"Vogliamo i mezzi pubblici."

Translation:We want public transportation.

February 25, 2013

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pubic transportation - can duolingo not give me some slack for a funny typo?


Are you punk in drublic again? ;)


If you'd written "punlic" or any other typo that is not a word in Duo's dictionary, you'd have been ok. Sadly your mind was on other things. :-)


What part of this sentence refers to transportation? I'm lost.


"Mezzi": duolingo lacks a translation. "Mezzo di trasporto" means medium of transportation, and "mezzo pubblico" (public medium) means a public vehicle such as a bus or train.


Thank you. That makes much more sense!


OK, good to know. But, is "mezzi pubblici" used in Italian everyday speach as public transportation?



Strictly speaking, "public transport(ation:US)" is trasporti pubblici, while mezzi (= "means") refers to the vehicles. But even in English we sometimes confuse the two, as in "the buses are disrupted today". European city transport is typically multi-modal (buses, trams, metro, etc.) so it is natural to refer to them together with words like mezzi.


Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this. You've been a great help.


"Mezzo" is the equivalent of the word "means" in English. A "mean" can be a middle, or average (as in the difference between statistical "means" and "extremes"), or it can be a way or mode of doing something (as in a "ways and means committee"). The Proto Indo-European root of both words, "*me-," means "between" - which makes sense in all cases.

A similar English word would be "medium," which can also signify both "middle" and "means," and comes from the same root.


Thanks. I appreciate as a philologist


Wow, we have that root "me-" in Russin too, never noticed the connection. Thank you!


Similar to Spanish where you can use "medio" (half) with different meanings..


So i mezzi pubblici and i trasporti pubblici are synonyms then or is there any obscure difference to be aware of ..? :-)


The same. Just mezzi pubblici is more popular :-)


Soglio. Perhaps native American speaker in this case. Native English says public transport for bus.train tram as you say.


I'm not sure what you're saying, but British English seems to favor "public transport," whereas US English uses "public transit" or "public transportation." Duolingo leans toward US English.


Judging from many, many old comments elsewhere, Duolingo started as a US English site, but has used feedback to include worldwide variants. Still a work in progress, but commendable. Here, both the US and English forms are accepted now.


A lot of people in Italy learn the British words (there are some things that they say differently in England than they do in the U.S.) So I would sort of understand if it was using UK English.

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although awkward in English, why isn't it public transportations? How do you signify the plurality of this?


In English, "transportation" is a mass noun: you would not say "transportations."


I wonder if the mean medium could foretell his lack of means.


One of the translations given by Duolingo for vogliamo in this instance is 'we take' . So why is it not correct to use it here.


Never, ever trust Duolingo's hints. They are often not translations, and often misleading. Think "clues".


Mezzi pubblici is very confusing to me so I just typed in "Vogliamo trasporto pubblico"and DL accepted it. My question though is would "trasporto pubblico" be acceptable/understood in Italy?


Excellent question. Answer 'Yes!' In fact it would be less likely to cause confusion. Il trasporto pubblico = public transport as a generic concept. I trasporti pubblici refers to the whole public transport system of a geographical area (anything from a town to the whole country). It's what you'd ask about at an information desk.

Mezzo pubblico is short for mezzo di transporto pubblico (means of public transport) and in the singular it can refer to a public service vehicle. Duo's sentence actually implies "we want buses, trams, etc." and is as much a complaint from citizens as a sensible query from tourists. Better to ask dov'è l'autobus per ...?

The plural is used for generic transport (-ation in the US). Hence i mezzi di trasporto su ferro = rail transport.


Automezzo=Automobile in the middle (Auto in mezzo).


The relevant definition of mezzo here is "means [of transport]", not "half" or middle". Automezzo in an Italian native dictionary: veicolo a motore a quattro o più ruote, i.e. any motor vehicle with four or more wheels.


this is really confusing to students at this point in the lessons. Previous to this you used 'trasporti pubblici' and now you have 'mezzi pubblici'. Instinct for this is to say 'public means' but the student may not know that it is 'public means of transportation' aka 'public transportation'


vogliamo i mezzi di trasporto pubblici


However, in the Travel section DL uses transporti publici for public transportation. It never once showed mezzi pubblici for public transportation. So which should we use?


"Trasporti" is more formal, so in normal conversation you're more likely to use "mezzi". According to google "trasporti" is losing popularity even in writing: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=IT&q=%22mezzi%20pubblici%22,%22trasporti%20pubblici%22


Why das Duo suggest 'take' as a possible translation of vogliamo, and then mark it with error? From my Norwegian point of view this would make more sense. Well the semantic is very difficult when you handle two foreign languages at the same time.


Well, that's complicated, because the italian verb "volere" is used with different meanings, and this leads to different english translations (and apparently Duolingo cannot deal with this).


  • you can use "volere" if you want something (or something to happen): "io voglio una mela" (I want an apple, a little bit unpolite, but correct)

  • you can use "volere" if something is needed: "ci vuole un cacciavite" (it needs a screwdriver).

  • you can use "volere" if a specific amount of time is required: "ci vuole mezz'ora per andare al lavoro" (it takes half an hour to get to work)

As you can see, completely different meanings (different translations), same italian verb. This is pretty confusing, I suppose (I'm italian).

For this specific sentence, the correct english verb is "to want" :-)

Hope this helps.


Transportation is not mentioned under "Means" in the dictionary


I cannot find "mezzi" to mean "transportation" in any of my Italian dictionaries. Is this some very recent usage?


In Google's corpus it shows up from from 1899 to 1908, then disappears until 1954 when it takes off, probably the time when private vehicles became commonplace. In Treccani it's meaning 2b: generic name of the various kinds of vehicles destined for transportation of people or things... in this sense "mezzo" is often used elliptically with no other specifications.

P.S. Digging a bit further in Google Books, I found an act from 1826 concerning free travel for poor people, where "mezzo di trasporto" is used extensively, although the elliptical shortening to just "mezzo" is probably post-WW2.


In other words, it is not a common usage!


What brought you to that conclusion? The ordering in the dictionary isn't based on popularity. It might not be the most common of the many meanings of "mezzo" (the last Crusca dictionary listed 110 of them) but it's the most common word to refer to some meanings.

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