The second part of the sentence ("mi segua") is the subjunctive part. Think of it like a command: "follow me!" Think of the "chi" more like "whoever" in this case. Literally something like, "whoever loves me, follow me!" or "whoever loves me should follow me." The "if..." version is just a less literal and more natural sentence that means the same thing.
There is no 'if' in the original (the movie). The citation is: ' Now let all those who love me... follow me!' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151137/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt under 'Did You Know?'; 'Quotes' 'see more'.
Here are a couple of thoughts. First, I don't know whether the Italian sentence was inspired by the Bible, or by a movie about Joan of Arc. The real question for us Duo learners is whether the Italian is standard grammatical Italian. I believe it is, but that the English translation given, while not absolutely wrong, is not literal, and therefore has misled some of the commenters here.
First, the 'mi segua' is not necessarily imperative. It is subjunctive. True, the subjunctive is often used as a polite form (Lei form) that substitues for the imperative. But the subjunctive has broader application than that. Whoever is speaking to his or her followers here may not be using the Lei form of address. Probably not. In any case, I think the subjunctive here means 'you should follow me/you ought to follow me' rather than a simple imperative 'follow me'.
Second, the 'chi mi ama' is not literally 'if you love me' but more like 'whoever loves me'. Literally it is 'who loves me' but this is not a question so in English we say 'he who loves me' or 'whoever loves me'.
So the translation into English here that I like is "Whoever loves me follows/should follow me." That English is probably a little less natural than the English 'If you love me, follow me' but it is less confusing to us beginners as we try to go back and forth between the two languages.
Who loves me follows me is perfectly good spoken English, but does not mean the same as if you love me follow me. My guess is duolingo is using if because follows me is subjunctive. Does the italian really express a more doubtful outcome/a request which would make if the correct translation?
Try Bible Gateway (online version not the app); it has almost every translation of the Bible there & you can read the editions parallel to one another. I use The New King James Version NKJV side by side with Nuova Riveduta 1994 (NR1994) & it's an almost word for word translation for many verses.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis++1%3A1&version=NKJV;NR1994 Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesi 1:1 Nel principio Dio creò i cieli e la terra.
Citazione corretta: Se qualcuno vuol venire dietro a me rinneghi se stesso, prenda la sua croce e mi segua. (dal Vangelo secondo Matteo, 16, 24, CEI; confronta anche Mc 8, 34, Lc 9, 23 e Gv 12, 26) Erroneamente attribuita a Giovanna D'Arco e a Francesco Petrarca. Il versetto evangelico è usato nella maggior parte dei casi in forma errata. Esempi sono in Alberto Moravia, Gli indifferenti, Mario Soldati, Le lettere da Capri e Giovanni Guareschi, La scoperta di Milano. Lo stesso Papa Paolo VI, nell'omelia del 16 febbraio 1972, Mercoledì delle Ceneri, a Santa Sabina, cita la frase nella forma "Chi mi ama mi segua; ciascuno prenda la sua Croce e la porti". Nel 1973, lo slogan "chi mi ama mi segua" compariva sui cartelloni pubblicitari curati da Oliviero Toscani ed Emanuele Pirella che reclamizzavano la marca di jeans "Jesus". Il tema religioso era ripreso anche da un'altra versione dei manifesti, con lo slogan "non avrai altro jeans all'infuori di me". L'accostamento tra frasi della Bibbia e immagini provocanti non mancò di scatenare accuse e polemiche. Del caso si occupò anche Pier Paolo Pasolini, sul Corriere della sera. In Sviluppo e progresso, saggio pubblicato in Pasolini. Saggi sulla politica e sulla società, a cura di Walter Siti, Mondadori, Milano 1999, Pasolini commenta l'Italia "tappezzata di manifesti rappresentanti sederi con la scritta «chi mi ama mi segua»" dicendo "tra l'«Jesus» del Vaticano e l'«Jesus» dei blue-jeans, c'è stata una lotta. [...] Il Gesù del Vaticano ha perso."
At this point I'm just translating the subjunctive forms as English indicative forms while swearing under my breath that the English translations mean something different from what the Italian appears to me. What I think "chi mi ama mi segua" means is "Who loves me should follow me" -- i.e. the one who loves me is being exhorted to follow me, but is not yet following me. "Who loves me, follows me" (which was accepted as correct) implies that who loves me is already following me. The preferred translation is "If you love me, follow me" -- i.e. translates the Italian subjunctive with an imperative. The English subjunctive with "should" ("You should stop right now!") can also be such a command. But what is the use trying to use an English subjunctive to translate an Italian subjunctive?
