"The girl does not like the juice."
Translation:Alla ragazza non piace il succo.
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See, the analysis of the given translation is:
"il succo": subject, juice
"non piace": verb, is not pleasing
"alla ragazza": indirect object, to the girl.
The roundabout way of expressing the thought is due to "piacere" being grammatically so different from "like"; if you were to use a different verb it'd be simpler, i.e. "la ragazza non ama il succo" ("amare" is grammatically similar to "love"), but all synonyms of it follow the same rules :)
In the simplest way I can think to describe this, with no linguistic jargon:
"piacere" translates to "to be pleasing to", as there is no direct translation of "to like".
So this sentence is constructed as such:
The juice is not pleasing to the girl.
Which explains why we have "alla ragazza".
No; the first because "piacere" is not transitive, so you need an indirect object like "alla ragazza", the second one because the impersonal "si" stands for the subject, not any object, and it must be placed between non and the verb. It could have been "il succo non si piace" (juice doesn't like itself) or "il succo non piace" (juice isn't liked).
OK, here's my question: in Spanish the construction is similar, except that the indirect object pronoun (le in Spanish) would also need to be included just before the verb. I put that in (la, I think, in Italian) and it was marked wrong. Is it really wrong to do this? Thanks for your expertise!
That's a very interesting question: it would be "a lei le piace", with le being the indirect object clitic equivalent to "a lei", and as such redundant. It's very common in speech, but Italian grammarians have been so opposed to it for so long that people have been taught to avoid it when watching their language. As a grammarian from the Crusca, Nencioni, answers at http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/it/lingua-italiana/consulenza-linguistica/domande-risposte/forma-corretta, "scandalizza molti come un volgare errore di grammatica" (it offends many as a vulgar grammar mistake), but the grammarians currently only consider it a form of emphasis (pleonasm), similar, but that's my addition, to how one would say "la salute ce l'ho" (the health, I have it [on me]). He then goes on to analyze its usage in Manzoni's work.
To sum up, it should be fine in Italian, but you'll find many people who shudder when hearing "a me mi", "a te ti", "a lui gli", and so on :)
I believe 'piacere' is literally 'to be pleasing to... (someone/something)'.
In this case the juice is not pleasing to the girl (AKA she doesn't like the juice), therefore to take it literally 'Alla ragazza non piace il succo' = 'To the girl, the juice is not pleasing'.
I've tried to simplify this, but for a more in-depth explanation, user 'f.formica' explained to me why it's 'alla ragazza' (earlier in this very discussion) and said: "Piacere is intransitive so the object cannot be "la ragazza" (direct) it must include a preposition, "alla ragazza" (indirect)." I didn't know what direct or indirect objects meant, but there are plenty of resources online. I found this video in particular useful for piacere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79kYab_F0qs
"Dispiacere" could technically be used as a negation of "piacere", but it isn't used that way: it's more used to denote a feeling of unpleasantness, e.g. "mi dispiace" (I'm sorry), "ti dispiace se fumo?" (would you be annoyed or offended if I smoked?). On the other hand "non dispiacere" is sometimes used as a milder form of "piacere": "Ti piace la mia macchina?" "Non mi dispiace" ("Do you like my car?" "I don't dislike it" / It's not bad).
I think it should work but there is a difference between "succo" = juice and "spremuta" = freshly-squeezed fruit juice
"Gli" and "le" are clitic pronouns for "to him" and "to her"; if you have an explicit indirect object (in Italian) you can't use them, although as I wrote above it's sometimes done for emphasis. "The boy does not like me" would be "non piaccio al ragazzo", and so is here "il succo non piace alla ragazza"; "non gli piaccio" is correct for "he doesn't like me", and "il succo non le piace" for "she doesn't like the juice".
Your explanation of the verb is good. But why doesn't the sentence start with the subject? Why is the subject at the end of the declarative sentence? Is it just the way this verb works? Are others similar?
- Piacere is intransitive so the object cannot be "la ragazza" (direct) it must include a preposition, "alla ragazza" (indirect).
- In Italian repeating the object (alla ragazza / le) can be done for emphasis, but with piacere it's seen as poor language and discouraged, especially due to its association to Neapolitan dialects (probably influenced by Spanish).
I think Duolingo will usually go for a close equivalent/more commonly-used translation than a literal translation. I would argue "the girl is not pleased by the juice" makes sense, however you can hardly say it's perfectly reasonable as you would never hear anybody saying that in everyday usage.
Maybe having the literal English translation in brackets (or hidden and you could choose to reveal it) would be a useful addition, but I think it would be detrimental to learners to have that as the primary sentence to translate.
I believe you have a better idea. The problem as I see it is inconsistency. As language evolves the introduction of vernacular may be great for locals but more consistent grammatical rules would be better for the second and third language speakers even at the price of being somewhat stilted.
Which is more natural in Italian? Duo marks both correct: Alla ragazza non piace il succo. (To the girl / not pleasing is / the juice) Il succo non piace alla ragazza. (The juice / is not pleasing / to the girl) I know the English I put in ( ) isn't natural, but it helps me remember the structure in Italian.
Two reasons: the clitic for "a lei" is "le", not "li", and repeating the object with a clitic ("alla ragazza... le" is the same as "alla ragazza... a lei") is considered bad grammar unless a dislocation occurs (e.g. "la ragazza l'ho vista", lit. "the girl, I've seen her"). It does happen in quite a few dialects, especially those influenced by Spanish, but it's not considered proper Italian.