Adjectives for masculine nouns that are feminine in the plural

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by rambler, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    About masculine nouns that have a “feminine” plural: would adjectives be masculine or feminine? For example, how would you translate the following?
    His big strong arms (braccia).
    Her tiny toes (dita).
    A bag full of rotten fruits (frutta) and vegetables.
    My wobbly knees (ginocchia).
    Large white bedsheets (lenzuola).
    The veteran members (membra).
    My aching old bones (ossa).
     
  2. Alfry

    Alfry Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Sì!

    Le sue forti braccia.
    I suoi piccoli alluci / le sue minute dita.

    And so on.
     
  3. susanna.3 Junior Member

    tuscany
    Italiano Italia
    Hi Rambler,
    And also

    Una borsa piena di frutta e verdura marcia.
    Le mie traballanti ginocchia.
    Grandi e bianche lenzuola.
    I membri (soci) anziani. (Membra is body)
    Le mie vecchie ossa doloranti.
    ciao
    Susanna
     
  4. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Wow, I'm really confused! :confused: Taking ginocchio as the example:

    Singular is masculine: Il mio ginocchio
    Plural is feminine? Le mie ginocchia (not I miei ginocchia)
    But if you add an adjective to the plural, it's masculine? Le mie traballanti ginocchia

    Aiuto!
    Elisabetta
     
  5. TimeHP

    TimeHP Senior Member

    Liguria
    Italian - Italy

    Traballante isn not an adjective but a present participle.
    traballare = traballante (sing) / traballanti (plur)

    Ginocchio has got 2 plural forms: ginocchi (masc.) and ginocchia (plur.)

    Ciao

    :) My sympathy to all people learning Italian...
     
  6. max63 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy, Italian
    Therefore, Elisabetta you can also say "i miei traballanti ginocchi" where "traballanti" does not change between masculine and feminine. Easy isn't it? :)
     
  7. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Ah, now Grandi e bianche lenzuola makes more sense. Grazie del aiuto ed anche della condoglianza!

    Elisabetta
     
  8. **ellie** Senior Member

    Italy, Forlì
    Italian-Italy
    And even when you say "le mie ginocchia" it doesn't change the gender, it is always a masculine! We don't say "i ginocchi", it's a really old word!
     
  9. max63 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy, Italian
    Elisabetta, sorry to shift from the thread subject but, "condoglianze" in Italian means condolescenses.....
     
  10. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    It may still be masculine, but it seems to be doing a pretty good masquerade as feminine. Maybe it's a cross-dressing noun? ;)

    Elisabetta
     
  11. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Ciao, Max. TimeHP ha scritto:
    In inglese my sympathy = my condolences... (più o meno) Dici che ho dovuto scrivere "grazie delle condoglianze" o un altra parola? :confused:

    Elisabetta
     
  12. max63 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy, Italian
    Sorry Elisabetta I did not explain clearly. In Italian when you say "grazie delle (per le) condoglianze" it means that some of your parents/relatives has died and you want to thank people coming to express their condolences to you. The word "condoglianze" means condolences only in this way and it cannot be referred to sympathy.
    Clearer now? :)
    Max
     
  13. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Sì, Max, ma quale parola italiana avrei dovuto usare invece di sympathy in questo contesto?

    Grazie,
    Elisabetta
     
  14. max63 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy, Italian
    Penso che avresti potuto usare proprio simpatia oppure comprensione
    Bye and good night to everybody
    Max
     
  15. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    Why is “ginocchia” considered masculine? If it’s masculine in the plural, then why do its adjectives take the feminine form?
     
  16. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    Garzanti seems to suggest that "I ginocchi" (masc.) is the normal plural,
    and "Le ginocchia" (fem.) refers to the two knees of one person.

    Does anyone agree or disagree with this?
     
  17. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    For “A bag full of rotten fruits”, which of the following is correct?
    (1) Una borsa piena di frutta marcia.
    (2) Una borsa piena di frutta marcie.

    For “The veteran members”, which of the following is correct?
    (a) I membri anziani.
    (b) I membri veterani.
     
  18. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    (1) and (a). (b) is not strictly incorrect but anziani is the usual word in this context.

    Btw the feminine plural of marcio is marce.

    You will find an extremely comprehensive list of words with masculine/feminine plurals as well as explanations of the differences here:

    http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/faq/faq_risp.php?id=4261&ctg_id=44

    It says that although some scholars would like to make a difference between ginocchi and ginocchia this is actually not adhered to.
     
