I would also like to know why it is voluti and not voluto? I keep seeing examples of participles changing to match the gender/number when they are being used with avere, but the information I have read on this elsewhere suggests this should only happen when the verb essere is used? It is very confusing!
I found out! So it is because whenever you have a direct object pronoun in the third person (lo, la, li, le), you have to match the past participle to that pronoun. Since "li" means "them (masc.)", the past participle "voluto" must match "li". So, there you have it: "Non li ho voluti". (This is the case with either essere or avere.)
I confirm this, and I want to underline that it works for pronouns only, with a stereotypical example:
Non ho voluto gli spaghetti. Non li ho ho voluti.
Pronouns take precedence. So either with essere or avere, the past participle must match the object pronoun in gender and number.
But you actually will never have essere + object pronoun, since essere is for intransitive verbs which, by definition, can't have a direct object.
I suspect that 'did not want' (simple past tense) is used much much more than 'have not wanted' (present perfect tense) The latter may fit a few contexts, but mostly it's the mark of a non-native speaker. Duo repeats this fault in lots of other examples too; probably someone who thinks avere always means 'have', which isn't so in compound tenses.
'I have not wanted them' sounds more like a continuous behaviour rather than a present perfect action.. Although I agree with the literal translation 'I did not want them' sounds more immediate.
This is becuase gli is an indirect object. Your translation means "I did not want to him", which doesn't make sense. Indirect objects answer to whom or for whom, whereas direct objects answer who or what. So in this case, What do I want? NOT To whom do I want?
OK, I can infer that it cannot be "gli", but must be "li". Or rather I could if my Italian were already stable enough. But can I hear it? Is there an audible difference or does it sound exactly the same (and should sound exactly the same if pronounced properly)?
Basically, "gli' is more gutteral. It has a sound that is created farther back in the mouth, whereas "li" would sound just as it does in English. It takes a fluent speaker to demonstrate the difference.
For me the sound is made initially with the tip of the tongue at the front of the palate and then rolls to the sides of the tongue at the sides of the palate to blend in the y bit
So there is an audible difference, but it is rather a small one. Maybe a bit bigger than the difference in English pronunciation between "n" and "m". Yes?
I think it's more like " li"= straightforward "l " sound, and gli more like a combination of "l" and "y"
Why is it "voluti" instead of "voluto"? I thought that participles didn't change gender/number when used with avere.
Doesn't "li" also mean ""you"? But when I put "I have not wanted you," it was marked wrong. How should I say "I have not wanted you" then?
Volere requires a direct object (pronoun that answers 'who?' or 'what?'). So, you must use the second person singular object in order to say "I have not wanted you." You would need to say "Non ti ho voluto." You might be thinking of 'gli' which sounds the same but means 'to you' instead. 'Li' only means 'them' (masculine).