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"Non ho niente nella mia borsa."

Translation:I do not have anything in my bag.

April 22, 2013

79 Comments


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

I do not have anything and I have nothing is the same, no? So why is I have nothing in my bag incorrect


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

'I have nothing in my bag' was accepted just now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gianpaolo688419

according to the defenitions shown, it's not clear that this isn't "i don't have nothing in my bag"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Translations are not word-for-word.

Because Duolingo is essentially school, you translate it into standard English: I don't have anything in my bag.

If the context were more informal and you were translating into a dialect that has negative concord, then it would be appropriate to say "I don't have nothing in my bag" or even "I ain't got nothing in my bag."

On Duolingo, though, stick with standard/academic/business English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Once again, people, language is not math. They don't "cancel each other out". Many languages require negative concord, which can be thought of as similar to how adjectives agree with nouns. English is somewhat unique in its stigmatization of negative concord as the so-called "double negative".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siciliano1993

I believe if you said "Ho niente.." instead of "Non ho niente.." it would be more similar too 'i have nothing..' as opposed to 'i dont have anything..'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/losik55

I thought that 'I have nothing' would be correct but tried 'I do have nothing' and was wrong.


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

Its because, that's not grammatically correct. Neither is "I don't have nothing," that would be a double negative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/losik55

What about

As an auxiliary verb do is used with a main verb when forming interrogative or negative sentences, or for adding emphasis.

Is such an emphasis possible?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Yes, you're fine. "ThenSheAteIt" is being over-zealous.


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

Given that the Italian has "Non ho" at the beginning of the sentence, Duolingo is likely expecting you to include the translation "I do not have" at the beginning of yours. "I have nothing" means the same thing in English, but it is not an accurate translation of this Italian.


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

I am a Spanish native speaker and what wataya says it's true: double or triple negative are very common, for example: "no tengo nada en mi bolsa".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

An easier way to think of it for both languages is that it is not a double negative, but instead that the entire sentence is negative. That may have been something that wataya posted in a Spanish exercise, I know I saw it in the Spanish tree somewhere.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

It's called negative concord, and a lot of languages have it.


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

This reads like a double negative. "I don't have nothing in my bag" would be the literal translation to english. "Ho niente nella mia borsa" would be more grammatically correct in English, is the same not true of Italian?


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

No. Double (or even triple) negatives are normal and common in Italian (and other Romance languages, for that matter). "Ho niente..." might work colloquially, but the normal way of saying it is "Non ho niente...". See here: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare141a.htm


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

I haven't got anything in my purse should be correct (because a previous answer marked my "haven't any" to "haven't got any") logically this would be consistent


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

The first translation for niente was "nothing" so I answered "I do not have nothing in my bag", but then the answer came out the opposite. Is 'nothing' and 'anything' has the same meaning in italian or what?? Both words are the opposite of each other


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CatherineK153278

I want to know the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Italian has what's called negative concord. It's where negatives have to agree with each other in much the same way adjectives must agree with nouns. The standard translation of "Non ho niente nella mia borsa" is "I don't have anything in my bag."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kat598861

Why does "no i have nothing in my bag" not work? I understand making everything negative


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Because "non" is only "not". "No" is "no".


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

Why "nella mia borsa" but "in tasca"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pianoman598

Why is it not "la mia borsa"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

"nella" is "in" + "la", so it's already there.


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

Why can't I use pocketbook for purse?


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

How is any book at all similar to a bag/purse?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

A pocketbook is a small handbag. A handbag is another word for purse.


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

Alternatively, "Non ho niente nella mia taza." "Non ho niente nell mio piatto." "Non ho niente nelle mie scarpe."

