gli
il cavallo -> i cavalli
lo squalo -> gli squali
Remember DON'T use the apostrophe with plural articles.
Hope I haven't been confusing and remember these are the regular cases which you can use usually but there are some exceptions...
Very well, cane with only one "n" (cane/cani) not (canna/canne English cane/canes).
yes, but remember NOT ALL singular nouns ending -a are feminine, and I think same goes for those ending -o, which may not all be masculine (but I can't remember any examples of this latter). hope I've got that right.
I spent many years taking courses in French 'rules'...trust me, it's better to learn intuitively by repetition. The rules will confuse you and in Romance languages there are many many irregular verbs. These have to become second nature anyway.
True but it's nice to have a general rule to go by instead of just randomly guessing.
I can't necessarily agree, sonia48 (like the user name!). I learnt French by rules of grammar (and repetition), and it is by far my strongest language. A lot depends on circumstances: time available (rules can help a lot if time is short), opportunities for 'exposure' to the language (can one immerse oneself in it for a time?); and on the individual - we're all different. But if one cannot be surrounded by the language for any period of time, I think rules really do help, as you don't need to have heard e.g. every form of every verb to be able to work out the different forms of various verbs for yourself. To each his own way of learning...
I don't know if you'll see this but it might help someone else. I take Italian high school and we have a silly saying for remembering (there CAN BE exceptions)
Old -> Italian Ragazzo-ragazzi
Aunts -> Eat Donna-donne
Everything -> Insight Leone-leoni
Hope that helps you with the rules for pluralizing words! Remember, words ending in -a are almost always feminine, except for words like cinema (most borrowed words from English are masculine) and other Italian words, most words ending in -o are masculine, except for some words like la foto (this is because la foto is shortened from la fotografia, but there are other words that have not been shortened that are fem but end in o) and -e can be either, so those you have to learn but the article will usually tell you (like il leone is masculine). We often used All women, Others men, Every gender to remember. Words ending in -zione are always feminine.
Hope that helps a bit!
"gli" is used before a vowel or _s_ impure like s+t, s+p (lo specchio > gli specchi mirror). Just use the link, it is complete.
There is more information at http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare123a.htm.
Nouns ending in consonants (eg film) stay same in plural: il film/i film; la photo/le photo
Feminine-noun ending -ca changes to -che in the plural. For example: amica/amiche
bianco also chnages to bianchi. Not sure how general that is
And there is more:
If the word ends in "go" "ga" or "ca" the same rules apply. However you must insert the letter "h" before the final vowel/
targa -> targe -> tareghe
albergo (hotel) --------> albergi --------> alberghi (hotels)
Also if the word ends in an accented letter then do not change it in the plural1 caffè = one coffee but 2 caffè = 2 coffees.
This from http://www.lifeinitaly.com/italian/formation-of-plural
I tried to make the plural of l'uccello as gli uccelli, but I was told it was wrong. I was given the "correct" form as "degli uccello"...why? What's the difference between "gli" and "degli"? When should I use one instead of the other?
gli uccelli = the birds;
degli uccelli = OF the birds
very well explained on that link
Geez, I posted exactly the same link but didn't notice you had already done so.
Nice cheat sheet here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/language_notes/il.html
what is the difference between gatte and gatti?? gatte ii the plural of la gatta and gatti is the plural of il gatto??( i am Greek and it is more difficult to me to translate first in greeks and then in English. )
"il gatto" is the male cat, "la gatta" is the female cat; "le gatte" is the female plurals; "i gatti" is both, male and mixed plural.
"il gatto" è il gatto maschio, "la gatta" è il gatto femmina; "le gatte" il plurale femminile; "i gatti" è il plurale maschile e si usa anche come plurale misto (gruppo di gatti e gatte). In inglese non si usa fare la distinzione tra maschile e femminile quindi si usa sempre cat, cats.
Spero di esserti stato utile.
Duolingo really need to provide lessons on article rules - mentioning the irregular ones as well.
here's a good you tube link. he teaches a little fast but the vids are good,
search for his other grammar basics, 1-4, reflexive verbs, etc. hope it helps..