1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel…

"Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel piatto."

Translation:The cook has cheese on the plate.

December 19, 2012

121 Comments


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

soundfile unclear


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

maybe I'm crazy, but I even slowed this down and it sounded like they said "una" instead of "nel". I played it 4 times before deciding that even though I didn't think it made sense, maybe I was going to learn something new about grammar. Instead, I learned I should take the sound file with a grain of salt...


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

The audio is trying to confuse us I think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Malc851545

I find it difficult to hear some of the words in Italian and Portuguese as the volume fluctuates, from normal to almost silent, mid sentence, even on slow repeat.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Philly9795

The cook has "THE" cheese on the plate, should be 100% right since it says "IL formaggio"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

In general, that's not good reasoning to use. Never apply the rules of one language to another.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caleb758888

How then would you write this differently if you were intending to translate it to "the cheese"?


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

But do you have to use "il" in the Italian sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

I must disagree with one of my favorite contributors, Rae, on this point. If the English sentence has "the", you must use "il". If the English sentence does not have "the" in it, the use of "il" is optional. Some time ago, Italians started throwing in "the" where we do not use it in English for things in general, rather than specific things. But, it is proper to leave it out and Duolingo will accept those sentences written with or without "il". Now, if you want to sound more like a native speaker......


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gh0stwheel

"...it is proper to leave it out and Duolingo will accept..."
That is only partially true.
e.g., In English when we use possessive determiners / possessive pronouns, just saying my or his gives all the definiteness needed.
In Italian however, with few exceptions, you must add a definite article before the possessive.
(È il mio gatto - It is my cat.
But:
Il gatto è mio - The cat is mine.)
There are also cases when you do use a definite article in English, but omit it in Italian:
e.g., "Why are you in the bathroom?"
Perché sei in bagno?
But:
"Why are you in the bathtub?"
"Perché sei nella vasca da bagno?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Greg22349

It is good reasoning when I'm being asked to translate it to english and that's how you would say it in english!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

I repeat: Just because there are sentences that happen to work out the same way in both languages does not mean you should assume it always works that way, because it does not. You translate it that way into English because that's how you say it in English, not just because that's how they say it in the other language.


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

the sound file is very unclear


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zhou660640

I think we should just look at the words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Some of the lessons involve transcription, in which case there are no written words to look at.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tor.sacco

I'm so done with all these audio files.


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

How would one know that it's on the plate, as opposed to on a plate?


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

in un piatto - on a plate, nel piatto - on the plate


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beki33

Whenever you have "nel" "al" "del" "dal" "nella" "della" etc. it's the definite article :)


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

Because "nel" corresponds to a definite article.


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

The indefinite article stuff is completely killing me on answering a lot of these - "a" or "the" seems to be what i get wrong almost 100% of the time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BigBrother4G

Fortunately, most times you can tap the Italian article, and view the English translation of "a" or "the" in case you forget which is the correct answer. (Easy breezy!)


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

I hear "Il cuoco e" instead of "Il cuoco ha"...


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

The translation of "nel" is given as "in the", but in the translated sentence it appears as "on the".


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

Many Italian pronouns (such as 'per', 'a', etc) can correlate to multiple pronouns in English. It is my understanding in this case that they may consider food to be "in" a plate, whereas an English speaker would consider it to be "on" the plate. Although the literal translation might be "in," the appropriate meaning in English would be "on." On a related note: in Italy, plates on which saucy foods are served are often high-walled and might even be considered bowls - perhaps this is where the confusion comes from?


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

In Latin, which Italian comes from, there is only one word "in" which means in/on, or into/onto if used in a different grammatical case. (In case you were curious, in/on uses ablative, into/onto uses accusative.)

I would assume that "on" is a French or German adaptation of the Latin word "in", which would mean that Italian never acquired a different word for "On top of". I can sort of see this with Latin "ad" (to), which can also mean "near" or "towards", and with certain verbs "in front of/before", where I would expect the dative or accusative.

Latin is fun. Italian is fun too. I'd recommend learning Latin after Italian, you'd learn a lot about grammar. More than any English class has taught me.


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

I learned English in Latin class, the intricacies anyway!


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

My crockery knowledge is not perfect but I would say 'dish' would be a more accurate description, in this case, as this incudes the rimmed bowl as well as the flatter unrimmed 'plate'. Personally, if I see the food is more than halfway below the level of the rim of the 'dish' then I would say that's in rather than on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dhaas70

Aside from not being a literal word for word translation, is there some reason "The cook has a plate of cheese" is considered incorrect?


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

I think "a plate of cheese" would be "un piatto di formaggio". Nel is a contraction of "in il".


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

That is not what is written. The quote specifies The Cheese, as though there were a known block of specific cheese. Il cuoco ha un piatto di formaggio is a different sentence, and connotes the Cheese course as well.


