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"Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel piatto."

Translation:The cook has cheese on the plate.

December 19, 2012

101 Comments


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/wanjiru354155

Yes yes...the answer they gave is wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2529

No. Different languages have different grammars and say things differently. The answer is not wrong just because it's not a word-for-word swap.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2529

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/Beppetyas

Its just formaggio, which is annoying byt i have got so many questions wrong like that


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
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  • 2529

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/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/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/CaliforniaNorma

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/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
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  • 2529

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2529

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/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
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  • 2529

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/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!


[deactivated user]

    November 2019. This Italian part of Duolingo has been such a great experience for me, in general. However, I am confused about this. I wrote, "The cook has the cheese on the plate." The checker said that was incorrect. It should be, "The cook has cheese on the plate." How are we to know that there is not a specific cheese on the plate when translating? This is asking us to read minds, especially because in the lesson information it says you it is more important to use articles in Italian. I think it would be more fair if Duolingo accepted either translation. Thanks!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    If you're asking the course contributors to add that answer to this prompt's database, you'll need to flag it the next time it comes up and report "My answer should be accepted." The course contributors do not monitor these forums for feedback.


    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/VeronicaAv13

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    nello = in + lo
    nel = in + il


    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
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    • 2529

    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/Chinmay.Dhawan

    Nel means on or on the?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    "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
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    • 2529

    "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
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    • 2529

    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/DavidBradl52567

    Google translate gives "sul" instead of "nel". What is the difference?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    One is a literal word-swap, the other is actual usage.

    In English, we say something is "on" a plate. We frame it as a surface.
    In Italian, they say something is "in" a plate. They frame it as a container.

    Never trust machine translation. Language is far too subtle and nuanced for that.


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

    I love how I got a choice of 3 answers to translate "The cook has cheese on the plate" earlier in the practice lesson and the correct answer was "Il cuoco ha formaggio nel piato." This time however, when having to type out the Italian, I put the same thing and was marked wrong for not putting "il formaggio"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    It's more likely that you had some other error somewhere. From now on, please share the full exact text of your answer so we can help you see the real reason it marked you wrong.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/negin197342

    Why i have hers instead of his??!!:)))


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    There is neither "his" nor "hers" in this sentence:
    The cook has cheese on the plate.
    Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel piatto.

    However, in Italian (as well as French and all the other Romance languages), the possessive is just like any other adjective and must agree with the noun it modifies, not with whose noun it is.


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

    The correct answer according to this exercise is The cook has the cheese on his plate. The problem is "his" is not one of the words to choose.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    Most of the sentences accept more than one answer, and the official answer at the top of this page is "The cook has cheese on the plate."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan101421

    Given answer is wrong


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    That's right. "Given answer" is "la risposta data".
    "The cook has cheese on the plate" is "Il cuoco ha il formaggio nel piatto".


    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/Faye_G.

    One "the" missing...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    No one here can do anything about technical glitches. Next time something like that happens, take a screenshot and file a bug report.
    https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204728264-How-do-I-report-a-bug-


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

    It s not a cooker ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sergiu830995

    Il cuoco ha IL formaggio nel piato, - I answered right, THE cheese on plate, not - cheese on the plate!!!


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

    Il cuoco ha IL formaggio nel piato

    You've written piato with one T.
    Plate (for food) has two Ts in Italian: Piatto.
    Since the one T has a different meaning in Italian, Duo does not accept this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2529

    In addition to what Gh0stwheel said about your spelling error being the reason you were marked wrong, don't try to impose English grammar onto Italian or Italian grammar onto English. Translation is not about blindly word-swapping. Just because one language uses a definite article somewhere, this does not mean it must be used in the translation.

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