si passivante

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by minhsane, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. minhsane New Member

    Vietnamese; US English
    Ciao a tutti!

    My question is how is "si passivante" used? There aren't any posts I could find adressing this question. I see "si" used as reflexives
    in impersonal constructions but I'm not sure how you would translate the "si passavante" construction. Also how would you discern it from the impersonal since they both are si + 3rd prsn, right?

    Thanks to all.
     
  2. victoria luz

    victoria luz Senior Member

    lecce
    italy
    Ciao,

    SI con Valore Riflessivo
    NOTA BENE:Reflexive constructions are NOT impersonal!
    The action of the verb reverberates on the subject

    Frasi riflessive
    diretta Si lava He washes himself (subject is also the direct object)
    indiretta Si lava le mani He washes his hands (intending his = of him,
    subject is also the indirect object)
    reciproca Si sono baciati They kissed each other/one another (plural
    subject, action reverberating on both/all of them)


    Then Si is used, as you said, to conjugate a verb in impersonal constructions, where the subject = anybody, nobody, everybody, people
    Non si fuma
    Si ritiene che....
    Si dice che....
    In quel ristorante si mangia bene

    Si Passivante
    When the impersonal verb is followed by a direct object that can be considered the subject of a passive sentence with the same meaning.
    Nota Bene: the verb is 3rd s., with singular object, 3rd pl. with plural object.
    A giugno si miete il grano (wheat is reaped))
    Su questo forum si imparano molte cose (many things are learnt)
    Questo libro si legge con piacere (this book is read)
    La carne bianca si mangia sempre meno (poultry is eaten).

    I hope this helps you to see the difference.
    (BTW,There are other uses of SI, but I don't want to confuse you any further. :D )
     
  3. minhsane New Member

    Vietnamese; US English
    Thanks Victoria Luz!
    That wasn't so bad at all. It seems to me that "si" and "ci" are the bane of stranieri learning Italian :D but your post really helped. I'll go on to google or something now and find more sentences with "si passivante" to allow this construction to soak into my head.

    "si" you later. (I know it's corny ;) )

    Thanks again
     
  4. minhsane New Member

    Vietnamese; US English
    I went onto this site to get more info on "si passivante", at itech.dickinson. edu/blog/?p=2377. So I can see it's stylistically preferred to the passive construction in Italian but I don't understand why. The site emphasizes the difference between "si passivante" as it doesn't denote who does the action. However, when the site gives examples comparing "si passivante" to the standard "essere + participio", the reader doesn't know who performs the action in the "essere + participio" either.

    SO basically ... what is the difference between the two constructions that makes one preferred to the other?

    Minhsane
     
  5. swinginscot Senior Member

    English, UK/US
    Ciao a tutti,
    Sorry I know there are many posts on this topic. I've looked through them and I thought I understood it pretty well but I've been working on these exercises and am a bit confused. Any help would be appreciated.

    Trasforma le frasi al passivo usando il si passivante:

    San Marco viene proclamato nuovo patrono di Venezia.
    (St. Mark was proclaimed the new Patron Saint of Venice).

    My answer:
    Si e' proclamato San Marco il nuovo Patrono di Venezia.
    (They proclaimed St. Mark the new Patron Saint of Venice)

    BUT: It says the correct answer is:
    Si proclama San Marco il nuovo Patrono di Venezia.
    (They proclaim St. Mark the new Patron Saint of Venice)

    I just looked up in my book and I see that it is just a different form, ie, changing from the passive voice form using venire + past participle to si passivante. I understand that concept but doesn't it change the meaning of the sentence if you change from something that happened in the past tense to something in the present?

    A clearer example to me is:
    Questo vino viene prodotto in Veneto - this wine was produced in Veneto
    (changing from passive voice to si passivante)-
    Questo vino si produce in Veneto - They produce this wine in Veneto (I think this is what it means anyway)

    Ok, I'm sure I sound like blithering idiot now. Heheh think my brain is having a bit of a meltdown. Sorry for the long rambling post.

    Grazie mille :)
     
  6. Antis Junior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Don't know how to say in english but I'll try...

    In
    "San Marco viene proclamato nuovo patrono di Venezia"

    "Viene" is more or less like "è" and in this sentence
    sounds to be an "historical present" (?)
    ... that is to say you use the present tense to make the past vivid.

    The correct answer is "si proclama", yes!

    but... I have to say it should be added at least something like
    Nel 1635 (I'm inventing) si proclama San Marco nuovo patrono di Venezia.
    ... otherwise it sounds a little weird.
     
  7. Antis Junior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Actually a correct translation of
    Questo vino viene prodotto in Veneto
    is
    this wine IS produced in Veneto
     
  8. cscarfo Senior Member

    Italy Italian
    "viene proclamato" is a present tense, so your textbook is correct.

