"How long is a mile?"
Translation:Quanto è lungo un miglio?
If any Italians are here, would you actually use lungo? Basically, what I'm asking is, can you & would you just say, Quanto è un miglio (in a context where it is clear that you are asking about its length in metres or kilometres)?
I need a native speaker of Italian by my side when doing Duolingo lessons, just to tell me which sentences are natural and which are Duolingo's literal translations. ;)
a mile = un miglio (il miglio)
two miles = due miglia (le miglia)
1000 = thousand = mille
1000 miles = mille miglia
The original 'miglio' was Roman and 1 000 paces (mille passus) long.
When the roman legions marched across the empire they counted each time the same foot hit the ground and marked of each "miglio" they had marched with a stick. 'Un miglio' is about 1 841 meters (~0,92 English miles) and this way they could create fairly accurate road maps.
This concept was then spread to and interpreted differently by villages, towns and countries everywhere around Europe. The English word 'mile' comes from Latin 'mīlia', (plural of mīle) via Proto Germanic 'mīliju', Old English 'mīl' and Middle English 'myle'.
Even though Italy was among the first countries to, in 1861, switch to the metric system the Italian road race 'Mille Miglia' was originally designed to be about 1 000 roman miles long and Air Italia's frequent flyer program is called Mille miglia.
I think of "Quanto" as *"what quantity" and to me that makes it easier to understan I immediately after need to specify what kind of measure that is wanted in the response.
quanto è lungo . . = how long is . . ?
quanto è alto . . = how tall is . . ?
quanto è profondo . . = how deep is . . ?
quanto è? = how much he/she/its is? ~ how much is it?
quanto costa = how much cost? ~ how much does it cost?
Come does mean how usually, but how in English has a number of meanings and only some of these correspond to come in Italian.
Come stai? How are you? (state)
Come ti chiami? What are you called? (English is unusual here)
How much is this? Quanto costa? (amount)
But we do not know if he is asking for the length of the original, Roman mile la miglia, or if it is for one of the many that followed, e.g. the Ottoman, Austrian, German, Russian, Dutch or perhaps even the Welsch mile?
The Roman mile was "mille passus", 1 000 paces, or about 1 841 meters long. Today and since 1861 the Metric system is used throughout Italy and nobody really knows how long a mile was . . . or is.
Remember that a mile is not a "natural" unit of length in almost anywhere else in the world except in the US and maybe in the UK. For most people the basic unit of length is the meter and when you ask "How long is a mile" it implies that they expect the answer to be in meters (or kilometers), not in miles.
Yes, we use miles in the UK. The word is Latin in origin: mila passuum (a thousand paces). In Italian mille passi. There was a classic Italian motor race called the mille miglia on public roads last run in 1957 but still done as a 'classic car' event. Oddly the plural is miglia