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Teaching the use of "the" to Italian students
Thread poster: lingomania
lingomania
Local time: 18:27
Italian to English
May 13, 2007

In Italian, the use of the article "the" is mandatory. If you want a real challenge, try teaching where and where not to use this article in English to an Italian student.

Rob


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:27
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Or to Russians May 13, 2007

In Russian, there are no definite or indefinite articles at all, so the concept is hard for them to grasp.

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lingomania
Local time: 18:27
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
My Russian colleague May 13, 2007

So my Russian colleague at work tells me.

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I found an easy solution... May 14, 2007

...as an Italian mother-tongue, I found out that every time I feel I have to use the article "the" I actually haven't and vice-versa

I know it doesn't help you very much, but it has been helping me most of the times


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Melzie
Local time: 09:27
French to English
+ ...
similar pb in French May 14, 2007

Giuseppina Gatta wrote:

...as an Italian mother-tongue, I found out that every time I feel I have to use the article "the" I actually haven't and vice-versa


you can rationalise by getting them to think about specific and non specific.

I usually give them a laugh by saying "The English do everything back to front, look at the way we drive..."


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Anthony Green  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:27
Italian to English
this and that about "the" May 14, 2007

It usually helps Italian students to understand that their words for "this" and "that" (questo and quello) sound similar because they are similar concepts.
In English you generally point to something that is "this" or "that", and the same really goes for "the" which on the whole specifies "which one", and that is why it sounds similar.

In my experience, once they realise that "il" and "questo" are very different, whereas their so-called translations, i.e. "the" and "this", have much in common, it is easier for Italian to conceptualise.

But they have to know that it is OK to make mistakes because they always will, I'm afraid, even when they are almost native speaker level!


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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 00:27
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Articles are the bane of mankind! May 14, 2007

OK, that might be an exaggeration, but...

I know certain Finns who speak English extremely well and still manage to put a "the" in non-expected places; especially with company names: The Microsoft, the Siemens, etc. Interestingly enough, and in direct opposition to your Italian example, there are no articles in Finnish!

Or here's another good one: teaching English-speakers where not to use pronouns while speaking Spanish (starts sounding weird after a while). or Spanish-speakers to not say "tree" when they actually mean "three."

I'm sure we all have our scenarios....makes the world an interesting place, don't you think?


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Matthew Holway  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:27
Italian to English
+ ...
not quite.. May 14, 2007

Alway an interesting field, that of article use. I think to generalise too much about using it or not is rather dangerous. Much more productive to reinforce a rational semantic understanding..

for example.. is it a church or place you actually know, or are you refering to the institution.. ? etc. (andare in chiesa, vado a la c.. etc)

What gets my goat far more. is the Itaslian use of "in" with certain verbs of movement rather than the definite article (once I did a false tatoo on my forehead (attempting to get the message across! "go TO") and of course the insistant, nagging "come to, go to" inference problems (In many cases Italian doesn't recognise where you are when you speak... so frequently going home and coming home amounts to the same thing! (tornare)

Food for thought!

Matt.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:27
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Unexpected difficulty May 14, 2007

I am surprised that some Spaniards have a problem pronouncing "three", because Spanish is one of the few languages apart from English which does have a "th" sound (the "z" in "Plaza", for example), and the Spanish for three is tres, not all that similar, whereas the Russian for three is "три" (pronounced "tree"), and there is no "th" sound in Russian, yet as far as I know, "three" is no more of a problem for a Russian than any other word containing "th".

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 00:27
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
"th" in three May 14, 2007

Hi Jack,

I honestly don't know if Spaniards have a problem pronouncing "three" or not; although "z" is still a different sound from "th." I was referring to Latin American Spanish, in which we don't use the Spanish "z" sound.

Jack Doughty wrote:

I am surprised that some Spaniards have a problem pronouncing "three", because Spanish is one of the few languages apart from English which does have a "th" sound (the "z" in "Plaza", for example), and the Spanish for three is tres, not all that similar, whereas the Russian for three is "три" (pronounced "tree"), and there is no "th" sound in Russian, yet as far as I know, "three" is no more of a problem for a Russian than any other word containing "th".


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's right! May 14, 2007

Marcelo Silveyra wrote:

Hi Jack,

I honestly don't know if Spaniards have a problem pronouncing "three" or not; although "z" is still a different sound from "th." I was referring to Latin American Spanish, in which we don't use the Spanish "z" sound.



Hi Jack, Hi Marcelo

And let's not forget that 'plaza' is pronounced with a sound similar to the one in 'thread' only by 10% of Spanish speakers (the ones speaking Spain Spanish)

For the rest of the Spanish speaking world, there is no diference between: caza and casa.

Hugs,

Au


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lingomania
Local time: 18:27
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Driving to town May 22, 2007

Matthew Holway wrote:

Alway an interesting field, that of article use. I think to generalise too much about using it or not is rather dangerous. Much more productive to reinforce a rational semantic understanding..

for example.. is it a church or place you actually know, or are you refering to the institution.. ? etc. (andare in chiesa, vado a la c.. etc)

What gets my goat far more. is the Itaslian use of "in" with certain verbs of movement rather than the definite article (once I did a false tatoo on my forehead (attempting to get the message across! "go TO") and of course the insistant, nagging "come to, go to" inference problems (In many cases Italian doesn't recognise where you are when you speak... so frequently going home and coming home amounts to the same thing! (tornare)

Food for thought!

Matt.


Yes, that's like trying to translate "I'm driving to town tomorrow" in Italian which is not "Guido in città" but "vado in città in macchina".

Rob


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