"Il ragazzo ha una mela in tasca."
Translation:The boy has an apple in his pocket.
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I would not say that I have something if someone else has it... so I wouldn't say that the boy has an apple in someone else's pocket (because then I would rather say that someone else has the apple, not the boy)...
Thus, the sentence must be referring to the boy's pocket (does that make sense?). And the possessive is not needed explicitly (I think).
Here DL is teaching us that in Italian you assume (unless otherwise stated) that clothes belong to the person who is wearing them. In this sentence the pocket therefore is assumed to belong to the boy and the otherwise needed his (= sua) is dropped.
If somebody is pointing with 'la mano' wearing 'il cappello' or washing 'la faccia' it is safe to assume it is that persons hand, hat and face. If he/she was pointing with a hand belonging to somebody else, etcetera, then that would have been clearly stated.
We don't normally add the possessive when it agrees with the subject and it can be easily deduced by the context. In some cases you may add it and it just sounds a bit redundant, in others it sounds wrong. Ex. Prende la bici e se ne va = he takes his bike and leaves; Prende la sua bici e se ne va = (still correct, but a bit redundant); Lei tiene una forchetta in mano = she has a fork in her hand ("nella sua mano" would be wrong); Mi lavo la faccia = I wash my face (of course it's my face, whose face should I be washing?)
In China, they save face, and you can wash your son's face, so yes, it is needed to say you are washing YOUR face.
I have worn someone else's jacket. Is it everything just assumed unless stated otherwise? This is a very hard thing for me to grasp after a life time of specifying everything. Im putting on my shoes. Im putting on shoes. This seems like more of a way of thinking about things than a language thing.
I'm not looking for a one to one correspondence, but this translation contradicts everything I've been taught about Italian possessives. My point is not that I think it should be translated "He as an apple in pocket", but that the original sentence should have been "Il ragazzo ha una mela nella sua tasca".
Out of curiosity, I tried a few examples on Google translate. It seems for a few things it is "in xxx" in Italian, while for others it's "nel xxx" or a variation of nel. Here are examples I tried: Lui ha una mela ..... (He has an apple...)
in tasca (in the pocket), in bottiglia (in the bottle), in mano (in the hand), in bocca (in the mouth), in frigo (in the fridge), in cucina (in the kitchen), in casa (in the house), in salotto (in the living room), in bagno (in the bathroom),
nel portafoglio (in the wallet), nella borsa (in the bag), nei pantaloni (in the pants), nel cappello (in the hat), nello stivale (in the boot), nella scarpa (in the shoe), nella tazza (in the cup), nell'orecchio (in the ear), nel culo (in the ass), nella stanza (in the room).
A native speaker weighed in on this in another thread and mentioned that Italians wouldn't ever use a possessive here because the verb implies "his pocket" or "your pocket" without another word to specify. It has less to do with grammar, and more to do with the way that it's just the way the phrase "in tasca" happens to be used in Italian.
That is really the concept of immersive teaching, I think--throw real examples at you, instead of grammatical explanations, and let the neural net in your brain start absorbing the models, without the distracting metadiscussions about models and reasons.
It is a more modern way to teach language, and one that duoLingo appears to embrace.
It is probably going to work and fail to different levels for different students, and also depend how you supplement Duolingo.
Many recommend supplementing Duolingo with other sources, especially to add more reading and listening.
But also it can be helpful to watch explanatory videos about any difficult topics by other teachers on youtube (or wherever), because watching more explanatory videos can help: different teachers may explain differently, and may choose different examples.
That is what I wrote and was marked wrong. I understand what everyone has been saying in the dialogue above, but it's really difficult when you have been lead to believe that adding these pronouns is so important, and then in other cases it can be dropped. It's hard to know when it is ok to do so and when it is not. It may be redundant, but I wonder if it is so grammatically incorrect to add sua tasca that it is marked wrong. I did however check this sentence with google translate and they too leave out sua.
I'm here to sing about how I've got brass "in tasca", and also "ho bottiglia".
Like "pen in hand", having something "in pocket" is a valid, if rarely used, English idiom, and makes sense in the limited context of the Italian text which is given, even if that is not the intended translation.
Thanks to the people here for clearing up the Italian side of things.
Lol just don't mention the rather less correct "ain't gonna use it" in the next line or so. Totally agree with you E_M_F. And I think exposure to idioms is totally necessary, but maybe Duolingo should just place an icon after the answer so that we understand that is why it is this way :)
Even though 'in pocket' is wrong English, I gave that as the answer, as there is no indication otherwise, & lost a heart :-( But the answer provided by DL was 'in a pocket'. Surely it should have been 'in una tasca' in that case. I beleive that 'nella sua tasca' or 'in sua tasca' would have been more appropriate.
Yes, some things may be idiomatic, and I think it's great that we're learning them. But like a previous poster mentioned, it would be helpful if there was either 1) some consistency in usage or 2) an explanation of the fact that this usage means the same thing as the previous sentence (earlier in the same practice session) that was written "in sua tasca"...
in another thread about this same issue just said it sounded weird. it (apparently) sounds like you are specifying a particular pocket out of many: so you could say nella tasca dei (?) pantaloni, to specify the pant pocket, but if its understood which pocket the person is talking about then "la" is not used
Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that both English phases are valid, with rather subtle difference in meaning. However if 'in tasca' so strongly implies 'his pocket' that we cannot translate without 'his' or ' the', what would be the Italian equivalent of 'in pocket'?
Read the rest of the comments - there are good explanations.
nella = in the, so would only be used with sua: nella sua tasca
If you drop the possessive pronoun, you need to drop the "la" and you're left with in.
This is done when there is no confusion over whose pocket contains the boy's apple!
It is rather obvious that the pocket belongs to the one wearing it and whenever the owner is obvious Italians drop the extra weight of the possessive construction, here "in + la sua tasca", (nella sua tasca), and shortens it to just "in tasca".
And the apple is in his pocket, - not in the pocket.
Ehhh . . . hope this was of at least some help.