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"Scegliamo un linguaggio che la gente capisca."

Translation:We pick a language that people understand.

September 23, 2013



Why is this subjunctive?


It's better to learn this form of subjunctive like this:

(1) a dependent clause - a subject and verb which together isn't a complete thought: "We pick a language"; (2) joined to the next part of the sentence by "che".

In Italian, this is a subjunctive mood. According to how the language sees it, you're not making a statement of fact, no matter whether you think you are. You're actually just expressing hope that you picked a language people understand.

Hope this helps.


IMHO your description is not accurate. The subjunctive is used here because it is a subordinate relative clause whose referenced noun/pronoun is undeterminate. Other examples:

  • Non c'è nulla che mi piaccia.
  • Comunque vada, almeno ci siamo incontrati.
  • Cerco un insegnante che mi faccia capire il congiuntivo!

Examples of subordinate clauses introduced by "che" which use the indicative mood:

  • Non sei più la donna che amava.
  • Questa è la città che contiene i più alti tassi di criminalità.
  • Ammiro le persone che lavorano aiutando gli altri.

More details at https://italian.stackexchange.com/questions/10300/is-subjunctive-always-used-in-the-attributive-clause-of-a-superlative-expression


I understand your confusion. In Spanish, the subjunctive is used when you don't know whether the thing in question exists. For example:

I want a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket - subjunctive I want THE girl with a short skirt and a long jacket - indicative

I think the Italian subjunctive is broader, but I have no direct proof other than this and the fact that in Italian, credere is included in the subjunctive while creder in Spanish is always assumed to be indicative.


Bonus points for Cake lyrics.


It seems that the English translation is ¨a language¨ and requires the article, which is not correct as it implies switching to a completely different language (ie. italian or french or english) and not just the type of language or words that people will understand.


I think they're talking about the choice of words, that is, plain language, in which case I don't see the article being necessary in English. I wrote, "We choose language that the people understand." This was marked wrong, but, "We choose 1 language that the people understand" was suggested as correct.


You have actually made a mistake here by writing "We choose language". In original statement you have "UN linguaggio" which means "A language" so you need to translate it in this way (by the way, "we choose 1 language" is equivalent to "we choose a language"). Also, I believe that omitting an article is not really correct here, since you still use this word as any other countable noun.


In Italian, yes, but not in English. "Un linguaggio" is, idiomatically, a particular way to speak or communicate. It does not me a foreign language or a native language in the sense of Italian, Spanish or English. Hence "language" without any article in the English translation. In English, it would be acceptable, if not preferable, to omit the indefinite article. "We choose "language" that people understand.


So, if I wanted to say in Italian, "We choose language that the people understand", can I say, " Scegliamo linguaggio..."?

As for "1 language", my argument is not with the word "one", but with it being written as a numeral. They might as well start accepting "U R" for "You are." It's textspeak and I've seen it a few times lately on Duolingo.


No, you can't say "Scegliamo linguaggio" because it acts the same as English countable nouns - it still requires an indefinite article 'un' ('a') or a definite one - 'il' ('the') - I know that there are some exceptions in which omitting the article is correct, but as far is I know it is not one of them.

As for the numeral in the written form, you are absolutely right, I was very surprised when I saw it for the first time and I still frequently see '1 xx' as a possible option, which is in fact very unnatural in the written form. (maybe with the exeption of talking about lists of items or emphasizing the quantity etc. but it's definitely not the case with the examples provided by DL')


Why should this be wrong: We pick a language WHICH people understand?


"that" is a relative pronoun that introduces a defining clause, whereas "which" is used to introduce a non-defining clause. The difference is described in this link:


In this example the subordinate clause is a defining clause and so "that" is used. I think that many people incorrectly use the two pronouns interchangeably, but it appears that, if your suggestion was rejected, Duo is being grammatically rigorous in this case.


You are right but in everyday language it makes no difference and I suppose this should be taken into account first of all.


I don't agree with this. "Which" is the one which (!) is "defining". "Bring me the book which is on the table" is correct. Compare "Bring me a book that's on the table"


Let's choose language that people understand. We select language people understand. (Why a language? Why "one" language?) "Linguaggio" in Italian does not necessarily mean French, Italian, English, Spanish. Linguaggio denotes, rather, a way of talking--a way of communicating. Therefore, there is no need for an indefinite article here. We pick/select/choose "language" would all be satisfactory translations. I was incorrectly marked wrong for not inserting the indefinite article "a" here. ("We choose language people understand" should be accepted as a legitimate translation.)


The female speaker does not pronounce the article. It's maddening but, as often happens with Duo, the elided pronunciation doesn't excuse us from omitting it. In this case, with regard to what you say above, it seems perfectly logical to assume that what the speaker is saying is what you have described, a way of communicating and not a particular language... That clearly SOUNDS like what she's saying.


If I understood your comment correctly, you're talking about the indefinite article "un" in the Italian sentence. I can clearly hear it in the female speaker pronunciation on 11th June, 2020.


why do I have to put the article in front of people? If you read the comments below (about different issues) many native english speakers say ...that people understand


un linguaggio is a way of talking, as il linguaggio scientifico. But it seems you can use lingua for this as well.

Edit Fixed gender - thanks coriolano77


Linguaggio is masculine : il linguaggio scientifico.


We are told that there is no future subjunctive , but that we use the present subjsct. However if one translates something to the future as in the above sentence I translated it as ...they will understand, I was marked down. There seems to be some discrepancy here; should we NEVER use future just to play safe?


I too wrote: "we choose a language that the people will understand". I think this should have been accepted unless there is some reason that the subjunctive doesn't convey future in the same way as the present indicative does.


I suppose this is right as well (not using the subjunctive): "Spegliamo un linguaggio che la gente capisce." Otherwise i would think i am davvero confused.


Plainly not DL English, then!


Capisca is subjunctive and should correctly be translated into English as "might understand " because the subjunctive introduces an element of doubt. DL translates it as "which people understand" which is indicative and implies that we know people will understand it . DL's answer is not a good translation.


Duo insists on "a language THAT.." - I prefrer to say "a language WHICH", but it is not accepted. I have reported it.


Bread and circuses


what is wrong with "We CHOOSE a language that people understand."? It was marked wrong!!


IMHO it is correct. I suggest you report it.


Since when scegliare means pick? Is DL inventing meanings?


Is there a significant difference between to pick and to choose?


Reported not accepted choose.


my dictionary says scegliere is to chose, but you marked it wrong.


My question refers to "la gente" being translated as "people" rather than "the people". Had I been using the keyboard, I'd have entered: We choose a language that the people understand. Would that have been incorrect? (Since I was selecting the words from the word bank, I didn't have the opportunity to use incorrect phrasing.)


English uses the definite article for specific things/people and omits it when referring to general things/people. Examples:

  • We pick a language that people understand.
  • We pick a language that English people understand.
  • We pick a language that the people we met last week understand.


It would have been correct. It's what I just used (eventually, after an autocorrect to "chose" got me), and it was accepted.

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