Would any native Italian speakers out there like to comment on whether "Vivo qui da trent'anni" is a better or worse translation for "I have lived here for 30 years?" than is "Ho vissuto ..." or "Sono vissuto/a ..."?
All three of them are valid. The only difference is that "Vivo qui da trent'anni" means you are still living there. "Ho/Sono vissuto..." has no such implication, so you can use it also if you are coming back to your home village after being abroad for twenty years..
Yes, the problem is, they shouldn't suggest the translation "I have lived here for thirty years", which, in English, implies I still live here.
The Italian sentence can imply that as well, while "vivo qui da trent'anni" is unambiguous.
That's an interesting distinction I wasn't aware of. Thanks! Greatly appreciated.
Can someone explain why the verb avere is used here with vissuto. When my dictionary shows essere used with vissuto.
Il dizionario dice che l'ausiliare di "vivere" e' "avere" quando il verbo e' transitivo ed "essere" cuando il verbo e' intransitivo, ma in alcune accezioni "avere".
According to Word Reference, "When this verb is used transitively, its compound tenses are formed with the auxiliary avere. In intransitive usage, compound tenses may be formed with either avere or essere, although essere is more common. The transitive and intransitive usages have similar meanings."
In English, the present perfect: "I have lived here for thirty years" is different to the past simple: "I lived here for thirty years". The former implies that the speaker is still living there in the present, the latter means that the speaker once lived there for thirty years but no longer does.
As far as I can tell in Italian, the same tense is used for both present perfect and past simple. If this is the case, how does one represent this difference in meaning?
If I understand correctly, the Italian passato prossimo is not used the same way as the English present perfect. The pp is used where in English the simple past would be used.
Therefore it is better to think of 'ho vissuto' as meaning simply 'I lived'. To translate the English 'I have lived' into Italian, you are better off with present tense, something like 'I am living here since 30 years'. Compare the German present perfect and present tense, which behave the same way on this point.
I'd also like to know why 'avere' is used since previously in the exercise 'essere' was used. To say 'I have lived here..." is not using the verb transitively. "Here" is not a direct object in the way "I have lived a good life" is. It's an adverb. Given other examples I've seen in verb lists, I feel it should be "Sono vissuto qui per trent'anni."
When used intransitively you can use "essere" or "avere", so you can say "sono vissuto qui per anni" as well as "ho vissuto qui per anni". Treccani says that "avere" seems to be more frequent: http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/vivere-avere-o-essere_(La-grammatica-italiana)/ As you correctly pointed out, when used transitively you must use "avere" so they are not completely interchangeable.