"The boy likes elephants."
Translation:Al ragazzo piacciono gli elefanti.
I kicked the ball -- active voice.
The ball was kicked (by me) -- passive voice.
Passive voice takes the thing the action happened to and makes it the subject, while taking the one who performed the action and downplaying it or removing it entirely.
The boy likes the elephants -- active voice.
The elephants are liked (by the boy) -- passive voice.
Italian uses active voice. "Piacere" means "to be pleasing", not "to be liked".
The elephants are pleasing to the boy -- active voice.
The simplest way to translate piacere is to intend it as "to be pleasing"; if you read it as "the elephants are pleasing to the boy" it won't seem as weird. The problem is that "piacere" describes an action coming from what in English is the object of "like"; there other verbs like that.
Problem is with the prompt. If the original prompt gave the literal translation, we would be more likely to get it. It is not so different in English if one uses the word "pleasing." "The boy likes elephants" is not really what is being said. A more accurate translation would be helpful--both in understanding Italian speech patterns and getting the right answer.
That's true, I didn't word that right; what I meant was that "to please" to me is a verb with a completely different meaning from "to like", and albeit "to please" is etymologically related to "piacere", it does not mean that. For instance, "he's eager to please" and "he's eager to be liked" are different concepts to me, although I see that online dictionaries do give "desideroso di piacere" as a translation; reverso instead has "ansioso di compiacere" (among others), which is much closer in my opinion. In the same way "I like my girlfiend" and "my girlfriend pleases me" sound different, the latter slightly creepy. But it might be down to me not being a native speaker and not knowing some of the usages of the word.
I am a native speaker of American English, and to me "eager to please" very strongly implies "eager to be liked", to the point of being more or less synonymous.
To guarantee an adult meaning, you would use the verb "to pleasure", although it's rare outside of certain actively adult contexts to use it in the present tense. It is possible to read a more adult meaning into "[person] pleases me", but that's secondary to being more or less synonymous with "I like [person]".
As far as usage of "X pleases me" vs "I like X", it's common to say "This pleases me" humorously, with the speaker pretending to be a powerful or villainous character.
I left a comment/inquiry about this a few months back. I speak spanish and I don't know how I missed the correlation here between the italian sentence and its spanish translation.
Here is the basic concept in spanish and italian: Me gusta. Mi piace. (I like it.) Me gustan. Mi piaccono. (I like them.) Once this is understood, it's easier to remember that when we are liking more than one of something we need to make this change when using this (like) particular verb.
I thought I understood that the verb piacciono agrees with the object, gli elefanti. But in a previous question "He doesn't like me" I lost a heart for writing "Io non gli piace." The correct answer was "Io non gli piaccio." Now I'm even more confused than before! Can someone explain why the verb agrees with the object in one sentence, but with the subject, Io, in the other?
Okay, after thinking about it I can answer this myself:
Al ragazzo piacciono gli elefanti. = The elephants are pleasing to the boy--subject elephants so piacciono. Io non gli piaccio = I am not pleasing to him--subject "I" so piaccio. I was thrown by the translation "He doesn't like me" which makes "He" the subject in English.
Can anyone confirm my thinking?
You are correct, for simplicity reasons we always say phrases such as I like it, you like it, whereas the verb piaccere means pleasing of something. When you have the subject as He in the sentence it would change the usage of piaccere because the verb would be reflecting back on him. So they have us write it as I am not pleasing to him. Which would then be of course the io non gli piace. You could also technically write it with the proper reflexive pronouns such as non le piacce io. (Which technically is I do not please him.)
It's perfectly consistent.
Al gatto piace il latte ~ To the cat the milk is pleasing.
Al ragazzo piacciono gli elefanti ~ To the boy the elephants are pleasing.
In Italian, it is "il latte" and "gli elefanti" that are the subjects of the sentences. The verb agrees with the subject.
il gatto = the cat
al gatto = to the cat
il ragazzo = the boy
al ragazzo = to the boy
The subject cannot be the object of a preposition. They might appear first in the sentence, but they are not the subject.
You have made a top-level comment instead of replying directly to me. This has the potential to scatter the conversation across the page.
"Piacere" gets rendered into English as "to like" because that's how we say it in English, but it literally means "to please".
ENGLISH: I like X.
ITALIAN: To me is pleasing X.
Different language, different grammar, different ways of saying things.
Also, please read the existing comments before repeating questions that have already been asked and answered.
I have not made any comments on this particular exercise/ question, yet I received a personal email from you. I do not understand!? Are you following me or am I following you??? No problem on my part. I always welcome your expertise and explanations on all subjects. Just wondered how the program works, I guess. Thank you, Chris
This is the 5th comment you have made on this page over the past 5 months (although the other 4 were part of threads that got deleted).
The email you received was not from me, it was from Duolingo. Any time you comment on a thread, you get subscribed to that discussion. That means that whenever anyone comments on that page, you receive an email notification. I'm surprised you haven't been recieving notifications about any of the other comments that have been made since your first comment here 5 months ago.
Please read my reply to Aidian5 above. Could you please explain why those threads that you mentioned were deleted? Was there a reason behind the deletions or were they just not important enough to keep? I never noticed any rules of the road for usage of this medium. But would truly like to become aware, if you would. Thank you in advance.
99% of the time, no one is in trouble when comments/comment threads get deleted. But as you can see, there are quite a large number of comments on this page--and this is after more than half of them have been removed. The point of these sentence discussions is to help one another (1) understand the grammar of the sentence better or (2) understand the language as a whole better, in that order. To make it easier for people to be able to read the comments, forum mods are tasked with going through and de-cluttering the discussion pages. Repeat questions and off-topic conversations are among the threads that get removed, especially if they're older, although occasionally an off-topic thread will be allowed to stay if it generates a fruitful discussion.
I have "mod-goggles", which is how I can see that you have commented on this page in the past. Deleting a comment, whether doing it yourself or having it removed by a mod, does not unsubscribe you from the email notifications. The only way to do that is you have to click the toggle button at the top of the page that says "FOLLOWING DISCUSSION", and then stop commenting on the page, because leaving a comment will re-subscribe you. This will not prevent you from receiving a notification if someone replies directly to one of your comments, though.
Now I understand why. Thanks for the info. I do get comments all the time in my email, but those were because I commented about that particular question. But on this " The boy likes elephants" , I have not, at least I do not see it on this page/question, and that is why I inquired and you responded. So thank you for taking the time to explain.