giovedì 26 marzo 2009

Studying Italian

A few nights ago, I decided it was time to tackle my issues with Italian pronouns head-on. Apart from the fact that I've been working my way through Clelia Boscolo's 30 day revision course Upgrade Your Italian (which is actually a very good study resource) at a rate of 19 days in about 3 years, here is why I have issues with Italian pronouns.

In Italian, as you would expect, there are direct and indirect object pronouns for each person, with different ones for singular and plural and, in some cases, gender. So if, for example, if you want someone to give you a book, you need the pronouns lo (“it”) and mi (“to me”), along with the verb dare (“to give”).

Then you need to remember that in Italian, the mi comes before the lo. Essentially, you say “Give to me it.”

To make your sentence, you need the imperative form of dare. There are two forms, and in this case you need the less common one, da'.

In Italian, when a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun are used together with an imperative, the pronouns combine, as if in English you were saying “Give tomeit.”

When you combine the pronoun mi with another pronoun, it becomes me. (English equivalent: “Give tomiit”)

The pronouns also combine with the verb to make one word, which in English would be “Givetomeit.”

Finally, you need to remember that when the verb da' is combined with a pronoun, you double the initial consonant of the pronoun that follows it, giving the sentence that you actually utter: in Italian, dammelo; in English, "Givettomiit".

By this stage you will probably be too intellectually exhausted to read the book that is, finally, in your sticky hands.

Being the kind of sad person who actually enjoys knowing this kind of thing, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Schaum's Outlines Italian Grammar which is winging its way to me this weekend. In the meantime, however, I discovered this great website with online exercises that you can check your answers to at the click of a button, meaning that you can save all your mental energy for those delightful pronouns.

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