pleonastic "gli"?

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platon
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:37 pm

pleonastic "gli"?

Post by platon » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:58 pm

Ciao tutti

I have this Italian sentence: Lo sguardo gli cadde su un capannello di guegli strampalati.

I understand it: His gaze (or eyes or glance) fell on a group of those strange people.

My question is about the use of the word 'gli' there. Poking around, I see that 'gli cadde' is a fairly commonly used to say that something falls on something. But isn't the 'gli' there pleonastic? That is, couldn't one drop the 'gli' without loss of meaning? Or am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.

Geoff
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:55 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: pleonastic "gli"?

Post by Geoff » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:50 pm

I find this a tricky area and may be totally wrong but I don't think it is pleonastic (i.e. superfluous). Italian uses an indirect object pronoun to indicate the element which is not carrying out the action but is impacted by it. In this case it is the person's eyes that are performing the action and hence they are the subject or direct object depending on how the sentence is constructed. However, the possessor of the eyes is impacted by what he sees so is represented by the indirect object pronoun gli.

platon
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:37 pm

Re: pleonastic "gli"?

Post by platon » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:11 pm

Thanks, Geoff. I think I get it.

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