How does the usage of "vestiti" differ from "abiti"? "Vestiti" (which is obviously related to the English "vestments") seems to have the secondary sense of "dresses," while "abiti" (cf. the archaic English word "habit") also means "suits." Does one of them come closer to signifying "clothing" in the generic sense?
Both words in both languages derive from Latin, respectively vestitus (past participle of vestio, to dress: clothed, dressed, but also cover and clothing) and habitus (past participle of habeo, "to have": retained, maintained, but also habit or disposition). So as you can see, "vestito" comes closer to the original meaning; in modern Italian there is no distinction in meaning though.
"sono i miei" = "they are my" I want to try to incorporate italian in my everyday language. So sometimes when I am doing a daily task, or when someone says something in lectures at university I try to translate it into Italian to practice :)
Does anyone else do that?
You would have to specify "io" in that case: "io sono i miei abiti" If the subject is omitted, people will naturally assume you mean the mostly likely interpretation (which is "They are my suits/clothes")
Whether or not "io sono i miei abiti" has a similiar idiomatic meaning to the English idiom "Clothing makes the man" - that I don't know. (Probably not though because idioms are usually language specific) ...but it's a valid sentence even if it's a nonsensical one.
Yes. (Suits - plural - actually.) And in English, the word "suit" can be:
a set of business clothing (pants or skirt, plus jacket, and sometimes a vest)
the clothing you wear to go swimming
all the cards in a deck that depict hearts (or spades, clubs, or diamonds)
a verb meaning "to please" or "to satisfy" ("That suits me.)
a legal term for a court process ("He filed suit against the company.")
and a few other things besides.
Isn't language grand? ;-)
I have read in an italian forum that "abito" is generally a little more formal than "vestito", although Italians seem to believe that perhaps this is not that strict anymore. Another distinction that some people make in the forum is that they usually use "vestito" to refer to a woman's dress and "abito" to refer to a man's suit. Can anyone say if this is close to reality please? thanks!
Edit: apparently the woman - vestito and man - abito connection is not always the case, because I understand that, for example, to refer to a woman's gown at a, say, formal ceremony you would use "abito". Not "vestito". The abito - formal, vestito - less formal connection seems to be accurare though.
I'd advise you to learn the accents as you go instead of trying to find a rule: making sense of it requires a good knowledge of phonology and philology, and that's besides the point of learning the language.
In Latin the rule is rather easy: if the second-to-last vowel is long it carries the stress, otherwise it falls on the third-to-last. The problem is figuring out when a vowel is short or long as classical Latin didn't use diacritics. In "habitus" A was long while I and U were short, hence the stress fell back on the A.
Italian obviously carried over most of the pronunciation from Latin, but words changed without changing stress (e.g. from vírtus - virtútem - virtù), new words were formed or imported from other languages, and some spelling conventions like attached clitics can increase the number of syllables in a word without changing its original stress.
"i" the the plural of "il", like "le" is the plural of "la", and "gli" is the plural of "lo". Italian generally keeps the articles (il, la, lo, i, le, gli) when English would omit them. They would say "i miei abiti, le mie maglie, etc." where English would just say, "my suits", "my sweaters", and NOT "the my suits", "the my sweaters". So for a clear English translation, you can leave out translating the "i". But you need to include it when speaking / writing Italian.
Coats are only one type of clothing. http://de.pons.com/%C3%BCbersetzung?q=abiti&l=enit&in=&lf=it
"They are my suits," "Those are my suits," and "These are my suits" are all grammatically correct in English. "These" is used to refer to something right here. "Those" refers to something away from you, over there, out of sight, and so on. I can't speak for the accuracy of the translation from Italian, however. [US English native speaker]