An Italian told me yesterday that it was "lo uomo", and gave my this rule to explain it.
lo uomo lo - sc- gn - aiueo -ps
I can't think that a native speaker would be trying to mislead me. Is this a regional variation? Like me, the speaker is quite old.
Technically, he was right, in the end l' is just short for lo and la, and uomo is masculine. Maybe that's what he was trying to say...? Or did he actually pronounce it "lo uomo"?
The discussion was about which language was more difficult, English or Italian, and I gave l'uomo as an example of there being six definite articles in Italian. I think he was probably just explaining to me that l'uomo was a contraction of lo uomo, something that I hadn't realised before. It did seem a bit odd that il changed to l'.
I just always accepted that before a vowel, it's always l'...
I'm sure your Italian friend is right but in front of a vowel it doesn't matter if it's il, lo, la, le, etc... just always l' - it is easy to remember.
An exception to this rule is when the word begins with i or y followed by any vowel (this combination is found in very few words), for instance:
lo ione (not l'ione) = the ion
lo yogurt (not l'yogurt) = yogurt
lo iato (not l'iato) = the hiatus
lo Yemen (not l'Yemen) = Yemen
lo Ionio (not l'Ionio) = the Ionian Sea
Yes, thank you for pointing that out. Of course, when it comes to languages, there seems to exceptions to every rule in every language. It's very tiresome!