I may be mistaken, but I do not believe this sentence is using the reflexive verb 'mangiarsi', which would mean to eat oneself (gulp!). According to wordreference, 'mangiarsi' is limited to situations like biting your nails or enjoying yourself eating.
Instead I think this is a case of 'si impersonal', "When does one eat?" or "When do you eat?" or "When do we eat?" with the first one being the closest literal translation. That is consistent with translations such as "When does he eat?" being marked incorrect since the question is not about any specific person. See http://italian.about.com/od/verbs/a/italian-verb-essere.htm.
Thanks for clarifying, however I don't think Duolingo actually teaches that. The tables show si relating to they and he,she. I might be completely thick.
Thank you Ron Swanson, I'm sorry to see your streak is gone. Hope you learned all you could first.
Aw, many years ago I tried to teach myself Italian playing the Berlitz cassette tapes on a Sony Walkman. Dating myself there, I suppose. Gave up after a few weeks. I am now in my fourth year of studying Italian daily after having stumbled on DuoLingo. I still return to DL to freshen up my tree. I still curse the owl when I know my translation is good but not yet coded into the correct response list. DL and I have a complicated relationship!
Thank you, johnrush, for a great explanation! I spent a good 45 minutes on the site you provided the link for...a jaw-dropping resource for the serious student!!!
So... if I understand correctly, is this is like the French "on" as in "On mange quand?"?
Or like the Spanish "se" as in "¿Cuándo se come?"?
Pretty much an impersonal particle that can be understood as an implicit "We", right?
The content is still there: see 'Impersonal form' in the section 'Essere as an Auxiliary Verb.' It shows five English translations for 'Si mangia,' some of them are not obvious unless you are able to recognize 'si impersonal' in Italian.
Quando si mangia? = 'When do we eat? huh? Where is the "we" indicated? I understood "si" as 'to he/she/it" reflexive pronoun and mangia is not conjugated for 'we'....i am lost!
It is an impersonal form.
The closest thing in english would be "When do you eat?" (not "you you", talking in general)
As pointed out by JohnRush at the top of this conversation, "si" can be used as an indefinite pronoun like "someone" or "anybody" in english.
The closest translation would be something like "When does one eat?" (If you imagine they just left out "in Italy?" it might make more sense.)
But, as pointed out below by RolandoFurioso, this phrase is used a lot as it is considered more polite than the direct question "Quando mangiamo?"
Exactly! I'd have thought the mangia would suggest a he/she eats answer, and if the correct response is we eat then mangiamo should have been used?
This sentence is simply not one where "he" can be used impersonally, even though "he" sometimes can be used in that way.
This particular sentence involves the idea that the speaker as several others will be eating together some time in the future. Since it involves the speaker and others, that means you have to use "we" if you're being particular, but "one" can be an impersonal way of asking the same question.
In other instances, "one" or "you" can be used interchangeably where the speaker is not involving himself/herself in the future action, e.g., "When you go to the train station, what's the best way of getting there?" Again, "one goes" can be substituted as an impersonal way of asking the same question.
"they" can also be used to refer to a group of people: "They're planting flowers all over the city!" You would not substitute "one" here, except in a highly stylized (and inaccurate way): "One is planting flowers all over he city." It's not incorrect English, it's just weird and unusual - the kind of thing the Queen of English might say, but not the common folk.
"he" can rarely be used to replace "they", but the focus shifts from a general group to an unknown single person: "They broke my car windows last night last night! If I find them, I will have them/him/her arrested!" You could also say, "Someone broke my windows - If I find him/her, I'll...."
In American English, one can find instances where the clauses are not matched as to person: "SomeONE broke into my car; if I find THEM, I'll...." Tecnically that's bad grammar, but since we're discussion impersonal statements, it's not completely wrong.
The reflexive verb "mangiarsi" would need an object. The impersonal construction with "si + verb 3. person" is used quite often. As English uses the impersonal much less often you get translations like "when do we eat"
duolingo is not literally correct. Literally it means: 'When does one eat' and 'quando mangiamo?' is 'when do we eat'. But its so common do use 'Quando si mangia?' because its not so direct and therefore considered to be more polite.
Which is a very good argument in favor of not always insisting on literal translations when the string of words tends to carry an more holistic idiomatic meaning (that seems to be a constant tug-of-war here on dL).
