"The dog drinks its water."
Translation:Il cane beve la sua acqua.
this looks interesting, it's translated as "it's water", but it has a female "sua" - this must be because acqua is female too.. But how do you know whom "sua" is referring too, I imagine this sentence could also be translated as "the dog drinks her water"?
Yes, "sua" is feminine and it gets its gender from "acqua". If it a was "libro" (masculine) it would be "suo". The possessives in italian get their gender form the object possessed, not from whom possess it. The same as in spanish and french.
And it cannot be translated as "her water" because it is "a dog" (male) not "a ❤❤❤❤❤" (female). I would be "her water" if it was "La cagna beve la sua acqua" = "The ❤❤❤❤❤ drinks her water".
You could say "My wife drinks her coffee" or "My husband drinks his beer", etc so you'd be able to get it from context apparently.
That is the usual form for Italian possessive adjective: definite article + possessive adjective. They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. There is some explanation plus a chart of each gender and number on this page: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare132a.htm
"Its water" vs "its own water." It's a similar distinction to the one in English.
I believe "Il cane beve la propria acqua" is now accepted, and I believe the "la" before "propria" is required.
As opposed to "la sua acqua," I think that "la propria acqua" serves nicely to clear up any ambiguity as to whose water is being consumed---if indeed the dog is drinking its own water. But! I am no expert with Italian, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Yes. In Italian, just as in English "Il cane beve la sua acqua/The dog drinks his water" is ambiguous and "Il cane beve la propria acqua/The dog drinks his own water" is clear.
As for the definite article being required, yes. The definite article is always required (with one notable exception: singular family members) for noun phrases: "la sua acqua"; "la propria acqua". It's only for pronoun phrases ("la sua" vs "sua") where both ways are acceptable.
Although having the definite article or not in the pronoun phrase changes the meaning a little bit. It's the difference between "this thing and not that other thing" is whoever's (including the definite article) and the thing belongs to "this person and not that person" (omitting the definite article).
"the dog drinks its water" translates to "il cane beve l'acqua sua". This avoids the Double A issue (sua acqua). Remember, in Italian, as mentioned by Dianne Hales in her book "La Bella Lingua", Italians make every effort to modify anything which may sound hard on the ears, everything has to roll off the tongue smoothly. "la sua acqua" does not sound as musical to the ears as does "l'acqua sua". Ok, I'll shut up now
I was a bit surprised that the sentence had sua in it, because doesn't that mean "him" or "her"
Not, it means "his", or "her(s)". In english, the choice of this word is based on the gender of the possessor: "The man has his beer. The woman has her beer". In italian, the choice is based on the gender of what is possessed: "L'uomo ha la sua birra. La donna ha la sua birra". Basically, out of context, it is impossible to determine the gender of the owner based on the possessive.
I know languages are not necessarily formed with efficiency in mind but.. is there any advantage to this?
The answer given, is not the way Italians speak. They would say, "il cane beve l'acqua sua", and not "la sua acqua"
Thank you!! That's what I wrote because that's what I hear but I was marked wrong.
I thought the Italian "acqua" had to be "l'acqua" and then "il suo acqua". Like for example "l'uomo". It would be "Il cane ha il suo uomo.", or I am wrong? PS: I am from the Czech republic, so I learn English and Italian too. So excuse me my question and explaination, I could not explain it better.
"acqua" is feminine in Italian, so it's "la sua acqua". The "la" contracts to "l'" before a vowel.
"The dog drinks its water." It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the water is the dog's.
That's exactly what the official answer is. Maybe you encountered a glitch.
I think the "vowel clash" rule only applies to a very small number of words.
Sua is feminine and suo is masculine, but they must agree with the thing possessed, not who possesses it. It doesn't matter that "il cane" is masculine. The important thing is that "l'acqua" is feminine, which is why it must be "la sua acqua".