use of 'gli' vs 'i', and 'lo'
I started Duolingo a few weeks ago and keep track of all words (nouns, verbs etc) in a spreadsheet. I notice that some masculine nouns use 'i', and others use 'gli' (un ucello, gli ucelli; why not i ucelli?). When do you use which one? Is there a rule?
In German we have 3 genders, masculine, feminine, and neutral. I came across 'lo' in Italian but when do you use it? I've seen it used for masculine nouns. (lo zucchero, gli zuccheri and lo scqualo, gli scquali). So when do you use 'lo' vs 'il'?
Remember that you have male and female nouns, both in singular and plural.
Male singular use il, lo and l'
il for words starting with consonants - il piatto
lo for words starting with z,s + consonent,gn.ps,x - lo studento
l' for words starting with a vowel - l'uccello
Male plural uses i and gli
i for words starting with a consonant - i piatti
gli for words starting with z,s + consonent,gn,ps,x - gli studenti
gli for words starting with a vowel - gli uccelli
Si dice "i turchi". "Mamma li turchi"was the exclamation in the southern part of Italy, when the Turks were coming on their land (not in peace!)
This link gives you a good exercise with the possibility to control your replies:
A tiny detail - "to check your replies". Very common error - I heard an international tour guide in Goslar making the same mistake. It arises because verbs like kontrollieren and controllare mean both to "check" and to "control" which can have very different meanings in English depending on context. In this context you wanted "check" assuming you meant to see if they were correct!
Thanks you for your clarification: English is not my language and I try only to be understood. But....: The Online Etymological Dictionary, for “control” gives: “Early 14c., to check, verify, regulate , from Anglo-French contreroller "exert authority," from Medieval Latin contrarotulus "a counter, register," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + rotulus, diminutive of rota wheel. (Yes, but here rotulus stands for scroll, not for wheel: so the meaning is a register (to be checked) put in front of a scroll (considered the right version). Altogether it seems the right term, also because if I look, in the same OED check, I find almost all terms related to chess and only a “checkup” (I don’t understand how linked with the chess) can give the idea of “a check”. Let me say that very often English had, through French, a Latin word that was misunderstood. A funny example? The rosemary. The word was the French romarin, the Italian rosmarino, the Latin ros marinus: the dew of the sea (probably from the colour of its leaves). Poor Aurora's tears (according to the mythology, this is the dew origin)!
Wow! Thank you for all that. Keeping it simple since English is not your language (although you are doing pretty well as far as I can see), if you are looking at answers or replies to see if they are correct, you are "checking" them not "controlling" them. In English "check" can mean to control, for example, "to check your speed" might be thought of as "controlling" the speed.
Thanks again but (again…): also if English is not my language and it is yours, you didn’t notice that (at least according to the etymon) the correct term should be control and not check. You can argue that languages change, and it’s true, but what does “control” mean remains for me a mystery. I tried to explain my mistake; you didn't try to teach me something more. I still think that there is a big difference between, e.g., "to check how much money I have in my pocket" and "to investigate if they are pence or yuan, good or counterfeit, sufficient to buy a tram ticket or not": in the second case (which is the case of those exercises) I'd use "control". Wrong? And with what verb can you differentiate the two completely different facts?
"Control" has to do with investigation or inspection in a precise manner: quality control (of products), crowd control. "Check" is not as thorough: check to see if... The only exception I can think of is check-list (a composite word so it really doesn't count).
P.S. As some of you may know, I am not a native speaker so feel free to correct me.
P.S.2 Just came up with an another example. In sports and namely football (soccer to our American friends) a player controls the ball (he uses his skills to move the ball precisely). If I wrote that he checks the ball this would mean that he tests the ball to see if it's well inflated.
Hello again, Berto29441. Can I suggest you look at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/control for meanings of "control". You will see that the meaning of "control" in the sense similar to how you used it does exist but is archaic and, believe me, it is not used in the UK in this sense. Not in my experience anyway. Good luck.
In Italian there is no neuter gender only masculine and feminine. Yes I know it can be quite confusing, I also get confused sometimes, but it's all part of the challenge/fun of learning.
