"The elephant is an animal."
Translation:L'elefante è un animale.
- La (pl. le) is used before feminine nouns beginning with any consonant.
- L’ (pl. le) is used before feminine nouns beginning with a vowel.
for more check http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare110a.htm
The way we learnt it in school was that nouns ending with:
O is singular male, becomes I for plural: il ragazzo, Paolo; i ragazzi.
A is singular female, becomes E for plural: la ragazza, Paola; le ragazze.
E is singular for either and becomes I for plural: il limone, i limoni; la discussione, le discussioni
Sometimes the article before the noun will clarify the gender and if the word is singular or plural but as a note, some words which are male/female can in fact be reversed if we are talking specifically about the gender. For an example, the cat, which we have learnt to be male singular word can also be female singular and so the plural forms also reflect on the gender: il gatto, i gatti; la gatta, le gatte. For the most part the male plural form is used to talk about mixed gender groups: I gatti, I ragazzi, etc. I guess in the same way we would say we are human/men if we described our species even if we are female.
GeoffTighe, there are two ways that I use. The easy way is to find some text with the right letter, copy it with the mouse, and paste it into the text box. That usually works.
Another way is to use the "Character Map" application on Windows. A similar application is available for Linux and probably for Macintosh, too. It lets you browse through the available characters, and copy them, so you can paste them where needed.