apostrophes etc

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oliverwx
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apostrophes etc

Post by oliverwx » Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:19 pm

Why the double letter and apostrophe in phrases like

all'angolo

?

(Compared to, eg. al tavolo)

I mean, it looks like it's abbreviating allo.. but allo, wouldn't be appropriate anyway, since lo is for s+consonat, z etc ..?

Come to think of it, on this topic of making logical sense out of grammar conventions, why not 'l angolo and not l'angolo.. as there's no letter missing after l...

Oliver

Sorry, I seem to be in a bit of a pedantic mood!

oliverwx
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Post by oliverwx » Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:21 pm

Also

dello... nello....

come to think of it, where does the second 'l' comes from in these abbreviations? I suppose it's just that that's how we say it - it's a case of the writing matching the vocalisation, as opposed to following strict logic?

Oliver

DYD
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Post by DYD » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:47 am

In fact, it is the elision of allo / dello / nello.

Feminine gender:
LA amica -> L'amica
DELLA amica -> DELL'amica
etc.

Masculine gender:
LO amico -> L'amico
DELLO amico -> DELL'amico
etc.

Sometimes, you may even find the "long" form in a written text when the article is on a line and the noun on the next one:
Ci vediamo allo
angolo. Porta la
amica di cui mi
hai parlato.

(Yes, it's horrible: it's the only case where the complete form is used).

From http://www.garzantilinguistica.it/dubbi_ita.html :
Davanti a una parola maschile cominciante per vocale l'elisione è obbligatoria, nel parlato e nello scritto. Davanti a un nome femminile cominciante per vocale è normale l'elisione nel parlato, mentre lo scritto tende a ripristinare la forma piena dell'articolo. La stessa tendenza riguarda le preposizioni semplici (d'essere, di essere). È comunque preferibile anche nello scritto la forma con elisione (l'urgenza, dell'opera, all'unione).
Please correct my English if it is not written correctly. (Ed anche l'italiano... non si sa mai! ;) ) Thanks.

oliverwx
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Post by oliverwx » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:13 pm

Ah, OK. Thanks. So, 'lo' is for words starting with a vowel as well as s+ consonant etc, but the final vowel is removed. And that's why you use 'gli' for plurals of masculine words starting with a vowel too, then.

And 2 'l's becasue one would look/sound odd I guess?

TrentinaNE
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Post by TrentinaNE » Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:27 pm

oliverwx wrote:And 2 'l's becasue one would look/sound odd I guess?
allo = al + lo
della = del + la

I suspect that each 'l' is retained because in Italian, each is pronounced. (Yes, allo is pronounced differently than alo, though I often have difficulty hearing or enunciating the difference myself.)

Saluti,
Elisabetta

oliverwx
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Post by oliverwx » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:36 pm

Thanks, but it's not 'retained', is it? There's only one in the first place?

It's not al+lo, it's a + lo, surely?

Oliver

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:45 pm

oliverwx wrote:Thanks, but it's not 'retained', is it? There's only one in the first place?

It's not al+lo, it's a + lo, surely?

Oliver
Most good Italian textbooks have a chart that explains how prepositions are combined. There will be one on my web site tonight.

I think that the reason for the double l's is the retain the short sound in Italian.

Take these two words:

pena (which means "punishment") and penna (which means "pen")

They are both pronounced differently. "Pena" sounds like "pay-nuh" - because of the one "n" the "a" is long.

In "penna", the "e" short and is pronounced "pen-nuh".

With "allo" the extra "l" is added for the same reason. One "l" and you would have just "alo", all run together with no separation of sound.

But with "allo", it sounds more like "al-lo" - I think the logic behind that is that it keeps the "a" and the "lo" distinct - both become more audible. With just "alo" it might sound confusing.

At least that's my take on it :)

If I'm wrong or totally misguided, please let me know.... 8)

TrentinaNE
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Post by TrentinaNE » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:56 pm

oliverwx wrote:Thanks, but it's not 'retained', is it? There's only one in the first place?

It's not al+lo, it's a + lo, surely?
To quote Emily Litella: Never mind! I was thinking "al" (which is already the contraction for a + il) plus "lo", but I guess that doesn't really make sense. I shall await the opinion of i madrelingua as to the rationale.

Anyway, here is a link to a table of prepositional articles that might be useful.

Saluti,
Elisabetta

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