I think it is important for the software to give us the Italian at the same speed that we would normally hear it in conversation. We speak English rapidly and don't even realize it. I like that we can slow it down with the by clicking on the turtle icon. Even though you may not hear every vowel or consonant sound, believe me they are there, though possible abreviated in everyday speech. My experience with language is that my ear will adjust and tune in after awhile and once I get used to it, I do begin to hear and pronounce every sound properly. It just takes practice.
un, uno = masculine indefinite articles una, un' = feminine indefinite articles
I'm not sure if you're familiar with the definite articles il, la, lo, l', i, le, gli... but if you are, then you'd use un for masculine words that take il or l', uno for words that take lo, una for words that take la, and un' for feminine words that take l'.
If you don't know the definite article rules:
un = for masculine words that begin with either a vowel sound or most consonants (EX: un uomo, un libro)
uno = for masculine words that begin with z, s + another consonant, gn, foreign letters, and more rare letter clusters (EX: uno zoo)
una = for any feminine word that begins with any consonant (EX: una donna)
un' = for any feminine word that begins with a vowel (EX: un'automobile)
if you are supposed to use "un" when its masculine and "una" when its feminine, then how do you decide when to use them when you are talking about an object that has no gender? like a book has no gender so how do you know if you should use un or una? also, why wouldnt you say "una" or "uno" because the first letter of "libro" is "l" which is a consonant and isnt una/uno supposed to be used for consonants? can someone please tell me when to use un and una.
I just answered this for someone else, so I'll copy and paste here:
un = for masculine words that begin with either a vowel sound or most consonants (EX: un uomo, un libro) uno = for masculine words that begin with z, s + another consonant, gn, foreign letters, and more rare letter clusters (EX: uno zoo, uno gnu) una = for any feminine word that begins with any consonant (EX: una donna) un' = for any feminine word that begins with a vowel (EX: un'automobile)
As for the gender question, you seem to have a slight misunderstanding of what gender is in the Italian language. Every noun in Italian is gendered... technically, yes, a book is not a man nor a woman, but in Italian, it's masculine. You'd always say "il libro" or "un libro" and NEVER "la libro" or "una libro." Similarly to how "zuppa" is feminine, you'd always say "la zuppa" and never "lo zuppa."
Most words that end in o are masculine, most words that end in a are feminine, and words that end in e or a consonant (words ending in consonants are more than likely foreign words and therefore assigned masculine by default) can be either.
"Lei" means "she," "lui" means "he." "Lei" also means "you" in a formal setting.
Lei scrive = She writes Lui scrive = He writes
Tu scrivi = You write (to someone you know well) Lei scrive (same as EX1) = You write (to someone you may not know, or perhaps someone you only know on a professional level, like a boss)
There are two ways to distinguish between when "lei" means "she" and when "Lei" means "you":
1) This way only works in writing and also doesn't always work, as words are always capitalized at the beginning of sentences in Italian and the subject usually comes first, but "lei" with a lowercase l strictly means she and "Lei" with a capital L means "you" (but it could mean she at the beginning of a sentence)
Io scrivo, lei scrive = I write, she writes Io scrivo, Lei scrive = I write, you write Lei scrive = she writes OR you write
2) Context. Context, context, context. Especially in spoken Italian where there is no phonetic difference between uppercase and lowercase letters. Perhaps in seeing a sentence like "Lei scrive un libro" you may not know whether it means "she" or "you," but in spoken language you'd be able to tell. Are they talking AT you? They mean Lei as in you. Are they talking TO you? They mean lei as in she.
Hope this helps.