1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Parla al telefono con tua no…

"Parla al telefono con tua nonna!"

Translation:Talk on the phone with your grandmother!

January 4, 2014



In English the simpler "Call your grandmother" would be more likely used than the rather awkward "Talk on the phone with your grandmother!" but DL does not accept it. Another case where the literal translation produces an unusable result...


Except that there is a difference: "Call/phone your grandmother" means pick up the phone and dial the number, while "Speak to your grandmother on the phone" suggests an exasperated parent holding out the phone to a shy/rebellious child while Gran waits eagerly on the other side to hear the much-loved voice taking its turn to wish her a happy birthday!


The same difference can be found in Italian. "chiama!" is the imperative for "call/phone". In this case, "parla" suggests that the granny is waiting for the child to speak.


What a lot of interpretation you add! Speaking as the parent of one of those exasperating kids, I would still never include the phrase "on the phone" especially when holding out the phone. It would be redundant then, and superfluous in most other situations.


My 'Ring your granma' was also rejected... & no, I didn't mean throw a hoop over her head!


al telefono - by telephone was accepted two phrases ago. This time it was rejected. They want "on the telephone" This is a mickey-mouse distinction. They mean the same. And if they accept it once, why not this time? frustrated


Why in this instance does 'Parla' refer to 'You speak' or 'Talk'? My understanding is that this would mean 'He/She speaks'. Would someone mind clarifying?


I think the exclamation mark indicates that it's the imperative.


I also don't get how I can know the difference between the imperative 'talk' and 'he/she talks' when 'parla' is used in Italian. Surely the exclamation mark can't make the difference... Help!


Unfortunately, 1st conjugation verbs (-are) show no distinction between 2nd singular imperative and 3rd singular indicative present: "parla" can both mean "(you sing.) talk!" and "he/she/it talks". For 2nd and 3rd conjugation (-ere and -ire respectively), ambiguity is between 2nd singular imperative and 2nd singular indicative present: "dormi" can both mean "(you sing.) sleep!" or "you (sing.) sleep). For 2nd plural, imperative is the same as indicative present: "parlate"/"dormite" can be both, you can distinguish only by context.


Normally there would be a context which would indicate if it was imperative or not. DL seems always to use the exclamation mark to show the imperative. I think they are consistent with this (it's about the only thing that is consistent!).


The exclammation mark at the end of the sentence indicate the imperative in writing and the tone of voice when spoken, just as the question mark and the way the sentence is spoken indicate a question rather than a statement.


It's because it's in the imperative form, which is used to give orders. Read this article http://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa011900a.htm


Hmm - I would talk to someone rather than with them (British English) - Americanism?


Of course you (we) would. But gradually, very slowly, DL does eventually accept British English. If you come across examples of them still not doing so, you should report it.

  • 2410

As a Brit, or Commonwealth English speaker (except perhaps Canadian), it is generally better to leave a Duolingo course at least five years before tackling it. Otherwise, you'll be constantly marked wrongly for using correct English. ;-) The Italian course appears particularly slow in accepting or even anticipating anything beyond DuoAmericanisms.


What's wrong with "Your granny"


I think I saw someone comment that nonna isn't a term which has been (affectionately or informally) shortened, so (the comment concluded, roughly) grandmother (more formal) is the more appropriate translation. I think they gave another term for an affectionate shortening, but I don't remember it (unfortunately) because Duolingo hasn't presented it for contrast against grandmother in exercises.

So, nan, nanna, nanny, gran, granny, etc, might not ever be accepted.

Plus an observation on Duolingo's error reporting mechanism:

If no-one feeds back to us on the individual sentence threads why a particular translation might not be accepted, we really have no way of knowing that we are putting in an erroneous report. I said at the start of this: "I think I saw someone comment ..." but memory is infallible, and I'm not bilingual, so maybe I didn't see it - I don't want to make an erroneous error report, but until the fact is firmly fixed in my mind, shouldn't I report variants I think might be valid?


So is there an affectionate version of "nonna" that would translate as "granny", etc.?


I haven’t come across one in three years of regular Italian classes. Nonna is as short as it gets. They don’t seem to have the sequence grandmother, grandma, granny, nanna that English has. But for sure there are variants. Vecchia is mentioned as a disparaging version - meaning “oldster” (female).


nonnina seems to bè the "affectionate" Word


Otherwise, nonna is grandmother. Though i understand that others use gran, Granny, grannie, is grandmother not used? In US english, grandmother is the word i'd most often default to

nonna grandmother nonnina granny


I had a problem with that too in an earlier sentence - please report!


DL rejected Gran too :(


Too much worrying here whether DL should accept grandma, gran, granny, nanna etc. DL can't know all the dozens of local styles. (Thankfully my first hit "grandma" was accepted).


I don't see anything wrong with "talk to your grandmother on the phone"


Sounds perfectly good to me!


I answered : talk on phone with your granny. I was told it is not correct, but it is a familiar way of speaking! Granny =grandmother. It should be accepted!


Speak to your grandmother on the phone... is also correct!!


Talk to your grandmother on the phone means exactly the same thing, why is it not accepted?


Why in previous imperative exercises"parli" was the form of parlare used, but here it is "parla"? These confuse me enough as it is, can anyone explain if, or why, these are interchangeable, or if it's a duo mistake?


"Talk on the telephone with your grandma" was rejected


I listened to this multiple and could only hear "sua nonna". I was aware of the possibility it could be the imperative and thus "tua nonna", but with no expression in the voice and without an exclamation mark couldn't tell. Still sounded more like "sua nonna" to me.


Please report problems such as this one by using the "Report a problem" button when you encounter them during your lesson/practice. This will help the DL Italian crew improve things as efficiently as possible. Complaining about them here is not really useful, unless you are in doubt and clearly state a request for advice/discussion.


You shouldn't assume that I haven't reported it. I do as a rule report and did so in this case.


Then, by all means, feel free to make your comments such as the one above useful by including that information.




What's wrong with "... Nan"?


Nothing. You should report it if it wasn't accepted.


Have done. Cheers.


"You talk on the telephone with your grandmother?" Why is this not correct?




"Phone your grandmother" was not accepted ????


Why does DL insist on YOUR Grandma? That's just silly.


I don't understand Harold, what else could "Tua" mean?


My point is, Gordon, that many people would just use Grandma as a name - no possessive is needed at all. It is certainly not wrong to omit it, as DL thinks.


Well then how do you know whose grandmother it is? It's a bit vague to me.


Thanks, I understand now.

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.