Basic 2

So I'm pretty new to this language thing :) I'm loving duoLingo, but I'm havin a TERRIBLY time with Basic 2. Does anyone have any tricks to remembering the differences between things like "they" and "we" and all the different forms of "eat," "drink," etc.?

Any fun little mnemonics or other tricks will do!

June 12, 2013


I suggest you write down all the forms of the verb that get provided;

so for example

to eat

[in one coloumn] - mangio, mangi, mangia,

[in another column] - mangiamo, mangiate, mangiano.

And when you run into a new verb just write that down in the same kind of format. Eventually you'll be able to picture a little table in your head and be able to pick out which form of the verb to use. Many forms just change the letter at the end; with some weird exceptions; so mnemonics won't always be reliable.

There is a basic pattern for verb conjugations in Italian that can help you learn the various forms. However, there are LOTS of exceptions ("irregular verbs"), so the following is a very BASIC primer for the pattern of present tense verbs: There are basically three "types" of verbs, which are determined by their endings: "are" (comprare - to buy), "ere" (vedere - to see) and "ire" (aprire - to open). To conjugate regular verbs in present tense ("I buy", "I see", "I open"), drop the infinitive ending ("are", "ere", "ire") to get the verb stem, and then add the appropriate ending based on the "person" performing the action. The endings are all very similar. verb stems: COMPR (COMPRare--drop the "are"), VED (VEDere -- drop the "ere"), APR (APRire --drop the "ire"). SUBJECT Io (I) comprO vedO aprO tu (you, single) comprI vedI aprI lui\lei(he\she) comprA vedE aprE noi (we) comprIAMO vedIAMO aprIAMO voi (you,plural) comprATE vedETE aprITE loro (they) comprANO vedONO aprONO

If the verb stem ends in "i" (mangiare has a stem of "mangi") do not double the "i" with any ending (for example, it's "tu mangi" and not "tu mangii"). For irregular verbs the endings are generally the same, but the stems are different (for example, "bere" has a present tense stem of "bev"). Unfortunately, you need to learn these on a case by case basis.

ziggkogg's suggestion of creating tables to help is a very good one.

I hate it when the formatting gets wiped on posting....

It is sort of tricky to have your post in the format you're picturing.

I'm learning Italian because of the coronavirus situation there. I'm a linguist and I find the tips for Basic 2 confusing. Suggestions for the next version:

  1. Explain what plural definite articles are to non-grammarians.

  2. Give examples of gli, i, and le to show what you mean.

  3. Explain what an articulated preposition is. I can figure it out, but a lot of people don't understand terms for parts of speech beyond noun and verb. Try not to lose people in the grammar forest. My attempt at a simple explanation:

    Words like to, from, and in are prepositions. In Italian these words can combine with the word for the. Examples: (etc.)

  4. "Article: il, lo, la, l', i, gli, le" Which article are you talking about? In English there are four (a, an, the, some). In Spanish, there are definite/indefinite, singular/plural, and masculine/feminine articles and combinations thereof. In Spanish I never learned "articulated prepositions". I just learned "articles + preposition contractions or combinations", like "a + el = al, de + el = del". The same in Portuguese and French ("a + le = au". Please simplify.

  5. "The compounds formed by con and per are archaic and literary" Too much information at this point.

  6. I suggest introducing ONE or TWO prepositions in a lesson, not five.

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