Can "i ragazzi" refer to a group of children composed of girls and boys and not just a group of boys (similar, I think, to the Spanish use of "los ninos" referring to either boys or a general group of children)?
Yes; in general, for a mixed group Italian defaults to the male plural, although it's sometimes more polite to repeat (ai ragazzi e alle ragazze).
Don't think of the English meaning, or you're going to be in trouble when you meet other uses of the preposition "a"; "ai" is the compound form you have to use when the preposition "a" is followed by the plural masculine article "i".
Thanks for clearing that up, I was momentarily confused by that. :) I should have remembered that from "nel" and "nello."
Is ai clearly pronounced like hai?
I actually "corrected" ai the first time and made it hai because the normal audio version was not intelligible and the slow version was pronounced hai. The ai in three more slightly different sentences also was pronounced like that.
Actually, 'to' is mandatory in this case, as it is a preposition and is explaining where she was writing. I am a native English Speaker and can tell you that the phrases 'The woman writes the boys' and 'The woman writes to the boys' are completely different because of the preposition 'to'
I'm afraid I would have to disagree with ReillyNoll0. In my experience, "The woman writes the boys" would be a common way to say this, it sounds natural to me, and I see no difference in meaning between that and "The woman writes to the boys." The preposition "to" is implied/understood. One frequently hears things like "It's time to write your congressman." The "to" is implied/understood. It's the form of expression that many people use.
Leaving out the "to" is not natural-sounding with some other verbs of communication, however, such as: XXShe reads ( ) the boys.XX; XXShe talks ( ) the boys.XX; XXShe yells ( ) the boys.XX
From your example of writing to your congressman I assume you are in the United States, where this may well be true. In Britain, however, the "to" is obligatory, saying "it's time to write your Member of Parliament" would not make sense.
Pronunciation wise is ai one syllable such as eye, or more of a two syllable ah-E?
Is there a difference in meaning between "kids" and "childeren" (or ragazzi and bambini) that I am not aware of? Sorry english is not my native language either so it is a bit more difficult for me.
usually "bambini" reffers to younger children. "ragazzi" if also for older children, teenagers and young adults.
If Italians always use the definite article here, how do they know if she writes to children in general, for example she's a writer or if she writes to the children, specific children, for example her sons?
Well, there are a lot of languages without articles at all. Despite that fact people understand each other
Good question. I don't know in Italian but in English we know because we have a specific preposition. I write 'for' children if I am a children's author and 'to the children' if I am writing a letter to specific children. So it's not just about the definite article.
In your example if she was an author writing for the children in Italian it should've been 'per i bambini' instead of 'ai (a+i) bambini'.
Why "the woman writes to boys" is not correct? How would you say that (without 'the') if 'ai' includes 'the' already?
'To the' is one word in the Italian but when translating into English write it as two words: 'to the boys'.
I see. So, is it not possible to say "to boys" in Italian - considering we want to make a general statement?
Sorry cankoseoglu, I thought you were asking about the English. I'm not Italian so I can't help you with that. My guess is that 'She writes to boys' it would be 'Scrive i ragazzi' Or maybe just 'scrive ragazzi'.
Thanks for the help stsmi. I guess we'll find out the answer in future chapters..
I don't hear the "ai" in the pronunciation. Does it typically blend together with the verb or is it just the way this lady pronounces it?
How do you know what tense its in i put the woman wrote to the boys...but it says it has to be writes but that sounds wrong translation wise
The ending of the verb (scrivere in this case) will tell you. Scrive means third person singular (lui, lei, Lei) in the present tense (presente). Look if this table is of any help for you. It shows you all flections of scrivere
She either will write to , is writing to, or wrote but in italian are there special tenses?
I responded, "the woman writes to the boys" and got the 'oops! that's wrong' response