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

Italians so often flow one word into another which can sometimes be hard on the ear to figure out. However I like the authentic and accurate sound of the clip - it is the way Italians speak.

I have found that if you hold the mouse over any word it isolates and plays just that word - excellent, and it makes it easier to understand and assemble 'the parts'.


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

What's the difference between ''in'' and ''on''?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

In this case, it's framed as "in" the plate in Italian because it's considered a vessel that contains things.


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

Nothing in italian it's the same


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

Not so. Rae.F's right about this...there's also a word for on, "su."


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

Is sul piatto acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gh0stwheel

Yes. But 'sul' is only used for "on the", never for "in the".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Literally, yes, but usage differs between the two languages.


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

Why does it not accept "The cook has a plate with cheese on it"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Different focus. "The cook has cheese on the plate" focuses on the cheese, and it happens to be on a plate. "The cook has a plate with cheese on it" focuses on the plate, and it happens to have cheese on it. Also the difference between "a plate" and "the plate".


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

Why is cheese definite here? I don't quite grasp when to make something definite and when not to. In English, it's just "cheese", but it Italian, it's "the cheese."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philster043

It would appear that Italians like to use definite articles more than the English (the Germans do, too). I suspect it's to aid in alleviating any possible confusion on plural/singular nouns (that and it just flows well in Italian).


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

I agree with philster; through my Italian university courses we use articles a lot more in Italian than English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/diegobm11

What is "il cuoco" that it's the same that "a chef" it doesn't have a lot of sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gpalumbo756

Yes, "il cuoco" is chef i had the same doubt


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

A chef is a "capocuoco" or "head cook". "Chef" is also used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PamelaC1

I don't know why it is so difficult for everyone to understand her. She does speak clearly


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VeronicaAv13

Usé nello en vez de nel. Cual es la diferencia?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

nello = in + lo
nel = in + il


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chinmay.Dhawan

Nel means on or on the?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

"nel" is literally "in + il" where the Italian word "in" happens to roughly translate to the English word "in". But Italian in this context uses "in" where English uses "on".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chinmay.Dhawan

Oh! I see, Thanks. :)


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

How can I tell if it means 'cheese is on the plate' or 'cheese is in the dish' - as in 'the meal contains cheese'? Also, is it always the masculine form 'il cuoco', even if it is a woman, or la cuoca'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

"to be in the dish" meaning "the meal contains the ingredient" is an English idiom. I would not assume that it's framed the same way in Italian.


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

Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel piatto. = The cook has THE cheese on the plate


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Italian uses definite articles differently than English does. Different language, different grammar rules. It's never a good strategy to translate word-for-word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David738689

regardless, if you were referring to specific cheese (the cheese) you'd surely use the exact same phrase. It might not translate directly all the time but i'm certain it's a correct use and shouldn't be marked otherwise, especially when the definite article is translated directly elsewhere in the course. If the definite article weren't there, granted it'd be incorrect. It is, so while it's not necessary, I'm certain it's still acceptable


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

I am learning this language...can someone tell me the what would with using "sul" instead of "nel" especially in the context of the sentence above. With my small knowledge of the language so far, "sul" translates as "on the" while "nel" translates as "in the" shade some light please.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Many times, words do not have perfect correspondences between languages. This is especially true for prepositions. Sure, "su" literally means "on" and "in" literally means "in", but they are often used differently. Why are we "in" a car but "on" a train? Why are we "in" bed? Why are we "on" a couch but "in" a chair?

In English, a plate is a surface so we put things "on" it. In Italian, a plate is a vessel so they put things "in" it.


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

Much appreciated. Thanks very much. Am clear now.


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

The female speaker definitely says "nella piatta". I've complained about this misleading pronunciation for 4 years and Duo has done nothing about it. The male speakers don't present the same problem.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OliviaChri12

There is no button option for 'the'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kathleen604588

Why does "il formaggio" not translate to "the cheese"? How would it be worded in Italian to mean "the cheese"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David738689

Wouldn't accept 'the cook has the cheese on the plate', even though the (admittedly ambiguous) definite article was present in the Italian, and could be referring to specific cheese. If it weren't there then both definite articles would be wrong, but it is there and can translate. Course needs editing for certain!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna470801

The is in front of cheese not the plate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Both nouns should have it: The cheese is on the plate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/odd-feels

I love this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linkdude240

Dah! I forgot the "il" before the "formaggio".


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

I did not understand a word she said. Smdh


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

I forgot my 2nd "t" in "piatto". Whenever something like that happens in any other game, etc., the spelling error passes. Why is it incorrect now?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nautica.ga1

Maybe "piato" is another word


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redskins0682

I see your point. But I've done that before in other places, (I'm no spelling champ, especially on the keyboard), and it does pass.


