"le = a lei = to her" is an indirect object pronoun that answers the question A chi = "to whom?"
If the sentence was "Non gli parlo" than we would translate it as : " I do not talk to him/to them."
note: formal way of writing "gli = to them" is "loro" and it follows the verb : "Non parlo loro" = I don't talk to them. (personally, I find it strange)
check this for more examples http://www.cyberitalian.com/en/html/gra_prpr.html (pronouns are tricky)
le as an object either means
to her / for her
The translation only makes sense with to her.
A lightbulb comes on
Aha! So the choices are either "I don't speak them" or "I don't speak to her".
"Non loro parlo" is wrong. "Loro" is never used as a clitic. I'm not sure about the preposition "a", but otherwise it is "Non parlo (a) loro"
If you are talking about several languages you speak or not I think the other one also makes sense.
Here is how I analyzed it:
Firstly, the object pronoun precedes the verb, so I assumed it is in the class of unstressed (atonic, clitic) object pronouns, rather than the class of stressed object pronouns, which usually come after the verb.
Within the unstressed object pronouns, le is used in two ways: first, as the direct object 3rd person plural pronoun meaning them (feminine). If that were the case, we would have:
"I do not speak them", which I didn't think was right.
Le is also used as the indirect object 3rd person singular pronoun meaning to her. If that were the case, we would have:
"I do not speak to her", which I deemed the correct translation.
No 'le' is never the direct object 3rd plural person but it is also article plural female determinative: "Le donne" = The women
Well, I'm not an expert by any means. My source was an Italian grammar text. Regarding unstressed (or clitic) personal pronouns, it shows the following:
The direct object personal pronoun forms:
Singular: mi/me, ti/you, lo/him, la/her
Plural: ci/us, vi/you, li/them (masc.), le/them (fem.)
And the indirect object forms:
Singular: mi/to me, ti/to you, gli/to him, it, le/to her, it
Plural: ci/to us, vi/to you, gli/to them
loro can also be used for 3rd person, plural (masc. and fem.), but gli is more common.
Agree that "le" is also the plural, feminine definite article.
If this is incorrect, can you tell me what the correct unstressed direct object personal pronouns are?
Thank you for this. I was confused why sometimes her was le then la. This has helped.
I don't think this is correct because in other examples we used la for the females. Let say, non la mangio (I do not eat it and "it" is let say a banana a female object) and for female plural we say: non le mangio - I do not eat them and here they are bananas or banane in italian . I think like that way but probably there is a better explanation.