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muro vs. mura

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by disegno, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. disegno

    disegno Senior Member

    San Francisco
    United States English
    Non mi ricordo mai quando si usa 'muro' e quando si usa 'mura'. è la stessa cosa con 'tavolo' e tavola'. Qual'è la differenza?

    Per esempio...posso usare muro per descrivere la struttura intorno a Luca? e una mura per una pareta nella casa? o vice versa?

    Mangio in un ristorante a una tavola o a un tavolo?
     
  2. gaia68 Junior Member

    ITALY
    "Muro" is the singular, masculin, and it has two plurals: muri (masculin) and mura (feminin). The English translation is anyway wall, walls. In Italian you would normally use "muro" and "muri"to indicate the wall of the house, while MURA, the plural, would be used to translate town "walls"
     
  3. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    And parete?
     
  4. franx Senior Member

    Italy - Italian, US English
    Parete is any structure that divides two things and keeps them separated, muro is a well-built barrier generally made of bricks. (Mura is simply the Latin plural that's remained in use to indicate specifically the outside walls of a city or a castle)

    Hence, within a house you can pretty much use parete and muro interchangeably, except if there is a really thin wall it would be improper to call it muro (although people might sometimes do it). However, in biology you'll find lots of pareti (the walls of your hearth, of your chest, etc...) but not a single muro, hopefully... :)
     
  5. Plodder

    Plodder Junior Member

    England, English
    So, would the singular / plural of muro go like this:

    il muro, i muri
    il muro, le mura?

    Plodder
     
  6. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Yes, Plodder :)

    Also, please note that in some areas you might find a dialectal use of mura for the singular "wall"! :eek:
     
  7. franx Senior Member

    Italy - Italian, US English
    Really? As in what, "una mura"? :)
     
  8. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Yes, I guess so. I've heard :cross:"la mura":cross: ...

    I wouldn't be oversurprised... as there are people in the South saying :cross:"lo scatolo":cross: !
     
  9. Elisa68 Senior Member

    Italy Language:Italian
    Con mia sorpresa il De Mauro ne dà la definizione, pur indicando regionale...:rolleyes:
     
  10. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    meridionale :)
     
  11. paterpatriae New Member

    Japan
    USA (English)
    Ciao:

    What then would be the difference, if any, between mura and cinta?

    Grazie!
     
  12. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Mura is singular and means "town/city walls". Cinta is singular and refers to the ring of walls surrounding a town/city so the meaning is more or less the same. You will often hear cinta muraria, cinta difensiva.

    Incidentally, cinto/cinta is also the past participle of cingere(surround, enclose): una città cinta di mura.

    Having just noticed the following post:

    I was surprised to notice that Southern regional uses deserve two crosses as well as an exclamation mark. I'll have to watch my usage:rolleyes:
     
  13. Magixo Senior Member

    Croatian
    What is the difference between ‘muri’ and ‘mura’?
    Why can’t we simply say: ‘tra le quattro muri’? Why do we have to change the gender?
    Could you give some more examples of nouns that change the gender in the plural?
    Is that a common thing in Italian language?

    Thanks,
    Magixo
     
  14. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Hi, Magixo!
    The Italian noun has two plurals, but we use mostly the masculine "muri", the feminine "mura" is used to define the boundary walls (le mura di cinta), the town walls (le mura cittadine), the circle of walls (la cerchia di mura), and in the expressions "fra quattro mura" and (sometimes) "le mura di casa".
     
  15. mercedesm Junior Member

    Rome, Italy
    Italy/italian
    ciao Magixo
    about names that change gender in the plural,it's not very common, but there are some, here a couple of ideas:

    il dito, le dita (finger, fingers)
    il ginocchio, le ginocchia (knee, knees)
    l'urlo, le urla (scream)
    il budello, le budella ( something like intrails or so... excuse-me, I don't have a correct translation) However, this one is a bit unusual, in fact we always refer to "budella" in its plural form...
    I bet there are many more...
    ciao ciao mercedes
     
  16. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    USA/English
    Budella would be entrails, or more commonly, intestines or guts.

