"What do you read?"

Translation:Cosa leggi?

January 4, 2013

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I wanted to know the difference between "cosa' and "che" when using both in questons


Someone can correct me here, but usually "che" is not used as "what", at least when I use it or my husband and his family are speaking. (They're Italian). "Cosa"? Is "What?", and sometimes they use "Che cosa?" to mean "What is it?" So "che" is used as an emphasis. But no one ever says "Che legge?" to mean "What are you reading?" or "Che fai?" to mean "What are you doing?" It's always "Cosa legge?", "Cosa fai?", "Cosa mangi?" etc.


Actually "che leggi", "che fai" are a very common way to say "what do you read?","what do you do/are you doing?". I am not 100% sure but i think it is just a short form for "che cosa". It also sounds less formal, if anything.


Muttley, 'che fai?' or 'che leggi?' is very common only in some Italian regions (mainly central Italy), it is informal and I don't think it can be considered 'standard' Italian.


You are right, but it can be acceptable. If you stay in Rome, ...CHE FAI? means "what are you doing" (You hear something that sonds like "cheffai" in tipical roman accent :-) ) In other lands you can also say COSA FAI ? I think language is changing, many times people try to semplify...

P.S. Sorry for my poor english


Ok. You are right, this is not as easy as i tried to describe. As you can read from "L'Accademia della Crusca": ... L'oscillazione tra che, che cosa e cosa (per eliminazione di che, indotta dal fastidioso ripetersi del suono iniziale) è di antica data: dall'inizio del '600 si attesta l'uso del semplice cosa. I live in the north of Italy and we use only cosa/che cosa when we ask questions, never 'che'. Thank you for the link, it was very interesting.


You're welcome :-)
The issue is what we perceive as correct and what is actually grammatically correct. Italian is quite a new language as, up to 50-60 years ago, it was confined to the literary milieu, with dialects being widely used. Then TV came and spread it nationwide. Yet the local dialects did not die and amalgamated with it to form the many forms of "italiano regionale" (Ex. Italians form the northen part of the country never use the passato remoto; Italians from the southern part use tenere for avere or uscire as transitive. Ever tried to speak with someone from Tuscany? ;-) ).
It is this "italiano regionale" and its peculiarities that we have to deal with and must take into consideration (possibly tone down) when teaching the language to foreigners.

  • 1695

It may be disputable, but some linguists think that various Italian dialects are in fact separate languages.


sounds logical. thanks


I am italian we can say with the same meaning:

Che cosa.... ?

Che.... ?

Cosa... ?

These are three way to say WHAT

Using one insted of the others is just to give more strength or not to what you're asking

We have also the word QUALE or QUAL, this can be translated with both WHAT or WHICH. It depends on that not always different languages uses the same word to word translation in same situations


Why is "Cosa tu leggi?" wrong?


"In questions beginning with an interrogative word, the subject is usually placed at the end of the sentence."


Therefore "Cosa leggi tu?" should be accepted as correct (but not "Cosa tu leggi?"). I haven't tried it to see if they accepted it though.


Cosa leggi= What do you read? Cosa leggi TU?= (I usually read novels, and you?) What do YOU read?


Yes, you only use the words "io", "tu", "lui/lei" etc. if you want to highlight them


the subject should be expressed only when required. Here "Cosa leggi" is all that's required. Using explicit subjects when they can be inferred from the sentence (Italian is a very redundant language) sounds very unnatural.


Also, sometimes placing the subject at the end of the sentence is used for stress/emphasis. ie, "che dici tu!?" vs. "cosa mangi?"


why is "cosa leggi" wrong?


"Cosa leggono i ragazzi?" was correct. Why "Cosa leggi tu" isn't?


it isn't incorrect, in fact they do this often in Italy (place the subject at the end). I don't know why they didn't accept it.


Because the pronoun is not required. In facts, it would incorrect in this sentence. Please check other comments on this page about the use of pronouns for emphasis.


Che? Where did that come in?


