Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

Why does Italian have so many definite articles (lo,la, le, gli, l', i, il)?

In my perspective I can imagine a lot of Italians who would get tired of using this many articles. Is there by any chance that this is true in Italian society. For example, instead of 'lo studente', one would say 'il studente'. I'm just wondering if this is part of common modern day Italian now.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    italian is a language heavily reliant upon vowel sounds. il, i, la, le, and l' are all fairly straight forward, and have equivalents in other romance languages, such as spanish. lo, however, is for masculine nouns beginning with two consonants or the letter z, as in lo strappo and lo zaino, and gli is for plural masculine nouns beginning with two consonants, the letter z, or a vowel, as in gli italiani.

    back to the importance of vowel sounds. italian must flow. this is all still very much a part of modern italian. while in many cases it is just as easy to say il instead of lo, as in lo studente, take my example of "gli italiani". if you were to say "i italiani", after the "i", you kinda hafta stutter to pronounce "italiani" correctly. saying "gli" makes you pronounce an "L" sound, so you can mush the "i" in "gli" with the "i" in "italiani", so the pronunciation would be "Leetaliani". If you didn't have the "L" sound in there, the fact that you were even using a plural def. article would be unclear, unless you stuttered after saying just "i" instead of "gli", which ruins the flow of the spoken language. hope this helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    When you have a language that distinguishes genders, singulars and plurals, nouns and pronouns that start with consonants or with vowels, and special situations such as the "imperfect s or z in masculine singular" (lo zio, lo stesso pane), the articles will naturally follow that pattern. Italians learn them from the time they're toddlers.

    English has plenty of peculiarities that puzzle foreigners but seem natural to us. Some languages have no need for a thesaurus, since their words have simple meanings. Many English words have lots of near synonyms, depending on shades of meaning.

  • 4 years ago

    1. You have to know that in Italian every noun has an article. So, we've got masculine and feminine words and their respective articles. LA is used with feminine singular words: la casa (house), la nonna (grandmother), la barca (boat), la famiglia (family), ... IL is used with masculine singular words: il cane ( dog), il marito (husband), il letto (bed), ... L' is used with both but only when they start with a vowel and, you know, they are uncorrected if you don't use the apostrophe: l'albero (not LO albero; tree), l'automobile (not LA automobile; car), l'amico (not LO amico; friend), l'aiuto (not LO aiuto; help), ... LE is used for feminine plural words: le case, le nonne, le barche, le famiglie, ... I is used for masculine plural words which start with a consonant attended by vowel: i cani (dogs), i mariti (husbands), i letti (beds), ... GLI is quite long to explain: - you use it when there are masculine plural words which start with "s" attended by a consonant: gli studenti (students), gli spari (shots), gli spartiti (scores), ... - you use it when there are masculine plural words wichh start with "z": gli zaini (backpacks), gli zuccheri (sugars), ... - you use it with masculine plural words which start with a vowel: gli uomini (men), gli amici (friends), gli ascoltatori (listeners), ... 2. honey: (il) miele gallery: (la) galleria --> galleries: le gallerie porridge: is an international word but you can say: fiocchi d'avena 3. "Ho un cane e nove galline/polli. Il cane si chiama Tia" or "... il nome del cane è Tia" 4. We usually say "cin cin" (but I'm not sure that it's real Italian, but we use it), or "Salute!" Hope I helped you!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Italian has as many definite articles as other romance languages. On the contrary, English has only "the". What I ask to myself is: How can you know if you're refering to a feminine or masculine noun? Or when it's singular or plural?

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm afraid your perspective is quite mistaken. Why would they get tired of it? It is part of their language and as natural to them as "the" is to us. Indeed, a more logical question might be "How on earth do we manage in modern English with only one definite article?"

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