Would anyone mind telling me if these sentences are correct? Thank you. :)


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

Non ho niente nella mia tazza (cup) with two Z, Non ho niente nel mio piatto (dish) with only a L, Non ho niente nelle mie scarpe (shoes) they are correct :D


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

"I don't have a thing in my bag" should be accepted? (English isn't my 1st language)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

It's a bit more emphatic than "I don't have anything in my bag", but it's definitely something a native speaker would say. If that was not accepted, you could report it and suggest it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loosh26

why is it Non AND Niente? surely that makes it "i have no nothing" why is the Non needed?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

It's called "negative concord". Not all languages consider the "double negative" to be a bad thing.

http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~guerzoni/downloads/CLS38_NC.pdf


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

Why isn't " I haven't anything in my bag' accepted ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Report it and suggest it. The people who put this course together couldn't think of everything, and the site focuses on Standard American English.


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

These double negative sentiment keep cropping up. I don’t have nothing doesn’t compute in my language. Is there another word for “anything” other than “niente” which really means “nothing” doesn’t it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

We stigmatize it as "double negative" in Standard English, but there are many dialects and languages where negative concord is required.

Think of negative concord as a lot like agreement between a noun and its adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liquorice3

In tasca, but nella mia borsa?


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

This English translation is also correct I believe. No I have nothing in my bag.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

No. You're adding an extra, sentence-level negation that was not in the original. What you're suggesting would be "No, non ho niente nella mia borsa."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgiakinder506

Literally translates to "I don't have nothing in my bag". Sounds like Northern English!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

It's called negative concord and a lot of languages have it, including English. It's just that not too long ago some English-speaking people decided that language "ought" to behave like math and logic (spoiler alert: it doesn't) and decreed that negative concord is "wrong" (language does not work by decree).

Think of it as similar to how adjectives need to agree with nouns.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angelo390418

Could "borsa" mean purse or bookbag? If not, what are they called?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy297740

It can also translate as Anything. I do not have anything In my bag. Italian does use double negatives often but in this case it is saying that it does not have anything. niente [ˈnjɛnte]

PRONOUN (nessuna cosa) nothing (qualcosa) anything non... niente nothing ⧫ (espressione negativa) + anything https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/amp/italian-english/niente

niente

nothing Synonym: nulla Cosa fai? Niente. ― What are you doing? Nothing. anything Synonym: nulla Hai bisogno di niente? ― Do you need anything? Non voglio niente da mangiare. ― I don't want anything to eat

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/niente


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Translation is not about taking each word individually. And it's called negative concord, which is a thing many languages have, even many dialects of English (although it has disappeared in standard English). Most people who call it a "double negative" are just irrationally stigmatizing language for not being like math.

https://ygdp.yale.edu/phenomena/negative-concord

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_negative


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth771728

I find it really irritating that I have to remember that these Americans do not accept that we English do not often use their, what is to me very awkward, turn of phrase 'do not have' Rather, we say haven't. Why will they not count the English version?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Duolingo is an American company and the volunteers who put this module together are American. It stands to reason that they are more familiar with how we speak here in the USA than with how people in other English-speaking countries talk. If your valid, correctly-spelled translation is marked wrong, you need to flag it and report "My answer should be accepted" before you move on. If enough people flag the same answer, the team will consider adding it to the database for this prompt.


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

I dont have nothing is a double negative so is a positive meaning I do have something which is not what is being said!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Only recently and in the standard dialect of English is negative concord stigmatized this way. Language is not math. Many languages and dialects use negative concord the same way they use adjective agreement for nouns.


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

Yup, confusing. The literal translation of "niente" is actually "nothing" so this becomes a contextual definition it seems. In English of course "I don't have nothing" actually means "I have something". Not so in Italian?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Language is not math. Many languages have negative concord, which is comparable to adjective agreement.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GEOFFREYSH12

NON HO NIENTE is a double negative and so logically means that i have something


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

Never apply logic to language. Language is not math.

Linguists call it negative concord (a.k.a. agreement) and many languages require it.


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

Okay I know that in+la = nella....but I forgot. However, the pronunciation seems to say non ho niente IN LA mia borsa.


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

Can't confirm this. I can clearly hear "nella".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steve51628

A double negative here;. Is that correct in Italian? It's not correct English to say "I don't have nothing in my bag"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2473

In English we consider it a double negative, but in plenty of languages like Italian that's simply negative concord. It's similar to the idea as having adjectives agree with nouns.

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