https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

italian help- why tavola and not tavolo sometimes?

hi. so, i just got a sentence to translate here on DL and noticed that "table" was translated as "tavola" but i thot it was 'sposed to b "tavolo". i checked google translate before posting on here just to get another source. turns out google translate translates the sentence the same:

https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=fr&tl=it&text=Your%20family%20is%20at%20the%20table.

your family is at the table. = La tua famiglia è a tavola.

can someone please explain why?

can people provide other examples in italian where word genders change in certain situations?

thank you. : )

September 4, 2019

32 Comments


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

A Tavolo is a piece of furniture; a table or a desk. You can eat dinner on your table, clean vegetables, read a book ...

A Tavala is where the family eats dinner in the home. For most Italians - la tavola è un tavolo.

Just before dinner you clean the table (tavolo) and make the table (tavola) by setting out a cloth, knives, forks, plates ... After dinner, you clear the table (tavola), removing the dinner wear and cloth ... and it becomes tavolo again. Maybe the kids do their homework on the tavolo.

Tavolo = piece of furniture. Tavola = place family gathers for dinner.

September 4, 2019

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

Great explanation!

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Bob. So well explained, as always. Ti do un lingot :-)

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

ey, bob- GRAZIE! perfezionare! i was reading into it too much. hahaha. thanks again! : )

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Algarve11

Bob, grazie per questo commento! Ti dò un lingotto. :)

September 5, 2019

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

Grazie

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Algarve11

Prego.)

September 5, 2019

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

That's so cool! Thank you

September 5, 2019

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

It's right. In Italy "tavola" (not "tavolo") is also a surfboard (tavola da surf), snowboard (tavola da neve), color table (tavola dei colori), truth table (tavola di verità, math), Commandments tables (tavole dei Comandamenti, biblical) etc

September 5, 2019

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

I would also mention tabella ("graphic table", "scheme") which comes straight from the Latin diminutive of tabulatabella, but in Italian it can be further altered into tabellina ("multiplication table") .

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

great addition!

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

thanks for sharing.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Ciao. Aspettiamo un madrelingua (An example of "un" with a fem ending;-)

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

ciaooooo, linda! : )

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

ah, yes! like el água and el águila in spanish. i think what i am looking for is a bit different tho, bc the article isn't changing, but instead the ending of the noun. the only thing i can come up with is that "la famiglia" is considered feminine and maybe that's effecting the noun bc there is an action involved... but i am just guessing, and i've never seen that before, but my italian knowledge is very limited.


the family is AT the table - maybe the gender- feminine la, in this case- changes the gender of tavolo to tavola bc a feminine noun was moving to another now and has arrived... i'm truly speculating. i kno in german that articles and determiners change when actions are being performed, so that's where i'm getting the idea.

September 4, 2019

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

I think it's more just how the word evolved. The original form was "tavola," but at some point in its history it became "tavolo," which caught on, and the feminine "tavola" was left to set phrases and figurative use. Sometimes words do this - the word changes over time, but certain set phrases preserve the original form. I wouldn't say "tavola" is quite a fossil word, but it sort of follows that pattern: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_word

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

great article! thanks for sharing!

September 5, 2019

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

This doesn't have anything to do with "tavolo," but to answer your other question, some of the various words with irregular plurals ending in A (like "dito," "ginocchio," etc.) use the regular plural form (with I) in certain cases. So a word that is always masculine in the singular (say, "il muro") would have a feminine plural form ("le mura") and a masculine plural form ("i muri") that are used in different situations.

I want to say there are other words like "tavolo" and "tavola" that look similar but have slightly different meanings, but my brain is too tired to come up with them right now... At any rate, I'm sure Civis will be along shortly with a long list. : )

September 5, 2019

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

A comprehensive list of irregular plurals can be found in this old article (not for the faint-hearted). :-D

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24086527

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

the very thing ur mentioning has been coming up in another italian exercise and i wish i could share a link..... i think it was involving the plural for bedsheets... i figured it out- i can just use google translate:


https://www.google.com/search?q=italian+translation&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS837US838&oq=italian+&aqs=chrome.2.69i59j69i57j69i59j69i61l3.3574j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


i feel confident with a language and then things like that pop up and i realize that i have sooooo much more to learn. i'm a 4 year old at best in these languages i'm learning. hahahaha

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

thanks for sharing btw. : )


that's so cool that u have a phd in spanish!!!

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

i forgot to ask if u happened to know why certain words have the different plural endings... do u kno?

September 5, 2019

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

For the ones that switch to A and become feminine (like “il lenzuolo” to “le lenzuola”), I think they’re words that were neuter in Latin and thus had a plural in A. We have some words in English like this as well, like medium/media. There’s not a rule to knowing which ones they are, though, and some can sometimes take a regular plural form. You’ll see them most often when talking about body parts.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

interesting. grazie.

September 6, 2019

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

Oh, I thought of another one like “tavolo/tavola”: orecchio/orecchia. “Orecchio” and “orecchia” are nearly interchangeable, however, except in some idioms. And for some reason (maybe because it’s similar to the number of irregular plurals that switch to the feminine), “orecchio” (masculine) is more common in the singular and “orecchie” (feminine) is more common in the plural. Like “tavolo” and “tavola,” they’re two separate words; they don’t switch gender.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

i'm guessing that's "ear"..... i'm gonna look it up tho..... ok, good guess based on my other languages- never made it to body parts in the italtian tree... i'm glad we're all talking about this situation with interchangeable endings to nouns bc i'd b going crazy wondering if it was typos on DL's part or if i was just missing something all together.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

My easy way to remember: Tavolo - oo as in wood/piece of furniture. Tavola - la cena (all the a's).

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

nice. : )

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dorothy799906

What I have understood is that it depends on the activity surrounding the use of the table as to whether you use maschile o femminile.

September 5, 2019

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

No. Masculine and feminine have nothing to do with it. Tavolo and tavola are two different words. They may look similar, they may have a somewhat similar meaning, they may have the same root, but they are two different words.

September 5, 2019

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

Like mela = apple melo = apple tree

They are actually different words that have the same root but mean different things

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

I did not know that melo meant "apple tree". Thanks, and have a lingot for your comment!

September 17, 2019
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