December 7, 2013 | Review Period

I Love Italian Articles

The choices seem endless, and the variety is fun.

Italian offers a nice little assortment of articles: un, un’, una, uno, il, la, lo, l’, i, gli, and le. I am counting 11 different ways to render “a” and “the.”

I'm Reading This...

I’m Reading This…

...and Doing Exercises in This

…and Doing Exercises in This

It was not a simple matter to learn how to pick among them, but once I got past the early frustrations, I really came to love these articles. I am right now doing article-related exercises in Anna Proudfoot’s Modern Italian Grammar Workbook from Routledge and am getting such a kick out of it.

For example, can you provide the correct definite article for each of the following nouns?

  • occhiali (eyes)
  • autobus (buses)
  • artiste (artists)

I have no idea why Italian articles are so appealing to me. Sorting through them in phrases and sentences feels kind of like a game. I don’t even really like games, but this is a good kind of game for my particular neurological wiring, I suppose.

I also just continue to take delight in words such as gli and i (both meaning “the”). They are very cute funny-looking little things.

Answers for the above: gli, gli, le. Thank you for a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, Anna Proudfoot!

Comments (1)

jose luiz serafini • Posted on Tue, December 10, 2013 - 4:56 pm EST

They all —those definite articles, plus French le, la, les, Spanish el,la, lo, los, las, Portuguese o, a, os, as—they all come from Latin ILLE (fem. ILLA), which means “that” or “he, she” (whence the personal pronouns il, lui, ella, egli, el, elle, ele, ela…)  But Latin had no articles at all.

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