I only know of the rule that says that you can omit the possessive, not the article, when it is obvious it is a personal piece of clothing, and the main object of the sentence ... from the link below:
- Omission of possessive adjectives
In general, possessives are not used with parts ot the body or clothing of the subject when they are the object of the action taken by the subject.
Examples: Mi sono lavato la faccia (I washed my face). Gianni si è tolto il cappello (Gianni took off his hat).
I can't find a source for this, but every time I've come across an Italian sentence which is constructed as "The [noun] is [possessive]" there is no article in front of the possessive. So, I believe that in Italian grammar, when a singular noun is the subject of a sentence and the possessive follows the verb, the article is omitted, as here. The rules about body parts and clothing have to do with such possessive pronoun/adjectives appearing before the noun, not after the verb. So,
La mia casa è bianca. La casa bianca è mia.
The part on possessive adjectives seems to have relevant examples. But you probably know this source already. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_grammar#Possessive_adjectives
Thanks! I may not have read carefully enough, but I couldn't find examples of this form. I had a look around and realised this form is actually a possessive pronoun (replacing the noun) and it seems it should always include the definite article (unless it's a close family member of course). http://italian.about.com/od/grammar/a/italian-possessive-pronouns.htm So it seems to me that the Italian sentence used by Duolingo is wrong, and fekundulo is right! I would still like to see if ziggKogg has a link with other examples, though.
Update: I just found a better link that explains it! http://www.iluss.it/free_iluss/elementary_free/possessivi_online/text.htm (See pronomi possessivi at the bottom) Main points: possessive pronouns (replacing the noun) ALWAYS take the definite article, EVEN with close family members, UNLESS after essere (where it is optional)
Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.
... a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
I wrote "I know WHICH hat is mine" on the Italian to English translation and it was marked as incorrect. "I know WHAT hat is mine" is given as the correct answer which is ridiculous both in English and in Italian. Now this translates as "..which hat is mine." WHICH is WHAT I had in the first place.
Oh yes, thank you. This was an old post for me. For most of the summer I have been practicing doing this when speaking double cosonants. It was difficult at first, and I discovered a few words that I had been mispronouncing. But now, my speaking is much better (for certain my speech to text software is recognizing much more of what I am speaking.)
There was quite a bit of advice about speaking the double consonants in the discussion here: