MichCooley: You got me! Seeing there was yet a-n-o-t-h-e-r comment on this, I almost didn't, but like our hapless turtle I decided to stick my neck out to see if it changed how most of us feel about the sentence or make me laugh: no on the former, yes on the latter. Allora tanta grazie da parte di un tifoso appassionato della tartaruga.
Angel509. Given the lack of a clearer context I don't see how you can say that. For example, a clearer context would be "La tartaruga non legge, perché non può," expressing ability, versus "La tartaruga non legge, perché non vuole," in which its preference is expressed. Both sentences could begin similarly with DL's original statement.
"...non lègge". I wrote the right accent on the vocal of the verb, because otherwise it might be confused with another identical word, légge, and that means Law, a completely different meaning. Actually the audio voice says légge inestead of lègge. In the latter, the è is pronounced more opened.
An accent can be optionally put on the stressed vowel in a word as a pronunciation hint; it indicates which vowel is stressed as well as which sound "e" and "o" represent. It's not mandatory as in French, but it's a nice tool when you have homographs or homophones, e.g. "àncora" (anchor) vs "ancóra" (again), or "déi romani" (some Romans, most commonly simply "dei romani") vs "dèi romani" (Roman gods).
The fact that "I've never heard of it spelled[...]" is not a Nature Rule, it's your personal opinion and in particular it's wrong. A lot of writers and even Italian on-line newspapers still do those basic mistakes, like writing perchè.
Since homographic words have different meaning and differ just from accents, it is mandatory, for the author, to write the word with the correct accent in order to avoid ambiguity.
An Italian native speaker can easily recognize the right word that is meant by the context (this doesn't necessarily mean that he is able to write it correctly). The native speaker ability to recognize those words doesn't justify the wrong use or the missing of accents.
Heathe5: To be precise 'cannot' and 'does not' express different ideas. Someone may be able to read, i.e., have that ability, s/he can in fact read, but does not because s/he chooses not to. On the other hand it's possible to say that someone does not read, meaning s/he lacks the ability to read i.e., cannot read. So your point I think is valid if that's what you were thinking. Not to complicate it any more than it is, but 'cannot' could express a prohibition, i.e., a lack of permission, e.g. 'one cannot read aloud (may not) since it'll disturb the others in the library." And so the person does not read. So given a clearer context the two may be synonymous or they might be different.
You have 2 conjugated verb forms: does and reads. With the auxiliary verb 'does' you need to use an infinitive form, so 'the turtle does not read." Another way of putting it is that if you remove the auxiliary verb, then you must use a conjugated form: "the turtle reads".
PattyAmato: The English is a bit ambiguous, the italian isn't (to my knowledge). In English 'does not read" can mean the turtle lacks the ability to read and also simply isn't reading despite having the ability. So when it's watching tv, e.g., it does not read. The Italian is simply stating the second of those possibilities. If it were saying what you suggest, it'd read: "...non puo' leggere" or " ... non riesce a leggere."
JudithMett2, there are three types of regular verbs in Italian and they end in -are, -ire or -ere. Mangiare - to eat, to have lunch has a different ending from leggere - to read, therefore the different endings. Please google Italian verb conjugations and you will go to a site where you can conjugate any Italian verbs. Hope this helps.
laurynlebr: True enough, but now at least you've learned the word "tartaruga" in case you're in italy and wish to order some turtle soup, e.g. and you know the word 'leggere' so you can tell the waiter you'd like a menu to read and you've learned 'non' so you can be negative. :-)
Sabro4: 'cannot read' means something slightly different, namely it means the turtle doesn't have the ability to read, which granted "does not read" could also mean. "Cannot read" might also imply it doesn't have permission to read. But 'does not read' could also imply in a better context that it doesn't read e.g. when it's watching tv or doesn't read a book, though it has the ability to, but rather listens to an audio book, etc. The two versions have slightly different meanings or uses depending on the context, though on the whole I'd have to agree with you.