    The same goes for your example.
    Past tenses are "si è prodotto", "si produceva", and so on.


    "si passivante" is a weird term to me. This construct has an impersonalmeaning, not passive. Maybe because it is equivalent to "è prodotto",which looks like a passive, but actually has a purely impersonalmeaning.
    Ciao
     
  9. giacinta Senior Member

    Melbourne
    English

    The book is right! " Viene" is the present tense. Therefore you must translate in the present tense.

    If it said "San Marco venne proclamato nuovo patrono di Venezia" the answer would be "Si proclamo' San Marco etc"

    Giacinta
     
  10. swinginscot Senior Member

    English, UK/US
    Grazie mille a tutti per l'aiuto!! :D

     
  11. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Ciao a tutti,

    I've looked at several books and researched the internet. Someone suggested this thread but I'd just like to confirm some general rules. This may be the first post/thread of a few from me on this subject. I'm hoping some of our native speaking Italian friends will confirm or comment. I've noticed that many Italian language teaching books do not address the Si Passivante and use the Si Impersonale as a "catch-all" for both forms. This could lead to confusion or misuse by many of us trying to learn the Italian language.

    The Impersonal Si (Si Impersonale):

    1) Is used when the action is emphasized and the performer of the action is not mentioned.
    2) Si corresponds to the English impersonal use of one/you/we/they/people.
    3) It is only used with the third person singular form of the verb.
    4) It is used to express common knowledge with the expressions such as si sa che (it's common knowledge that), si capisce che (it's obvious that), and si vede che (it's clear that).

    example - A casa mia si mangia spesso gli spaghetti. (At my house we often eat spaghetti.)

    example - Si dice che il presidente sia miliardario. (They say that the president is a millionaire.)

    The Passive Si (Si Passivante):

    1) It is frequently used instead of the passive voice (la forma passiva).
    2) The performer of the action is not mentioned.
    3) The subject is inanimate and can be singular or plural.
    4) The verb agrees in number with the subject.

    example - Non si parla inglese in classe. (English is not spoken in class.)

    example - Non si leggono mai quei libri. (Those books are never read.)

    Grazie,

    PG
     
  12. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Here is my attempt to translate an extract from the thread 'La particella si' in Solo Italiano:
    Any active verb can assume impersonal value placing the si particle before the third singular person. Instead the atonic pronoun 'si' is called passivante when it assigns a passive mean to the third singular or plural person of a transitive active verb in a simple tense (si loda la tua bravura = la tua bravura è lodata; si acquistano vestiti usati = i vestiti sono acquistati). It's not used with compound tenses and it doesn't change the construction from active to passive, but it gives a passive value to a verb that keeps the active construction (si vendono francobolli).
     
  13. effeundici Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian - Tuscany
    It's not easy for many Italians too. In Italian towns, for example, the correct sign Vendonsi appartamenti has been replaced by Vendesi appartamenti.

    It's a clear proof, in my opinion, that most Italians make confusion between the impersonal si vende appartamenti and the "passivante" si vendono appartamenti.

    And if the objectis one the form is the same : si vende carne. I guess only the context can give the answer.

    Am I right or am I confused too??
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  14. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Effeundici,

    I sympathize with you. (In italiano "simpatizzo per te", vero?)

    Grazie per la tua risposta,

    PG
     
  15. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Grazie amico mio, allora:

    The Passive Si (Si Passivante):

    1) It is frequently used instead of the passive voice (la forma passiva).
    2) The performer of the action is not mentioned.
    3) The subject is inanimate and can be singular or plural.
    4) The verb can only be used in a simple tense and agrees in number with the subject.
    5) It doesn't change the construction from active to passive, but it gives a passive value to a verb that keeps the active construction. Example - La tua bravura è lodata. = Si loda la tua bravura. (Your skill is lauded.)

    There are more rules which I may submit for review.

    Grazie di nuovo,

    PG
     
  16. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    You're welcome, Pasqua'!
    I can't agree on the #3, because in the passive construction the grammatical subject is who/what undergoes the action, so if you say for example "si cerca/cercasi commessa", I suppose you are looking for an alive and well shop-girl...! :)
    Another very important point: the si can be passivante only with a transitive verb with direct object expressed, because with intransitive verbs and transitive verbs with direct object not expressed it is si impersonale (si legge = noi leggiamo; qualcuno legge).
     
  17. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    LOL!!! :D Amico mio certamente hai ragione.

    Grazie di nuovo,

    PG
     
  18. Passante

    Passante Senior Member

    Bologna
    italian
    In Italiano dovrebbe essere 'propendo per la tua opinione' 'sono d'accordo con te' 'mi piace quel che hai detto' .
    Simpatizzo si dice, ma sembra più che lo voteresti durante un'elezione :p
    in senso figurato si può usare, ma un italiano non credo lo userebbe così.
     
