Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
User avatar
Neurotip
Orange Belt
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:02 pm
Location: London, UK
Languages: active - eng (N), ita (B2), fra (B2), ísl (A1-2); fossils - deu (A2-B1), spa (A1-2), swe (A1); maybe one day - ell, rus, fin, per
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7590
x 141

Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby Neurotip » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:36 pm

I'm trying to get my head around the ordering of Italian clitic pronouns when one of them is 'si/se'. I've come up with the following example - can someone tell me if I've got it right?
If you want to learn something, it's important to understand it.
Se si vuole imparare una cosa, è importante che la si capisca. (and not *se la capisca)

thank you!
0 x
Corrections welcome here

User avatar
tarvos
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2114
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Dark paradise
Languages: Native: Dutch, English
Expert: French, Russian, Swedish, German, Romanian, Esperanto, Spanish
Advanced: Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Norwegian
Intermediate: Hebrew, Icelandic, Hungarian
Beginner: Breton, Korean, Finnish, Polish, Japanese, Bulgarian, Shanghainese
Read-only: Danish, Latin, Afrikaans
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 3733
Contact:

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby tarvos » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:30 pm

Honestly in that sentence, I'd leave the "la" out, and rephrase the thing, but that's just my terrible Italian intuition talking...

Also, this is the type of thing you use grammars for...
0 x
Niemand, keiner kennt mich wie Du
Unbedingt, ich geb alles zu
Keine Enttäuschung, kein einziges Mal
Aber Dir ist eh alles egal

Preferred pronouns: feminine.

User avatar
Neurotip
Orange Belt
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:02 pm
Location: London, UK
Languages: active - eng (N), ita (B2), fra (B2), ísl (A1-2); fossils - deu (A2-B1), spa (A1-2), swe (A1); maybe one day - ell, rus, fin, per
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7590
x 141

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby Neurotip » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:42 pm

tarvos wrote:Honestly in that sentence, I'd leave the "la" out, and rephrase the thing, but that's just my terrible Italian intuition talking...

Also, this is the type of thing you use grammars for...

Hi tarvos, thanks. Fair enough, it probably isn't the most natural way of putting it. I've been reading Steve Mitchell's essays on Italian grammar which I think does confirm what I'm saying. I just wanted to check I've got the right end of the stick :)
0 x
Corrections welcome here

User avatar
tarvos
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2114
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Dark paradise
Languages: Native: Dutch, English
Expert: French, Russian, Swedish, German, Romanian, Esperanto, Spanish
Advanced: Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Norwegian
Intermediate: Hebrew, Icelandic, Hungarian
Beginner: Breton, Korean, Finnish, Polish, Japanese, Bulgarian, Shanghainese
Read-only: Danish, Latin, Afrikaans
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 3733
Contact:

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby tarvos » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:05 pm

I understand, but the way you phrased it the sentence doesn't make a lot of sense. "Capirsi" would be more like knowing your way around something, knowing about something, but here I'd just say "Se vuole imparare una cosa, é importante che la capisca molto bene". Capirsi is more for like knowing your way around computers (though I wouldn't know what preposition follows it).

That said I'm no Italian expert.
0 x
Niemand, keiner kennt mich wie Du
Unbedingt, ich geb alles zu
Keine Enttäuschung, kein einziges Mal
Aber Dir ist eh alles egal

Preferred pronouns: feminine.

User avatar
tastyonions
Blue Belt
Posts: 817
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:39 pm
Location: Dallas, TX
Languages: EN (N), FR, ES, IT, PT, DE, NL
x 1518

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby tastyonions » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:49 pm

Italian sometimes uses formally "pronominal" verbs like French uses the pronoun "on" or English uses "one" or the generic "you." I think that's what is going on here, at least. Example:

https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2011/0 ... no/103948/
0 x

dampingwire
Green Belt
Posts: 360
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Abingdon, UK
Languages: Italian (N), English (N), French (poor, not studying), Japanese (studying, JLPT N3)
x 290

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby dampingwire » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:13 pm

You have the order correct. Here's a suitable example from the web:
Che la si capisca, la si comprenda e la si condivida oppure no, la politica può essere considerata un’arte come quella dei suoni, delle parole o dell’agire di un pennello su una tela bianca.
2 x
新完全マスター N2聴解 : 94 / 103新完全マスター N2読解 : 99 / 177
新完全マスター N2文法 : 197 / 197TY Comp. German : 0 / 389

User avatar
Neurotip
Orange Belt
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:02 pm
Location: London, UK
Languages: active - eng (N), ita (B2), fra (B2), ísl (A1-2); fossils - deu (A2-B1), spa (A1-2), swe (A1); maybe one day - ell, rus, fin, per
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7590
x 141

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby Neurotip » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:10 pm

dampingwire wrote:You have the order correct. Here's a suitable example from the web:
Che la si capisca, la si comprenda e la si condivida oppure no, la politica può essere considerata un’arte come quella dei suoni, delle parole o dell’agire di un pennello su una tela bianca.

Excellent, thanks dampingwire, yes that's what I meant (capire with impersonal si, not reflexive capirsi). Cheers!
0 x
Corrections welcome here

garyb
Blue Belt
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:35 pm
Location: Scotland
Languages: English (N)
French (advanced), Italian (advanced)
Spanish (intermediate)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1855
x 2644
Contact:

Re: Italian pronoun syntax: specific question

Postby garyb » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:29 pm

but here I'd just say "Se vuole imparare una cosa, é importante che la capisca molto bene".


That completely changes the meaning of the sentence from an impersonal generalisation to a statement about a specific person. The "you" in the original English version is the impersonal, equivalent to "If one wants to learn something..."; maybe you're mixing it up with the formal second-person "lei"? Informal Italian does often use the "tu" form in an impersonal way, much like in English, so "se vuoi imparare..." could be interpreted in this way, but that's beside the point of the OP's question about the more formal form with "si".

Thanks to dampingwire and tastyoninons for clearing it up after these unhelpful and misleading responses from someone whose claim of an "advanced" level, from what I've seen of their writing, is a massive exaggeration.
0 x


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest