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.
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!
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 left out ". . in Italy?" it might make more sense.)
But, as pointed out below by RolandoFurioso, "Quando si mangia?" is a frequently used phrase as it is considered more polite than the direct question "Quando mangiamo?"
So you mean you as in the "universal" or plural sense rather than the "personal" singular sense. Even so, would that not be Quando Mangiate?
For me this is just another example of Duolingo asking questions about something which it hasn't really taught and Clitics is by far the worst module so far for doing this. It almost feels as if it should really be split into two modules so that they can include extra information in the tips section to cover what is actually a phenomenally complicated subject
My feeling exactly. I completed this module a couple months ago and hated every second of the learning (or lack of it). Made me want to give up entirely. It has returned a broken crown 3 times now and I want to dump learning Italian when I get into the lesson to restore. Can anyone reference additional (outside of DL???) that can make this understandable?
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 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!
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
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!
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.
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.
this is madness - and even if it is correct it has no place in a teach yourself module as it is impoosible to make sense of it without lengthy discussion (and probably even after it!) This must be one of those inexplicable colloquialismsthat are in every language - but it shouldn't be here as there is no way to translate it correctly