Thanks for the explaination although I find it very weird that this phrase is used more often than "Quando mangiamo" but i guess there are many things that people find weird in English. [Native english speaker]
The use of 'si' before a 3rd person verb is what we use in English as the general. It is here used to say 'When do we eat', referring to the collective people in the group. If you were to say, for example, 'In Italy, they eat bread,' you would say, 'In Italia, si mangia pane.' Hope that makes a little sense!
It's so much easier to say "Quando mangiamo?", isn't it? I noticed some other comments agree. However, I do see the reasoning about "Quando si mangia" being less direct, more polite. Just have to memorize it this way I guess.
This impersonal usage is something "si trova" (one finds) a lot while reading Italian literature.
Yes, siebolt gives a great explanation for this sentence ... but I would like to be able to recognize and apply the rule to all 'reflexive verbs'. What is a reflexive verb?
Also, can someone explain the connection between 'mangiare' and 'mangiarsi'? They appear to be connected somehow ...
Here's a start at what a reflexive verb is
Bloody hell! I only got thus right because it gave a set of words from which to construct a translation and this was the only sentence that made sense. The suggested translations when I tap on a word were all in 2nd or 3rd person. There needs to be SOME kind of explanation of how and why this is the correct translation and the context in which it would be appropriate, otherwise it's next to useless as an exercise.
I don't understand this sentence...
Why is 'Quando si mangia?' translated as 'When do we eat?' I think the right sentence translated would be "When does 'he/she/it' eat?"
If you translate it as "When does he/she eat?" then the si means you have to add "himself/herself" at the end, a gruesome kind of sentence.
The same can be said for "When does it eat itself?", except that idiomatic usage transforms the sentence into an impersonal format. If we translated it as passive voice, the meaning would be both more literal and closer to the translation: "When is it eaten?" = "When does one eat?" = "When do we eat?"
It is often a key hint to an impersonal sentence when you see si in front of a 3rd person singular verb, and it's a good idea to consider translating it as 3rd person impersonal using the English "one" as the subject. That will not always be true, but it's something to always be on the lookout for.
Thanks for this. It makes fine sense. Still, I think Duo should offer some sort of alert with sentences that are more or less colloquial. "Quando si mangia? does NOT actually SAY "When do we eat" no matter how you slice it. No pun intended...
For what I have read it is the equivalent of "on" in French "se" in Spanish and "a gente" in Portuguese
Hi Mellissa, 'we' is translated from the 'si' in this construct. Si equates to 'we'( or 'one') e.g. when do we eat or when does one eat - have a look at Jeffrey's post in reply to Wagner above, it explains more. I hope this helps you.
It's like "man" in German or "on" in French I presume. In German we would also say "Wann wird gegessen?"
That is the impression I got as well.
Like "Quand est-ce qu'on mange ?" / "Quand mange-on ?" in French.
I cannot see how mangia can become we eat? Mind you I could desperately do with a table of these damn clitics in order for me to understand what is direct, indirect, singular and plural because at the moment I have very much hit the wall with this section.
See Jeffrey's reply to Wagner four months ago - this explains mangia and it's application in this instance.
Thank you johnrush and marninger who both gave excellent explanations for "quando si manga?"
I don't understand why it's "si mangia" to say 'we eat'. Why isn't it "Quando mangiamo"?
I do wish the explanatory notes on this damn clitics were clearer. Si is down as he, she and they. I thought this meant when does he eat. I guess I shall simply have to try not to care when he eats.
Ne ho fin sopra i capelli (I'm sick up to my hair...basically, I'm fed up to here)! If you're going to throw curve balls to folks DL, have some explanations somewhere!
There is no explanations, ever. It is similar to another mystery, 'Aspettiamo per cinque ore' in another unit which suddenly becomes 'We have been waiting for five hours.' Why does the present tense suddenly turn into 'have been'? No answer came the stern reply. But I think you deserve a lingot for a splendid phrase that I can use, being fed up to beneath my hat. Thank you, even if I am no wiser on why si mangia becomes 'we eat'.
Mille grazie Steve! BTW: Some great insights may be found in the DIscussion area where folks are fleshing out explanations. DL seems to take some license with translations. Quando si mangia? = When does one eat? Certainly, if asked in a roomful of hungry people, one could infer the question is on everyone's behalf. The lack of context and "close enough" translation is frustrating. "Quando mangiamo?" = When do WE eat? Ciao 4 now!