"A loro non piacciono i cavalli."

Translation:They do not like horses.

July 9, 2013

36 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ashannray

I answered correctly, but I don't really understand why the A is necessary, or how it functions. Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kgoehringer

its because of how piacere is. it doesn't mean 'to like' its is 'to be pleasing to'. So you need the 'A' before to have it be correct. "To them the horses are not pleasing" ... but in english it doesn't make much sense so we just think 'they don't like the horses'. its not a literal translation unfortunately which makes these statements with piacere confusing to english speakers


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuckyLuca2

why is it 'a' not 'ai' which is plural?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/9HnN5

Then why it's not like "A loro i cavalli non piacciono" or "I cavalli non piacciono a loro"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Enethion

Well, you could use "I cavalli non piacciono a loro" (the horses aren't pleasing to them), but as lynettemcw wrote: Italian has great flexibility. In this case it's written so to fit more into order of "they do not like horses".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

Italian has great flexibility in terms of the placement of the subject and verb. I am not as sure about the Italian, but in Spanish you COULD make that syntactic change, but this way is used all the time. There is something about this word. Actually, in Shakespeare you will find examples of like used as here. But among romance languages Spanish and Italian use like this way, with the thing liked as the subject, while French and Portuguese are like Modern English. But for whatever reason, the similar syntax is the common one for both.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davebahena

i don't really know how to explain this but for me as a spanish speaker becomes super easy i guess you just have to get used to these linguistic differences by reading some texts either italian or spanish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thi-fcr

I am studying Spanish and this scructure is very similar on it. It would be "a ellos no les gustan los caballos". It means that the horses are not pleasing to them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

I also speak Spanish, but I have always objected to the idea that these verbs mean anything different from like. Translating them as anything but like suggests that there would be some other way to say like or that it was something inherently different from to like. Defining it as "is pleasing to" works as a memory gimmick to remember that the Italian (or Spanish) uses the thing liked as the subject of the sentence. There actually was that construction in English during Shakespeare's time. Portuguese uses the same verb as Spanish - gustar, but their syntax is like ours in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marikawait

I hate this verb


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/asagohan

Shouldn't there be a definite article, like "They do not like THE horses"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GRockower

I thought with verb piacere, the subjects are reversed. So the horses do not like them, instead of they do not like the horses. When to the suggests switch and when do they stay?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ululare

that is the explanatian, I read this litterally as "to them, (the) horses are not pleasing" (horses are the subject, not they)

which with reversed subjects becomes the more natural english "They don't like (the) horses".

at least, that is how I understand the explanation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnWolfe18

Why is "They do not like the horses" wrong? Is "i" not a definite article in this case?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Louisa392011

why not "the horses do not please them"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Teren798389

I wrote, "the horses are not pleasing to them." Isn't that actually correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

My natural answer to that question is - define correct. That construction is often used to teach the way like statements work in Italian and Spanish. Strangely, they don't work that way in French or Portuguese. But you have translated a quite ordinary Italian sentence into a sentence few native English speakers would ever utter. The bottom line is that if you look up like you get piacere and if you look up piacere you get like. There is no reason to translate it differently. The only purpose for teaching it this way is that it reminds use that the subject and object is different in Italian. It has nothing to do with meaning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Teren798389

Thanks. But whether or not, "few English speakers would ever utter" that phrase in your experience, it is actually correct and people still do use it. Really! I just found it strange that Duolingo marked that wrong when so many other possibilities are often allowed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hopeytd

Why is there an i in front of the pulral "horses"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jarpletz

because "i" is a plural article, and it saying " the horses"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiatKirby

I am not understanding the placement of 'A' before 'loro' in this sentence. 'A' is signifiying 'to/at', so where does that come into the construction/meaning of this sentence? Why not start with 'Loro', going on to say 'non piacciono i cavalli'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