    If you scroll down in this thread there are many examples of "transgendered" nouns: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=106721
     
  17. Magixo Senior Member

    Croatian
    Si, nella mia lezione si dice: 'tra le quatro mura domestiche' ... trovano lo spazio gli animali diversi.
     
  18. Glamona Junior Member

    Chicago
    United States, native Serbian
    Si dice il muro - i muri per quelli di casa (in inglese "walls").
    Si dice le mura (senza singolare) per quelli intorno a una citta` (citty walls) e che si vedono intorno alle citta` in Europa , China. Le mura sono fatte di pietra, mattone. Le mura dovevano proteggere la citta` dell'intrusione straniera.

    Quanto al tavolo, si dice il tavolo - i tavoli quando si pensa al tavolo solamente come un oggetto, che poi puo` essere di diversa forma (per es. tavolo rotondo).
    "Io preferisco quel tavolo a destra."
    "Sediamoci al tavolo per giocare alle carte."


    Si dice la tavola, quando c'e` il cibo sul tavolo.
    "Mettetevi a tavola. Il pranzo e` pronto."
    "Sediamoci a tavola (per mangiare)."

    Di tutto questo sono 100% sicura, perche` di questo ho studiato nella facolta`.
     
  19. federicoft Senior Member

    Italian
    I think the best way to understand the difference is this one:

    Tavola (when referring to a table) is indicative of an abstract condition, i.e. when you sit to have lunch/dinner.
    Tavolo is the physical object.
     
  20. BlueCatAdelaide New Member

    ITALIAN
    "Muro" is singular, "Mura" plural... "Muri" is just bad Italian. When talking about town walls always use "Mura".
    "Tavolo" has legs and you eat or work on it, "Tavola" is "board" in any possible meaning. In figurative speach you use "Tavola" even for the legged one, in espressions like "La buona tavola", "Mettere in tavola un discorso" etch...
    I know it sounds complicated but you just need practice and examples :)
     
  21. Mark Dobson

    Mark Dobson Senior Member

    Emilia–Romagna, Italy
    English (England)
    Anche Devoto-Oli?
     
  22. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    You might want to consult a dictionary (or read this very thread) before dispensing dubious advice on your first post.:warning:

    The standard plural of muro is muri. Hardly bad Italian. Mura is the collective plural (see example below) and is also used in several idiomatic expressions.

    • The bullet pierced two walls. Il proiettile passò attraverso due muri.
    • The city walls date back to Roman times. Le mura cittadine risalgono ad epoca romana.
     
  23. BlueCatAdelaide New Member

    ITALIAN
    This might well be my first post but I know what I'm saying. I am Italian - lived, studied (architecture by the way) and worked in there for 37 years.
    Plural of "muro" is "mura", if you want to speak a good italian, even when you talk of a building, I know a lot of people use "muri" but that is not as good as "mura".
    "Muri" should be used only when talking of separate walls ("le scritte sui muri" or your example). If the walls are continous/adjoining you should use "mura".
    This is from TRECCANI (is that good enough for you guys?)
    "...Infine, è stato osservato che i plurali in -a si comportano per certi versi più come lessemi autonomi che come forme flesse di un lessema. Come i lessemi, e a differenza delle forme flesse, essi possono fungere da base di derivazione: il significato di cornuto o cornificare mostra che essi sono derivati da corna e non da corno. Inoltre, il loro significato spesso non corrisponde alla semplice pluralizzazione del significato del singolare. Ciò è particolarmente evidente nei casi di doppio plurale, uno collettivo, di massa, non individuato in -a e uno in -i che al singolare invece corrisponde: le cervella sono diverse da una pluralità di cervelli, le braccia o le corna sono concettualizzate come entità complessiva e non come pluralità di bracci (i bracci della gru, del fiume) o corni (i due corni del dilemma), le mura sono l’insieme che costituisce un fabbricato e non una pluralità di muri."
     
