Yes, I know them as "chocolate-covered bananas", or "chocolate-dipped bananas". This discussion is making me want some! http://www.marthastewart.com/312777/chocolate-covered-bananas
As a Portuguese native speaker, I am confused here. What does "banane al cioccolato" mean: 1) bananas with chocolate (chocolate covered bananas); 2) chocolate bananas; 3) it means both
Honestly, guys: in Portuguese (and it seems to me that in English it is the same), bananas with chocolate (P: bananas com chocolate / bananas ao chocolate) and chocolate bananas (P: bananas de chocolate) are different things.
Bananas with chocolate are the actual bananas dipped in chocolate, and a chocolate banana is a piece of chocolate in the shape of a banana (the substance is only chocolate).
"Banane al cioccolato" sounds to me more like "bananas with chocolate". However, considering the previous exercises in which you are supposed to translate "crema al cioccolato" as chocolate cream, I answered "chocolate bananas". I got it right and everything, but it still sounds weird to me that "chocolate bananas" is even THE correct answer.
I mean, perhaps "chocolate bananas" could be understood as the bananas dipped in chocolate in specific regions where the use of the language created the concept of a sweet called "chocolate banana" that is actually the banana dipped in chocolate... I haven't heard of such a case though...
I see a whole debate about this point, for me is so simple: there is a direct relation between chocolate and banana. I am not a native English speaker; but it pretty common to say like this: the chocolate cake, the red house, the English speaker. of course there is no need to add another linking word as for instance "of". So is pretty easy to catch the meaning.
I always thought it's hard to put an English definition on 'al' in general
'al' can mean many different things. Or perhaps it's English that has many ways of expressing the concept of 'al'.
al / ai most commonly means "to the" but certainly not always. My experience is that when translating back to English you just have to guess at what's the best way to express this concept. There is no "one-for-one equivalence" for al /ai unfortunately.
My thought process went like this... bananas al chocolate... probably means bananas covered in chocolate... lets go with chocolate bananas and see if Duolingo accepts that.
"Bananas with chocolate" is now a suggested translation, so I assume it's also accepted. "Bananas in chocolate" isn't, but I've reported it. I googled the phrase for clarification, and the first hit told me that it's "un film pornografico del 1986 diretto da Riccardo Schicchi". I assume that this won't make it onto the list of accepted translations ;-).
Bananas in chocolate would be 'banane nel cioccolato', and bananas with chocolate would be 'banane con cioccolato'. I mean, I see what you're saying, but it's trying to get you to think in Italian and structure your words and thoughts as Italian, rather than using English equivalents.
I think it is because they are joined with al, that cioccolato doesn't match its gender to banana.
I think the cioccolato is still a noun in this sentence because of the al (could be wrong on that part so don't quote me, I'm a bit rusty). But if it were an adjective it would directly follow the noun and then it would match the noun in gender and number. ie. le banane cioccolate (if this is a valid sentence - I'm not sure if cioccolato can be used as an adjective)
In my dictionary - cioccolata is a drink (ie. it means hot chocolate)
The one thing that is the most different even between closely related languages is how they use prepositions and other relational metaphors. Yes, "al" literally means "at the" or "to the" (and right away we see that it's not one-to-one: is it "to" or is it "at"? It can be either.) but the thing about idioms is that you just don't translate them literally.
In Italian food terms, "X al Y" can mean "Y-flavored X" ("gelato al caffè" means "ice cream-flavored coffee" or just "coffee ice-cream") or "X seasoned with Y" ("bistecca al pepe" means "steak seasoned with black pepper" or just "pepper steak"). And so "banane al cioccolato" means "chocolate bananas" (or as is more common in the USA, chocolate-dipped bananas).
Ask at your sweet shop, candy store or caramella negozio for http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.glickmans.co.uk%2Fshop%2Fimages%2Fproducts%2F41.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.glickmans.co.uk%2Fshop%2F12%2Fsub_2.htm&h=150&w=150&tbnid=CSdcTS7cJjxciM%3A&zoom=1&docid=dWJGdppGENa4hM&ei=L4QeVPChHrDd7QaZnIG4Cw&tbm=isch&client=ms-android-orange-gb&ved=0CB0QMygAMAA&iact=rc&uact=3&page=1&start=0&ndsp=9
Really the problem with all of this is that the idea of covering perfectly good fruit with chocolate is so vile that only DuoLingo would obsess about it. But if you must do it, then in UK English a 'chocolate banana' is a model of a banana made out of chocolate; a 'banana with chocolate' would probably be a banana with chocolate sauce, and a 'chocolate covered banana' would be a piece of confectionery, a banana completely surrounded with set chocolate. Needless to say, DuoLingo wouldnot accept such subtlety.
No, it does not mean both. Just as in English, Italian distinguishes between "they" and "there" with unique words that mean different things. When there is no pronoun, the basic "I/you/he/she/it/we/they" is implicitly assumed. If you want to say "there are ..." in Italian, you need to explicitly use the word that means that sense of "there," which is "ci".