"Cosa tu leggi?" should be accepted. It is more formal, and Italians are pretty relaxed with their language (they hardly ever use pronouns to be honest), but "Cosa tu leggi" is absolutely correct. There is NO reason for that answer to be rejected. And it would be "Cosa leggi tu?" also. ("Cosa leggi" already means "What do you read?" But there's no reason you can't invert the word order....)


Subject pronouns are not used in italian unless there is a reason to. So if you say "cosa tu leggi" (by the way, if it is a question, the pronoun should go after the verb) then there is a strong emphasis on the "tu" and should be conveyed in English by putting more focus on the "you", such as "What is that you read?". "Cosa tu leggi" would be used in a sentence like "Cosa tu leggi non mi interessa" (strong emphasis on the "tu").


I put "Che cosa legge?" and it was accepted.


What is the difference between Cosa and Qual, please?


Cosa = what, Qual = which


Why is cosa leggi not acceptable


"Che" has not been introduced at this point (in my DL) and "you" could just as well be singular, so I don't understand why "Cosa leggi" was considered incorrect!


Interesting. Duo has accepted my answer (Cosa leggi?), it only offered another correct solution (Che leggete?).


leggi and leggete...are both acceptable?


What is the difference between "che" and "cosa"?


I wrote "Cosa tu leggi," as did dmmaus. I understand that the subject pronoun is not required, but why is it wrong to include it here?


What is wrong with "Cosa fare tu leggi" ?


You don't need the verb "fare". What you're saying is, "What to do you read?".


Thanks, that helped a lot & now makes sense to me.


Isn't "Cosa legge?" a formal way of 'what do you read?'? If not, what is the right formal form of this question?


Why is "Che legge?" translated by Duolingo as one alternative for "What do you read?" (this question is given as "tick all the correct answers"). Why is it not "Che leggi?"?


In English "you" is used for both formal and informal sentences (i.e. questions), while in Italian we use the third person (singular) when speaking to someone we want to pay respect to (a professor at Uni, a potential customer/supplier, etc.). Therefore, I think in this case Duo means, for example: "Cosa leggE (professor)?" instead of: "Cosa leggI (my friend)?" I hope this helped! :)


This is my question, too!


"What do you read?" is translated as "Cosa legge?" or "Che cosa legge?". But both translations mean "What does s/he read?". The correct third option "Che cos' leggi tu?" is said to be wrong. I'm lost here.


Whenever you see 'you' in English, you need to keep in mind that it can represent 3 different things in Italian:
1) 'you' second person singular as in 'Mark: you are reading a book'. In Italian: tu (Mark: (tu) leggi un libro).
2) 'you' second person plural as in 'Mark and Mary: you are reading a book' (also, "y'all"). In Italian: voi (Mark e Mary: (voi) leggete un libro).
3) 'you' used when addressing a person in a formal/courtesy way as in 'Mr Smith: you are reading a book'. In Italian: Lei (Signor Smith: lei legge un libro).

English makes no distinction among these 3 kinds of 'you' but Italian does. The context will tell you which one applies.

Re. Che cos' leggi tu?: Italian doesn't really use pronouns with verbs as the subject is already expressed by the verb conjugation (I put them in brackets for clarity in the sentences above. In real life you would not use them). Therefore the correct sentence would be Che cosa leggi? (also: cos' is not correct in front of leggi)


So, here the formal way is used. Thanks a lot Muttley.


Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Narnia.... Did I mention Lord of the Rings?


Why isn't it 'Che leggi'?


Obviously as it gives no indication of singular or plural, couldn't it be leggi?


Did you read the comments?

Che leggi = what do you [informal[ read? Che leggete = what do you [all] read? Che legge = what do you [formal] read


Why not che cosa leggete


What is the main difference here between 'Cosa leggi?' and 'Che leggi?' (My textbook says 'che cosa' means 'what', but here, according to Duolingo, we can separate the two words.)


The first hint was che cosa Thats what I wrote and was marked wrong.. Iost a heart


It didnt indicate singular or muli for 'you'


Won't the phrase 'cosa leggi' work?


From the Neapolitans in my town (father also) ive always heard "che fai?" Never "cosa fai?" Or another i hear at the coffee shops is "che cosa?"


why che is suddenly what? I am confused


There was no cosa as an option for me only cos'

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