Translation:I think that they have kept the keys.
This is one of those cases when you are allowed to hate Italians: pronominal verbs :-) These verbs have the reflexive form but they are not reflexive (http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/verbi-pronominali_%28Enciclopedia_dell%27Italiano%29/)
Thank you for this useful link. I see that Italian pronominal verbs work as in other Romance languages. For anyone who reads this thread I would like to point out that IMO (warning: non Italian-speaker talking) si tenere differs from tenere in that the former conveys the sense of retaining something to oneself, for one's future use or whatever that excludes sharing with others, while the latter means simply to keep or hold something, even without the intent of possessing it. I hope this helps.
Hi, Muttley. Finally took the time to look at the web site you suggested - ma, e' in Italiano! Gosh. Too much like work. Too soon for me. (Thanks anyway.) But I did scratch around looking for English sites about pronominal verbs in Italian.
I see what you mean. A lot like our 'phrasal verbs' ... sorry, I am assuming you are English speaking, though it's hard to tell on this site. (That's a compliment, if you're not.) Phrasal verbs use prepositions and other particles to confused the $%^ out of second-language speakers. Put off, put on, put up, put out, put by ... great fun. So, I think I get it. Just because you think you understand the meaning of tenere, don't assume you know what tenersi means ... and anything ending in -sene is to be looked at very carefully. All thanks to that one clue 'pronominal' - for which, much thanks.
PS I would still like to know what 'tenersi un segreto' means. :)
> would rise more than an eyebrow.
Raise. Rise/raise is kind of like lie/lay. You can't lie a book on the table, you lay it there. You can't lay down (at least not in the present tense), you lie down. You don't raise in the morning, you rise. And you can't rise an eyebrow, you raise it.
Yes. "Subject" rises (itself) - The sun rises. "Subject" raises "object" (something other than itself) - He raises his hand/eyebrows. "Subject" lies (itself) - She lies on the bed/floor. "Subject" lays "object" - The hen lays an egg! This last example helps me to remember the difference.
Plenty of other languages I know have reflexive verbs, so I personally don't find them difficult at all as a concept. But I too concur with the original questioner that it's hard to understand why 'tenersi' is used in this particular sentence.
In past Duolingo lessons we have learned that 'tenere' means 'to keep' and 'tenersi' means 'to be held' or 'to take place' (e.g. an event). We've also learned the expression 'tenersi fuori', 'tenersi pronto', and 'tenersi lontano da'. All of these make instinctive sense to me. But none help us conclude that 'tenersi' should be used in THIS sentence (as opposed to simple 'tenere').
Is there perhaps a shades-of-meaning difference between "Penso che loro si siano tenuti le chiavi" and "Penso che loro abbiano tenuto le chiavi", or is the latter simply wrong?
And here's one on Italian pronominal verbs, in English - https://icebergproject.co/italian/2016/11/pronominal-verbs-in-italian/
mrule: I put (& had accepted) "I think they kept the keys for themselves", which granted doesn't make a lot of sense out of context, but it does render at least the reflexive. It would have made more sense (as a reflexive) if it'd been: I think they kept all the money for themselves or all the chocolate, etc."
Eileen, maybe it's the reflexive causing you trouble. The problem is not every Italian reflexive construction has an english equivalent. Here it's similar to the english folksy use of the reflexive (though the italian's quite normal) to indicate indirect objects: I bought me a new car/ I kept/saved me one for the road, etc. I don't know if that only muddies the waters, but maybe it's helpful. When there's no appropriate equivalent they simply have to be learned as you encounter them.