  24. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    In your meaningless rant you cherry-pick quotes from the Treccani, but you fail to mention an all-important line, this one: muro s. m. [lat. mūrus] (pl. i muri e, con valore collettivo, le mura)

    "Muri" is just bad Italian
    - you say - but that line from the dictionary is enough to prove you dead wrong. You can back-pedal and waffle all you want now.

    This may be a forum for learners, but even the naivest of readers will recognize your drivel for what it is.
     
  25. Mary49

    Mary49 Senior Member

    Padova
    Italian
    Scusa, ma TRECCANI non dice questo, io leggo:
    http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/muro/
    "muro s. m. [lat. mūrus] (pl. i muri e, con valore collettivo, le mura)"... Il plur. femm., le mura, è più frequente del masch., soprattutto per indicare più opere murarie considerate nel loro complesso, in quanto servono a chiudere, a recingere. Con riferimento a un ambiente, chiuso, protetto, che dà quindi sicurezza, o che, al contrario, per avere l’entrata e l’uscita impedita, limita la libertà".
    http://dizionari.corriere.it/dizionario_italiano/M/muro.shtml
    s.m. (pl.m. muri nelle accez. 1, 2, 3; pl.f. mura nell'accez. 5 e in altri usi particolari, spec. fig.) 1 Struttura muraria di sviluppo verticale, costituita di pietre, mattoni e laterizi vari sovrapposti e tenuti insieme o meno da calce, cemento e altri agglomeranti; può essere elemento costitutivo di edifici, come facciata esterna o complesso di pareti interne, oppure può svolgere funzione di sostegno, di recinzione, di delimitazione, di divisione
    2 fig. Qualsiasi elemento che, per solidità, spessore o altre caratteristiche, richiami un muro oppure ne svolga le funzioni di impedimento, ostacolo, protezione
    5 (al pl.) L'insieme delle antiche strutture murarie difensive di una città o anche di un edificio.


    http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/...za-linguistica/domande-risposte/plurali-doppi
    "Il muro --> i muri / le mura. Il maschile per i muri di una casa, o quelli che costeggiano una strada; il femminile per le mura di cinta di una città, oppure per indicare la casa nel suo complesso: stare fra le proprie mura".
    Non si può dire che "muri" sia peggiore di "mura" o che sia "bad Italian" (a proposito, Italian si scrive con l'iniziale maiuscola).

    Ciao Teerex:)
     
  26. BlueCatAdelaide New Member

    ITALIAN
    There is no need of being rude... everyone in here was saying that "muri" should be generally used as plural (apart from the city walls case), and I say that that is bad Italian, which is. "Muri" should be used in very rare cases.
    Sorry guys, I tought you were here to learn and not to quarrel. I might be in the wrong place.

    Hi Mary,
    that's where I got it from.
    http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/neutro_(Enciclopedia_dell'Italiano)/
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  27. Holymaloney

    Holymaloney Senior Member

    Italy
    English (UK) / Italian - bilingual
    Hi BCA :)
    Given that we're not here to quarrel but to learn, maybe you'll benefit from these corrections yourself ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  28. BlueCatAdelaide New Member

    ITALIAN
    Hi Holymaloney,

    Thanks for the corrections, as I said before I lived in Italy for the great majority of my life and still in the process of learning English, that's why I'm here :)
    By the way, shouldn't quarRel be with 2 "r"? ;)
    Cheers
     
  29. Holymaloney

    Holymaloney Senior Member

    Italy
    English (UK) / Italian - bilingual
    Quite right BCA :), I'll go and correct that now ;).
     
  30. Mark Dobson

    Mark Dobson Senior Member

    Emilia–Romagna, Italy
    English (England)
    I guess that la Crusca isn’t actually the Gospel, but your view seems quite controversial. The ‘walls of a house’ is a very common case rather than a rare one. Boh.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  31. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    Agreed, La Crusca may not be the Gospel, but it still deserves infinitely more credit than a crank's attention-seeking post. While on the subject of attention, I think we ought to let this thread die. It already contains all necessary info for those who need to brush up on their Italian grammar. Fueling the flames of delusion won't bring anything worthwhile. ;)
     

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