yes, it can be seen also that way. voi stands both for plural (the "normal" way), and both for the singular, but it is more common to call someone with the "voi" in the southern part of the Italy, in the northern part usually you would call him/her "Lei" to be formal. Of course, Lei works both for "you man" and "you woman". Lei is used both in the southern and the northern part of Italy.
Yep, good question :P This recording is barely acceptable in italian... you should say "voi bevéte acqua", so the stress is on the be-vé-te, the 2nd syllable :) This recording is similar to what happens when italians talk faster, and in these cases you can have problems getting where the stress is. However, and yes you're right again, usually in italian the stress is on the second to last syllable, but there are so many exceptions about it that you absolutely need to talk to someone to learn them :)
This is just a grammatical attempt, take it in that way. Voi is used when you are talking to a group of people. They is used when you are talking about a a group of people that isn't part of the current communication process. E.g.: you are talking to me about the ancient Roman people. In that case you could say to me:"They were an interesting society".
Is there truly no difference between 'voi' (one) and 'voi' (you, plural)? If you were trying to say 'one drinks water' rather than 'y'all drink water', would you still say 'Voi bevete acqua'? I ask because in all the languages I know, there is a degree of difference between indefinite pronouns and plural personal pronouns, even if they can be used interchangeably to an extent.
Hi Charlie Barker,
If I got you right, then you're mixing things.
When you say You drink water in English, you might refer to a single person (2nd singular person)
or a group of people (2n plural person). The verb, to drink, conjugated, doesn't change.
In Italian, the verb carries information about the number of persons (changes morphologically, the end part). That's why if you omit the subject pronoun of the sentence the meaning stays the same and the listener can rebuild the sentence in his mind and understand the sentence correctly.
In our case the verb is "bere" (irregular, so in this case also the stem changes, unfortunately) when it is conjugated for the second plural person becomes bevete (tempo presente indicativo, present tense), when it is conjugated for the second singular person becomes bevi, so
- [Voi] bevete l'acqua -- second plural person (but it might also mean imperative)
- [Tu] bevi l'acqua --- second singual person (but it might also mean imperative)
To answer your questions:
Is there truly no difference between 'voi' (one) and 'voi' (you, plural)
No, there is a difference. If you mean the pronoun, then "tu" is the second person plural (or lei, lui for third person). If you mean the verb, then it changes morphologically as I said before.
If you were trying to say 'one drinks water' rather than 'y'all drink water', would you still say 'Voi bevete acqua'?
No, Italians wouldn't. In that case it is used an undefined pronoun, such as "qualcuno", "ognuno", "tutti"and so on.
I ask because in all the languages I know, there is a degree of difference[...]
Yes, you're right. There is also in Italian what you said.
To complicate things even further, there is also the case of the formal "you" (Lei) that Italian uses and the verb is conjugated accordingly. In some cases a sentence might be ambiguous due to the formal "you" and only the context might give the correct message.
I hope it helps.
P.S: For Duolingo guys:
Is it possible to have a preview of the message befiore publishing it?
Reason: I don't remember all the tags I could use and this message editor is not WYSIWYG. So I always find myself saving and modifying the comment many times before getting the final layout....
So, If I've correctly understood your meaning, there is no direct translation for 'one' as in the sentence "one must be careful when using the word 'one' for fear of sounding pompous" or as in the pronoun 'on' in French. Would the second person plural be usually used here or would Italians use other pronouns such as 'everybody' and 'anyone'?
i dont get the voi and tu thing :|
im egyptian and well theres no written rule about this but sometimes when ppl try to be formal or show respect they talk to one person like plural (am i making sense?) its not THAT common though, thats also in french .....
is that the case here ?
(theres also a word in arabic (it doesnt exist in english) that kinda means respect like your majesty or something but kind of less, like majesty is for kings and queens and stuff the other word is for your parents or teachers or older ppl generally )
or is it like english ? where you means only you or you as in a bunch of ppl ?
(sorry its long)