Someone else has mentioned that the French version is 'Qui m'aime me suive,' which, according to my sources (Word Reference), was originally said by Philippe VI of France. It would seem that it is still used colloquially in French when you are doing something and want your friends to join in. My guess is that there is a similar expression expression in Italian. In English, in that context, the closest equivalents might be something like 'Are you with me/Who's with me?' or 'All for one ...!' Here's a link to the French to English translation and forum posts on Word Reference: http://www.wordreference.com/fren/qui%20m'aime and here to the Italian to English (where it says it's a Biblical quote): http://www.wordreference.com/iten/chi%20mi%20ama%20mi%20segua from the one It>En forum post, I think it does have a more modern/colloquial meaning in Italian too.
The Italian "chi" is gender neutral. It means here "who" or "whoever". You could translate into ""Whoever loves me ..." if you want to stay gender neutral in English, or even "They who love me ...".
For whatever reason, English does not begin this kind of sentence with a bare "who", but requires "he who" or "she who" or "they who", if not "whoever".
In older English (let's say up till about 75 years ago), it was quite common to use the masculine pronoun for general statements that apply to both sexes. So classically you see a lot of "he who ..." but rareley "she who...". unless you are speaking only of women.
I'm with you in principle. I still think the Italian (that's what I came across first in the exercise) is better translated as "Whoever loves me..." or "Everyone who loves me..." I still did not come across anything convincing explaining the "If you..." in Duolingo's translation - Gospel passage or not (and I'm all for that).
It's a colloquial translation, happens with idioms. The literal translation is 'Whoever loves me, follows me." Inferring that if someone should love whoever it is, then they will follow them. The "If you love me, follow me" is not a literal translation, but does convey the meaning quite well.
No, as stated above, NOT literal. My native Italian boss gave me this insight: this is definitely NOT a conditional sentence in Italian, and so the English should not really go in that direction. Following from his conversation, I believe the more literal translation would go like this (and please remember that English - at least American English - has all but forgotten the subjunctive): "(The one) who loves me, let him follow me!" Remember that a standard use of the subjunctive is in wishes or blessings, in earlier times often begun with "Would that ..." or "May..." Hence, my translation of "Let..." I really don't know that this sentence deserves all this attention, but it definitely the subjunctive ("segua" from "seguire") being used here.
In standard Engish, the translation you are suggesting would be: "Who(ever) loves me follows me".
You are right that that translation does not use the second person ("you").
For whatever reason, DL has chosen a very non-literal translation as its featured translation. However, I believe DL will also accept "who loves me follows me" or "who loves me should follow me".
Patrick, you are correct that the "segua" here is not indicative. However, I believe it is subjunctive rather than imperative.
The word "segua" by itself could be either the imperative or the subjunctive of "seguire". However, in the imperative, the following pronoun would come AFTER the verb and be written without a space: "seguami". Here, however, we have "mi segua", a subjunctive construction.
Strictly speaking, the meaning is not imperative "follow me", but rather subjunctive "let (whoever loves me) follow me".
if you have noticed, the title of this section is 'idioms'. if you are looking for grammar, this is not the place to find it. idioms, epithets, adages, old saws, curses, mottoes, and the like express an idea, usually succinctly. in the US, we usually ascribe them to rural wisdom, although there is no reason to believe that farmers are wiser than city dwellers. this particular adage does not express grammatically the idea it intends. accept it for what it is.
Patrick, I think I see the point you are trying to make. However, I think it is incorrect to say "this particular adage does not express grammatically the idea it intends to convey". On the contrary, the Italian here is perfectly grammatical, in my opinion -- the verbs tenses, number, agreement , etc. are all correct, and so on.
That is what "grammar" means, I believe. Perhaps you understand the term differently.
Ariaflame, I agree with you except for one detail. I think the Italian 'segua' here is subjunctive but not necessarily imperative. So I would not use the English imperative 'follow me' but a non-imperative translation of the Italian subjunctive: '(He) who loves me, follows/should follow me.'