If you look for “euphony” on the Online Etymological Dictionary (OED) you'll find that this Old Greek term (εὐϕωνία) entered by the L. euphonia through France, not before the 1450 A.D. This could explain the difficulty for British to see the why the Italian articles are so many: to have pleasant sounds. But I consider that for the same reason the British, having only one determinative article, feel the necessity have two pronounces for their unique article (the “e” of “the” is different according to whether it’s followed by a vowel or by a consonant). I think that a foreigner should learn a few number of words with the right article, and to fix is his/her mind the resulting global sound keeping in mind that I. has genders and numbers with which articles, adjectives and verbs must “go together”. At that point, for comparison, he/she should know the rule valid for all the other cases. I would add that often, if not always, I read on the newspapers expression like “ “il Washington Post scrive...” or “il weekend di agosto...”: terrifying. I call these reporters “phonetically deaf”. They consider the “w” (that we call “doppia v”, not double u) a consonant and they vaguely remember that before a “v” I. uses the “il” (il vòmero, il vétro, etc.). The articles change according to the sound of the following word, not the sign. (This explains why we say "lo spago" but il suono, both starting with an s) We pronounce the “w” as a vowel, very similar to our “u”, and we don’t say “il uomo”… This to signify that the euphony's reasons are not very clear even in Italy…
Yes but the problem is much worse for languages like Greek and German which also have genders. If the genders are different in Italian things start to get very awkward because your mind is "stuck" with the gender of your own language: "il mare" seems so awfully wrong when it is ingrained as feminine. My own trick is to use a famous phrase or landmark "il mare nostrum", "il Ponte Vecchio" to help me remember the gender in italiano.
Yes, θάλασσα is feminine, but what about πέλαγος (and, to be precise, in "mare nostrum", the sea (mare,maris) is neuter.)?
I found this information at http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/language_notes/il.html
il, lo, l', la, i, gli, le are all words for "the".
In the singular...
il is used with masculine words beginning with most consonants:
il sole; the sun
il centro;the centre
lo with masculine words beginning with z or s + consonant:
lo zucchero; the sugar
lo sport; the sport
l' with masculine and feminine words beginning with a vowel
l'ufficio turistico; the tourist office
l'acqua; the water
la with feminine words beginning with a consonant
la figlia; daughter
la spiaggia; beach
In the plural (ie more than one)...
i is used with masculine words beginning with most consonants:
i negozi; the shops
i vini; the wines
gli with masculine words beginning with a vowel or with z or s + consonant:
gli uffici; the offices
gli alberghi; the hotels
le with all feminine words
le vetrine; the shop windows
le aranciate; the orange drinks
You know, I've looked in discussions for some help with various questions and have hardly ever seen a response to what the first poster has written and this is an excellent example. The original question was about the use of "gli" which is also what I'm looking for and the discussion that followed (after the very first one providing a link to a lesson that I will look at) took up the use of "check" and "control" in the English language because the poor person who actually responded to the question asked used "control" instead of "check".
Since this is a language learning website it seems reasonable to correct errors in language usage as long as it is done in a supportive manner. One assumes the person wants to know if they make a mistake. I am not Italian so chose not to try to give an answer to the original question. But I did have something I could give even as I said it is a "detail". We are not trying to impress anyone, merely trying to give the benefit of what we do know and hope that we will gain from the knowledge of others. You will find many examples in which the original question is answered but the forum digresses into many others language points. One should not be too restrained by the initial question - it is very likely to get a positive response from someone anyway. Apologies if this seems an excessively relaxed attitude. Just trying to help.
I am the poor person who actually responded to the question... I would give you some other examples.: Gli: plural masculine determinative article, to be used in front of masculine and plural number words beginning with vowel (gli astri, gli articoli, gli hotel: being the “h” alone always silent), x (gli xilofoni), s followed by a consonant (gli scacchi, gli stupidi), z (gli zeri), y (gli yachts), gn (gli gnomi), ps (gli psicologi) and pn (gli pneumi). For the singular, in the same cases, lo is used (apostrophized, if followed by a vowel: lo astro = l’astro, lo articolo = l’articolo, lo hotel = l’hotel) I: plural masculine determinative article used when “gli” is not used! ( I mezzi, i solchi, i dolci). When we use “I” for the plural, we use il for the singular: il mezzo, il solco, il dolce. Have a good day