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

this sentence is really difficult to spell by ear eheh


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

She did not pronounce il.


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

I would have a perfect score if she spoke clearer


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

Both are the same in Italian. I give a more complex description earlier in the discussion; scroll up if you want to see it.


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

Sound file is unclear. Listened to it five times and still got it wrong because I missed the "il" in front of formaggio which it's not clear to me yet whether it should be there or not anyway.


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

Sorry, but 'the' was not included among choices, so i just used on and got dinged for it. Nutz!


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

well, thank you for that very useful info xD


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

Would "Il cuoco ha il formaggio sul piatto" be equally as acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Demirciefe282

When speaks faster she says "e" but while speaking slower she says "a"!


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

Hopefully he doesn't cut the cheese.


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

I said the cook has the cheese on top of the plate. Why is that wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Well, you can report it if you like, but the standard way of putting it is simply "on the plate".


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

There is only one "the" in the options


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake566752

There was no second "the" to place in my sentence so I got it wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I8poGdek

The audio sounds bad and the pronunciation its bad.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJP22

"Nel" says neither "a" nor "the", only "on". So either "on the" or "on a" can be correct surely? The nearest exact English I can think of for "nel piatto" would be "plated", which avoids the issue but is a bit strained!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

"Nel" is literally "in"+"il", which is "in the". But in English we say "on" a plate. Either way, the "the" is explicitly there.


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

Is it me or the English translation is a bad one (i.e., not idiomatic) ? Wouldn't a native English speaker rather say something like "There is cheese in the cook's plate/dish" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

It sounds fine to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margerita802022

i thought su is on and nel is in -


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Yes, "su" is "on" and "in" is "in" ("nel" is one of the ways to say "in the").

But usage differs between languages. A plate is a sort of container, therefore they frame it as "in" the plate. But we say "on" the plate, so that's how we translate it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Greg295774

It sounds like they are pronouncing "nella" instead of "nel".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tynna.sellenne

There ia no "the" among the options of words, so why do i get the question marked incorrectly since there was a missing word...


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

I said ha and it didnt capture it


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

Il formaggio is the cheese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oeleo5

It s not a cooker ?


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

either this was hard or the sound file doesnt work


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdiYan12

by far the most unclear soundfile xD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LMouse42

the statement was not audible - poor quality of sound


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

a should be allowed instead of the


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisa767985

Why in this case is il formaggio not "the" cheese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Because Italian uses articles differently than English does. Translation is never word-for-word substitution. The grammar is going to be different, too.


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

You cant put food in a plate


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gh0stwheel

The literal translation of prepositions in different languages does not always match the proper way one uses them in all cases.

We think of food as "on the plate" while Italians think (when thinking in Italian) of it as being "in the plate". So while the literal translation of nel is indeed "in the", one would still translate the sentence as "on the plate" simply because that is the proper preposition in English.

Italians conceptualize the plate to "contain" food, hence they use nel.
Though, for the Italian word for "tray" (vassoio)
you would translate "on the" literally: sul.
Also, if you see many traditional Italian plates,
they are not as flat as the common American plate.

This issue with prepositions differing, is not unique to Italian versus English. Try Hebrew or Arabic compared to English.

᛫ "Meet you on Monday, in Washington, at the corner of Independence and 3ʳᵈ Street."

All of the italicized prepositions above, will be translated in this specific sentence as (hebrew 'ב'. Or as in Arabic 'في'.), even though they all have corresponding prepositions that are used the same as in English in other cases.

P.S.

The literal Italian translation of "on the", is sul.


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

where the article THE before cheese?


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

This is a very bad english sentance


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

There is nothing wrong with the English sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustinGuy418

It shouldn't use "in the," unless the cook is extremely talented an managed to stuff the inside of a hollowed-out plate with cheese.


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

Italian, like Latin, seems to have one word for "in" and "on", being "in". As replied to the user notesurfer above: "In Latin, which Italian comes from, there is only one word "in" which means in/on, or into/onto if used in a different grammatical case. (In case you were curious, in/on uses ablative, into/onto uses accusative.)

I would assume that "on" is a French or German adaptation of the Latin word "in", which would mean that Italian never acquired a different word for "On top of". I can sort of see this with Latin "ad" (to), which can also mean "near" or "towards", and with certain verbs "in front of/before", where I would expect the dative or accusative.

Latin is fun. Italian is fun too. I'd recommend learning Latin after Italian, you'd learn a lot about grammar. More than any English class has taught me."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2091

Italian has words for both "on" and "in". But no two languages use prepositions the same way. Consider how in English we say we're "in" bed even though we're lying on top of it. In Italian, food is "in" a plate. It does not mean they use the same word for "on" and "in".

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.