https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robert0n

Town: paese o città?

Duolingo seems to really prefer translating "town" as paese (which can also mean village or country).

I find this odd based on my experiences in Italy. Larger settlements seem to normally be referred to as "città", and smaller ones as "paese", suggesting the former is used for town and city and the latter for village.

I do realise that either can mean town but what do people think about Duolingo's preference? (by which I mean it will always accept paese for town, but only occasionally città). The opinions of native Italians particularly valued!

May 3, 2014

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/asintoto

I am Italian, and it's true what you say about the dimension: big settlements are "città" and smaller ones are "paesi". I would translate town with paese (or città if it's a relatively small one), while I believe that città is more close to city

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ange13freckles

:) che bello

May 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicoladc89

Italy is divided into 20 regions, each region is divided into x provinces and each province is divided into some municipalities (almost 8000 municipalities). All these municipality is - formally - "città". The smallest municipalities has 33 people and is a "città", the biggest is Roma with 2.6millions people and is a "città". For example Quinto (a Frazione of Verona) has 6700 people but it's not a "città", because is not a municipality. Pedesina has 33 people and is a "città" because is a municipality. In this case, "città" could be "town", "city", "borough" or "village".

In common language "città" is - usually - the little, medium or big urban conglomerates in the center of the Province. "Città", in common language, is the Provincial Capitals, the main municipality of the Province (in some cases a Province may has 2 "città", for example the Province of Pesaro-Urbino has 2 "città": Pesaro and Urbino). In this case the biggest "città" is Roma (2.6 millions people), the smallest is Urbino (15.400 people). Even in this case there are "città" that are smallest than other municipality that is not "città". For example: Urbino has 15.400 people, Rho (Milano) or Gallarate (Milano) has almost 50.000 people and are not "città". In this case the Town of Rho is not a "città" but "paese" or - better - "Comune".

There's not Two-Way correspondence beetwen "Town" and "Città", but if I had to transalate "town" into Italian, I would use the word "Città" and not "Paese".

"Paese" is used to indicate an urban center - usually very small center - with an agricultural economy. "Paese" is not an urban conglomerate, but a small village surrounded by nature, something like that: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Alcenago_da_curva_Oliare.jpg/320px-Alcenago_da_curva_Oliare.jpg http://www.valdiporro.it/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/VALDIPORRO-SUD.gif

May 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chuckstarrrr

Thanks for that. Very, very useful information :)

May 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmseiple

It could also be an issue with regional variations in English. Here in the US, we do not often use "village" (at least not anywhere I have lived), and very small settlements would likely still be called a "town."

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chuckstarrrr

That's something I have always wondered. Do the Americans use the term "village"? All the US shows I have watched and never have I heard them do so, even when referring to a settlement that you can pass through in a minute :)

Now I know, thanks :D

EDIT: just-in-case, the above reads like sarcasm for some reason, but it's not :D <-- hence the smiley face

Now I'm paranoid, lol

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmseiple

There may be some places which are officially labeled as "villages" (Wikipedia would seem to imply as much) on government documents and such, but most people would probably still call them towns. If you called a place a village, we would know what it meant, of course, but you might get a "You're not from around here, are you?" or "What a quaint foreign expression" look. : ) On the other end of the spectrum, the place I live now is technically a small city, but I think it could still be called a town.

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robert0n

Interesting! I never realised this.

In the UK "village" gets overused (there are places which are parts of larger areas which get called village to make them sound nicer) but there are plenty of places where saying "town" would just seem weird.

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertino.1975

Hi! My name's Robertino. I'm Italian! I'm learning English here on Duolingo! Yes, you are right! For smaller settlements we say "paese", and for larger settlements we say "città" (like Rome, Florence, Milan). Bye!

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robert0n

Grazie Robertino. Il tuo inglese è bene per livello quindici!

Roma, Firenze e Milano sono città certamente, ma anche Lucca e Viareggio (http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viareggio) che sono più piccolo. Secondo me, in Inghilterra, chiamiamo le queste due "towns". Allora, uso la parola "città" per "town", me sfortunata Duolingo non concorda :-(

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/onironauta95

I think the best way to translate town is "cittadina" (piccola città), but paese is correct too.

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robert0n

Ok, so it sounds like Duolingo using "paese" for town is fine as there is no clear distinction; town doesn't fit neatly into one or the other. Do people think I should keep reporting it when DL doesn't accept "città" for town?

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alipaulam

As a British English speaker, I'd say yes, keep reporting it. Most towns of any size or historical importance at all in Italy are called città, much as we call our historic UK towns 'cities' because they have cathedrals. But they are not (all) 'cities' in the large, sprawling, and modern sense. Word-reference.com (my bible) gives 'città' as the Italian for 'town', and the example given refers to a città of 10,000 people. A paese is a very small town indeed (or village) by most European standards.

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicolasDC

It's the same as Spanish, Pueblo is a small country town while Ciudad is a big town like Ne wYork city

May 4, 2014
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