The issue here is that loro isn't the subject of this Italian sentence, I cavalli is. Actually loro is the indirect object, hence the a. I learned Italian after Spanish, which works the same way, so I didn't have to learn it in Italian, but I assume they teach it the same way. The best translation for this sentence is with like, but if you want to understand what exactly is going on in the Italian, the translation is more awkward, but helps. To them the horses aren't pleasing. Since loro doesn't normally precede the verb, it looks different here. I don't like horses would be Non me piacciono i cavalli, but you will notice that the verb is still conjugated in the third person plural. In most sentence which talk about someone liking something, the verb will be conjugated in either the third person singular or plural based on whether it is one thing or an uncountable noun or more than one thing. But it can get confusing if you start talking about people liking other people. But here is the point that I don't quite understand in Italian. I like them would be Gli piaccio, but you don't generally use gli for they, and I don't know exactly what the rule is. In Spanish you see a lot of these "a" expressions, but it's a little different because they require the indirect object pronoun anyway. But in Italian, you generally only see the a before loro or a name. A Giuseppe non piacciono i cavalli.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiatKirby

Thank you, Lynette. A very helpful and learned explanation. Grazie, grazie.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiatKirby

I am wondering at use of 'A' commencing this sentence? I believe it denotes 'to, at', and wonder therefore why it's used before 'They' here? Previously, 'Alla ragazza ...' started a sentence and yet this translates to 'The girl' - how does one know when to use 'A' or 'Alla'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

The subject of this Italian sentence is actually the horses. Loro, is actually the indirect object, so that's why you get the a. You obviously don't need the article before an object pronoun. Piacciare just works backwards to how we say it in English. To translate this sentence more literally it would say To them the horses are pleasing. But of course we wouldn't say it like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiatKirby

Grazie, Lynettemcw. I remember you answered another of my questions earlier comprehensively and well, so you're a wealth of information! I understand now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brianswilson3141

"To them the horses are not pleasing." would be a more literal translation. This word order is kind of like English as it was spoken about 400 years ago.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/requenaslg

This one is curious. In english i don't quite understand it, but being a native spanish speaker, this one is like home haha. Is like saying "A ellos no..", when in english we don't really use the "A" for what i understand.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gingin448790

Manu has a fabulous master class SERIES about piacere on you tube


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iN0F6

Could some native speaker help out with the definite article in this translation? I've seen few others being confused by this as well.

The english translation is "They do not like horses" but was marked wrong when I typed " A loro non piacciono cavalli." Same thing with another sentence, " The girl does not like chicken", where I was marked wrong for typing " Alla ragazza non piace pollo."

Genuinely confused when to use a definite article and when not to. I was under the impression that if something was a generic noun, or a non specific subject, definite articles are not necessary.
Thank you in advance


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

I am not a native speaker, but I think that I can help you with this one. There are a few uses of the article in Italian that I'm not sure about.

There are several minor cases where Italian uses the definite article and English does not. Sentences about liking things will always have an article. There are two different ways to explain it, but they are essentially the same thing. In addition to using the definite article to identify a specific one, portion or set, as we do in English, in Italian they also use the article when you are generalizing about the whole. This means that the subject of a sentence is almost always going to have the article, because the sentence would be either about a particular one, portion or set, or it would be generalizing about the thing as a whole. So, when I say Il caffè e nero, it doesn't matter whether I am saying The coffee is black (the stuff in my cup) or that Coffee is black (as a characteristic).

In Italian, the thing liked is actually the subject of the sentences about liking things. So I cavalli is the subject here. Based on the rule I just laid out, the article is required. But the same situation would exist even if the thing liked were not the subject. When you say you like something, you are either talking about a specific one, portion or set, or you are saying that you like them in general. Thus, even sentences about preferring something will use the article, since you need it either way.

As I said, I'm not a native speaker or even particularly fluent, but I am pretty fluent in Spanish which works the same here. When I said there were articles that I wasn't sure of, they are some articles that appear to be partitive like in French, which always uses some sort of article. But that's inconsistent and a separate issue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iN0F6

Thank you lynettemcw! That really clarified things for me!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rune263325

A loro non = for they do not ???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

Remember that Loro isn't the subject of the Italian sentence, i cavalli is. A loro is essentially the indirect object saying to whom the horses are pleasing. The English and Italian aren't supposed to match here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johanna681827

I wrote I don't instead of I do not..... it was a mistake!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynettemcw

It's neither I don't nor I do not. It's they don't or they do not.

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