  19. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    But "frutta" is plural, isn't it? And "marcia" is singular?
     
  20. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    La frutta. Mmm, penso che sia singolare. (Same in English, I believe, i.e.: This fruit is ripe.)

    Elisabetta
     
  21. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    un frutto, il frutto, le frutta

    The only reason that I included "frutta" in this thread is because, somewhere in this forum, I came across a list of masculine nouns that are feminine in the plural.

    So, I guess my questions are:
    (1) Is this true? Is "le frutta" considered to be the plural of "il frutto"?
    (2) If yes, then which is correct: "frutta marcia" or "frutta marce"?
    (3) If not, then what is the plural spelling of "il frutto"?

     
  22. TimeHP

    TimeHP Senior Member

    Liguria
    Italian - Italy
    un frutto - due (tre, quattro, cinque...) frutti
    si usa per indicare il prodotto della terra (o della pianta)

    frutta è il termine che usiamo per indicare la categoria alimentare ed è un nome collettivo.
    Penso che prenda la 'a' finale dal plurale latino fructa.

    In senso figurato si usa la prima forma:
    Il frutto/i frutti della fatica

    Esiste invece un uso idiomatico di frutta:
    sei alla frutta significa hai dato fondo alle tue risorse, sei esausto, non ce la fai più...

    Ciao
     
  23. Cnaeius

    Cnaeius Senior Member

    Verona
    Italian, Italy
    I tried to locate another WR thread in which we talk about “–a” plurals in italian but I can’t find it. So I try to do a quick analysis by myself.
    Plurals in –a are indeed (as TimeHP above mentioned) all fossiles or modelings of Latin neuter plural –a. I put below some examples of two different cases (etimo.it has not many words but I could not find better..):

    1):
    http://www.etimo.it/?term=corna

    Il corno (sing)à Le corna (pl)

    http://www.etimo.it/?term=mura

    Il Muro (sing)à Le mura (pl)

    http://www.etimo.it/?term=membro

    Il membro (sing) à Le membra (pl)

    In this case the noun has an irregular plural, so the article changes from “il”(sing) to “le” (plural) and the gender is masculine both for singular and plural. The plural is irregular because derives from neuter. (it is not “feminine plural” because the noun would have had the “–e” ending)


    2):

    Il frutto (sing)à La frutta (sing collettivo)

    http://www.etimo.it/?term=frutta

    This case is different because frutta is singular ( article is singular). It is derives from Latin neuter too but it has been assimilated as feminine singular. But its meaning is collective.
    So only this word can be said "feminine"

    Ciao
     
  24. Cnaeius

    Cnaeius Senior Member

    Verona
    Italian, Italy
    Just for not being too much meticolous or strict:
    Colloquially we can say "feminine plural in -a" for simplicity..
    Ciao
     
  25. efano

    efano Senior Member

    Faenza, IT
    Italian - Italy
    No, "frutta" is a collective noun: this means it is gramatically singular, even if it refers to a plurality of things.
    Therefore its adjectives and verb forms must be singular.

    "Marcia" is singular and this is correct: "La frutta marcia".

    You can also say frutto (m., singular) and frutti (m., plural).
    "frutti marci". But "Frutta marcia" is more frequentrly used.
     
  26. susanna.3 Junior Member

    tuscany
    Italiano Italia
    Hi,
    Frutta is singular, màrci and màrcie are adjectives plural.
    Le mele màrcie or i frutti màrci.
    For i ginocchi or le ginocchia you can use one of them for plural.
    I live in Tuscany and we say i ginocchi.
    ciao
     
  27. Elisa68 Senior Member

    Italy Language:Italian
    In realta' il femminile plurale di marcio e' marce. L'uso di marcie e' perlopiu' letterario (source Garzanti:[pl. f. -ce, lett. -cie])
     
  28. IndigoBlue Senior Member

    Italiano - Italia
    Quando si parla di frutta - cibo, allora un frutto/la frutta al plurale;sempre per il discorso del genere neutro presente in latino ma non in italiano, c'è un antico le frutta, o anche le legna (plurale di legno, nel senso dei pezzi di legno da usare per il fuoco), ma non è comune, normalmente si usa la frutta e la legna, singolare collettivo. Se invece si parla di frutto in senso figurato allora il plurale è maschile: raccogliere i frutti del proprio lavoro, ad esempio. Aggiungerei, già che ci sono: un uovo fresco/le uova fresche.
     

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