Barron's 501 Italian Verbs conjugates the past participle of vivere as "abbiamo vissuto". Here, we have it rendered as "siamo vissuti". Will someone help this complete novice understand which to use?
Sometimes "vivere" is a transitive verb (i.e., has a direct object) and then the right auxiliary is "avere". When it is intransitive, the right auxiliary is "essere" usually. There are a few controversial cases where "avere" is used with the intransitive also. http://www.wordreference.com/iten/vivere
Thank you. So help me understand. "We have never lived in the city" would use "siamo", as in this sentence, but "We have never lived here" would use "abbiamo", as in "Non abbiamo mai vissuti qui", or am I misunderstanding transitive and intransitive verbs?
Those are both transitive uses of the verb. I would say "non siamo mai vissuti qui (or in citta')". A transitive use would be (according to my reference book) Ha vissuto tante brutte esperienze "He's been through so many nasty experiences".
I expect this will take me a while to get used to. Thank you for your help!
a hint that really helps me to know wether to use avere or essere is to know (that besides reflexives) most of the verbs that describes states, or changes between states, or remaining in state, or movement from one to another are with essere:
crescere / diminuire
nascere / morire
ingrassare / dimagrire
peggiorare / migliorare
cominciare , iniziare / terminare cambiare , riuscire
diventare, invecchiare (envejecer). sorgere, tramontare
parere, sembrare piacere / dispiacere costar , valere rimanere, stare partire, andare, venire, arrivare salire, scendere, cadere entrare, uscire</pre>
hope it helps :)
Viaggiatore, didn't you make a mistake in your first sentence? I think you meant to say 'these are both intransitive uses of the verb'. That's very confusing for someone who's not sure what transitive and intransitive mean.
I am completely confused by this translation and the answers given so far. My understanding is that "I have lived here" and "I have lived in the city" are both transitive, so surely should use 'abbiamo'. As kbrimington says, there is another example in Duolingo "Non abbiamo vissuto qui...". So isn't the translation here incorrect? Google Translate also uses 'abbiamo' here.
Besides whether it's ‘abbiamo’ or ‘siamo’, note that you don't decline the participle after ‘abbiamo’, so it would be ‘abbiamo mai vissuto [direct object]’.
When you're talking about those controversial cases do you mean: camminare, correre, visitare, viaggiare ? (to walk, run, visit, travel)
list of verbs that may be transitive and intransitive: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare147b.htm
"a city" would be "in una città". But "in città" is the expression used to mean "in the city", that part of the region, and for example, not in the country.
do you think it's hopeless for me to ever learn this (or any) language if I can't understand the concepts of transitive verbs, pronouns etc...? I don't even mean this in jest, I don't understand these concepts at all. Even when I try to read about the comparative concept in english (so I can understand it as it relates to the english language and then apply) I still have no idea.
The positive thing is most people learn a language as a child though just listening and repeating (without understanding grammar). Keep listening and repeating so you learn what 'feels right'. Repeat repeat repeat. :)
It is not hopeless! I had a lot of problems with this myself because parts of speech were things I learned when I was much younger and as English speakers we don't necessarily think about how we're using them when speaking/writing. In learning Italian, I've had to relearn these things. Just take it step by step. Sometimes you pick up on rules by seeing how some things work together. The comments here definitely help!
I have a really good book called; "English Grammar for students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac . In the contents it has chapters called, for example ;" What is a noun?' "What are objects?" (this is where transitive and intransitive verbs are explained) right up to "What are positive and negative indefinites? (whatever the hell they are, haven't read that bit yet!) It just explains what is meant in a simple way with examples that are easy to understand. I bought it second hand from Abe Books and it has helped me a lot, I don't sit down and read it, but if I can't understand something I look in the book and find the explanation of how it is in English and how it correlates with Italian. Don't be too discouraged, it takes children years to learn to speak their parents language and you obviously managed that, so it will make sense eventually!
You learnt English as a baby without understanding any of this stuff. Knowing it is helpful, because then you can have things explained using those concepts. But it's not necessary; you can still practice and practice until the rules are internalized, whether or not you've ever learnt them explicitly. And you have to practice anyway to get fluent!
I translated as: We haven't ever lived in the city. I got it wrong. I don't know why this can't be accepted?
Your translation is valid, but it'd be more normal in English to say 'we've never' rather than 'we haven't ever'. Mostly because English is lazy
Also keep in mind that when you abbreviate something, it is given less emphasis. Both are correct, but I would say 'We haven't ever' is more emphatic.
"We have never lived in city" is not accepted. DL says that i need indefinite article. "In A city". So, there is no difference A or THE ?
If we are only girls, would we say "visute" instead of visuti (and is this also used for third person plural?)?
If the verb is "siamo", yes, it would be "vissuti", with two S's, because a single S would make the word sound different(ly).
'città' is used for both town and city -- you can't distinguish in Italian (indeed, the old English distinction, that a city has to have a cathedral, is now obsolete). If, Duolino, you can tell me how to say 'we have never lived in the town', then you are entitled to mark my answer wrong. Until then . . .
why do we need the word non here? can't we say: siamo mai vissuti in citta?
No, what I meant is that, in English, using 2 negative words in a sentence is frowned upon and we tell students that they have just said the opposite of what they meant. In Italian and French you must have both words: 'non' and 'mai' like 'ne ---pas' in French.