The Italian verb "piacere" has a construction different than the one used for the English verb "to like".
- A me piacciono le fragole = I like strawberries
- Le fiabe piacciono ai bambini = Childrens like fairy tales.
In the previous examples, "il cibo", "le fragole" and "le fiabe", are the subjects of the respective Italian sentences, but in English they are the direct objects.
I also am curious why the sentence does not follow the format given in the bubble example that popped up -- it said that Jane likes John should be written basically as John is liked by Jane. But this sentence does not follow that -- it's not written "the food is liked by the cat." So it tells you one thing and then does the opposite, which leaves me very confused.
For those of you who don't quite get this sentence, maybe this will help you:
In Italian, the act of liking is not performed by the person who likes the object, but by the object that is liked. Think of it this way: the verb piacere literally means to please. This way, the English sentence works exactly like in Italian, but with one little detail: to please needs the preposition "to" in Italian, which is "a" (a+il=al). Let's see it:
-The food pleases TO the cat. -Il cibo piace al gatto.
-TO the cat, pleases the food. (More natural in English: To the cat, the food pleases). -Al gatto piace il cibo.
Both ways work in Italian.
Please keep in mind I'm not a native Italian speaker, please some body let me know if I said something wrong.
I answered "the food is liked by the cat" and it was marked wrong. It looks passive to me, so why is the passive translation not accepted? In Latin there are plenty of verbs that use only an active form but are only translated as passive, and plenty that are only passive forms only translated as present. Any insight? Thanks.
"al" means "to the" and it changes, like other words used in a sentence if it's feminine, masculine, plural, etc, ie: "nel", "nello" The problem is, we didn't learn "al" yet, as far as I remember. So the sentence in English translates to, "the food is pleasing "TO THE" cat". It's one of those crazy things in Italian, so most sentences starting with, "the cat likes, or "the boy likes" starts with "al" if masculine singular. Here's the others used, "Ai", "Alla", "Allel" I hope that helps.
No, no, it's not like a deponent verb, which would be passive in form, active in meaning. "Piacere" is more like an impersonal verb. In fact, the Italian verb "piacere" comes from the Latin "placere" (to please) and the grammar of how it's used is just the same. (The Latin verb "placere" isn't technically an impersonal verb, but it's used like one most of the time.) If you want to say, "I like the food" in Latin, you say "cibus mihi placet" - literally, "the food is pleasing to me." The Italian construction is just the same. This Italian sentence, "Al gatto piace il cibo," literally says, "The food is pleasing to the cat," but it's idiomatically understood as, "The cat likes the food." That word "Al" is just a contraction of "a" (to) and "il" (the).
Also, I see you're learning Spanish on DuoLingo. The way "piacere" works in Italian is JUST like "gustar" in Espanol! :)
Hope this helps! (It's nice to see another Latin-buddy on here, too!)
Al gatto - "to the cat". The key to piacere and others similar to it is you have to change how you think. "The cat likes the food" becomes food is pleasing to the cat. Even though it is used to express what you like in italian, the actual meaning of the verb piacere is "to be pleasing to". Normal use in english to express like is "subject" like "object" - in this case, "the cat likes the food". In order to use piacere and other verbs like it, you must think about what it really means. "Al gatto" (to the cat) "piace" (is pleasing) "il cibo"(the food). This structure is "indirect object" piacere "subject". It took me a while to wrap my head around this, but the key is changing the way you think - not easy.
For remembering the ordering while still having it make sense in my English speaking mind, would it be sufficient to think of "piace" as "what's liked is?"
Example: "The cat likes the food" could be said as: To the cat * what's liked is * the food == Al gatto * piace * il cibo.
Probably the same as the difference between meal and food in English, which don't have the same purpose, but sometimes can be interchangeable.
Not interchangeable: I eat 5 smaller meals per day. vs. I eat 5 smaller foods per day.
Interchangeable: Your breath is awful! Was there garlic in your meal? vs. Your breath is awful! Was there garlic in your food?
Not interchangeable: Would you like just the burger or the meal? vs. Would you like just the burger or the food?
Interchangeable: I wouldn't share my food with a bum. vs. I wouldn't share my meal with a bum.
This is slightly off-track, but "piacere" is one of the few Italian verbs that absolutely requires the use of the personal pronoun with the verb; that is to say, "voglio" means the same thing as "io voglio", because the "io" is understood because of implicit verb agreement. No good with "piacere". You must state the personal pronoun with the verb. As far as I know, "io piacco" does not exist. The correct phrase for "I like" is, curiously enough, "mi piace", which would literally translate "me likes". Go figure...
That's almost correct, however a more accurate translation for 'mi piace' is "It is pleasing to me". You have to make yourself think a bit differently when using piacere, as what you would think of as the subject (me) and object ( for example book/books) are essentially reversed:
I like that book.
mi piace quel libro.
(To me) (is pleasing) (that book).
I like those books.
mi piacciono quei libri.
(To me) (is pleasing) (those books).
You can use piaccio (and piaci, below) however again, it's somewhat backwards as to how an english speaker would think:
Susan likes me.
Io piaccio a Susan ("I am pleasing to Susan")
Yet another way to think about piacere is that it is used with 'a', making the meaning "to be pleased to":
I like you.
Tu piaci a me. (Stressed form of "you are pleasing to me")
Tu mi piaci. (unstressed form)
Sorry for the long-winded reply, I hope this helps. Gah, and sorry for the formatting, as duolingo's editor wouldn't take my vertical formatting, squishing everything together.