  19. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    PG, I think this is a typical example of Tuscan usage. I myself would say si mangiano. Here's a quote from Serianni's Grammatica:

     
  20. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Credo che Pasquale volesse dire piuttosto "ti capisco", "sono solidale con te". ;):)
     
  21. Passante

    Passante Senior Member

    Bologna
    italian
    l'ha corretto con 'certamente hai ragione' ;)
     
  22. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Ehm... non che abbia una particolare rilevanza, ma GP non ha fatto alcuna modifica. Rispetto al certamente a cui ti riferisci, il sympathize in questione è tre post prima, nel #14! ;):)
     
  23. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Grazie Necsus. Hai ragione :thumbsup:.

    E grazie a tutti per l'aiuto.

    PG
     
  24. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Grazie Giovannino. Hai ragione. Dovrei aver scritto (I should have written) "A casa mia si mangia spesso la pasta. (At my house we often eat pasta.)

    PG
     
  25. giacinta Senior Member

    Melbourne
    English
    Glad this has been cleared up. I was quite worried about the use of the singular verb in the example given!

    I am not sure but I think " Avrei dovuto scrivere..." is the the way to say " I should have written or perhaps "Intendevo scrivere..."???

    An interesting discussion.... thank you,
    Giacinta
     
  26. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    You're welcome. :);)
     
  27. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Ciao a tutti,

    Sorry everyone but I'm still confused. I want to present some examples and more questions.

    A casa mia si mangiano spesso gli spaghetti. - (Si Passivante) At my house spaghetti is often eaten. OR "At my house one/we oftern eat(s) spaghetti." Question - Even though my second English sentence is not passive is this interpretation correct?

    A casa mia li si mangia spesso. - (Si Impersonale) At my house we often eat them. - Question - is this correct? Can si impersonale be used with a plural object pronouns?

    In my Italian book (Living Language - Ultimate Italian Advanced) it states "To form the passive with si in a compound tense, place si before the appropriate form of the auxiliary essere. The past participle agrees in gender and number with the subject."
    One example given is - Ieri si sono comprate tre stampanti laser. (Yesterday three laser printers were bought.) Questions - I thought that si passivante could not be used in compound tenses. I assume my book is wrong, correct? If the book is wrong then is the example correct Italian? It cannot be considered si impersonale because the verb essere is in the 3rd person plural.

    I will also have some more questions about si impersonale which I will submit at a later time.

    Grazie in anticipo,

    PG
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  28. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    My impression is that, apart from cases where only one interpretation is possible (e.g. in "si va" si can only be interpreted as impersonal, not as passive, since andare is intransitive), there is often an inherent ambiguity in these si-constructions. For example, although Lepschy says that "le si è comprate" cannot be interpreted as passive I see it as a bit of a hybrid: the object pronoun is used, which justifies interpreting it as "impersonal", but at the same time the past participle is feminine plural, as with "si passivante". The fact that there isn't unanimity among grammarians suggests that these si constructions sometimes defy clearcut classifications.
     
  29. Pasquale Gatto

    Pasquale Gatto Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English USA
    Giovaninno,

    Grazie mille! Lo capisco completamente amico mio.

    PG
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  30. Ragazza Australiana Junior Member

    Perth
    English- Australia
    Ciao tutti,

    I have been reading through this thread trying to get my head around the different constructions for the si impersonale and si passivante. According to my old uni Italian professore the rules for agreement with the past participle are as follows (obviously, the si impersonale/passivante both require essere in compound tenses):

    Intransitive Verbs
    - 'Normal' auxiliary = essere: Plural (usually masculine) Past Participle. eg. Si era venuti con l'idea di divertirsi. (People came with the idea of enjoying themselves.)
    - 'Normal' auxiliary = avere: Masculine Singular Past Participle. eg. Ieri si è lavorato male. (Yesterday people worked badly.)

    Transitive Verbs
    - No direct object: Masculine Singular Past Participle. eg. Sabato si è bevuto troppo. (Saturday people drank too much/too much was drunk?)
    - Direct object pronoun: Past Participle agrees with Direct Object eg. (la birra) La si era bevuta anche prima. (People had drunk it even before?)
    - Direct object noun (Si Passivante): Past Participle agrees with Direct Object eg. Sabato si è bevuta troppa birra. (Saturday too much beer was drunk/people drank too
    much beer?)

    Reflexive Verbs

    - No direct object: Plural (usually masculine) Past Participle eg. Ci si è guardati allo specchio. (People look at themselves in the mirror.)
    - Direct object: Plural (usually masculine) OR agrees with Direct Object eg. Ci si è già lavati (OR lavata) la faccia. (People have already washed their faces.)

    Where I have indicated 'usually masculine' there is an acknowledgement that where the si refers to the first person plural (ie. noi/we - typical of Tuscan), the past participle agrees with the Indefinite Subject, which could be two or more women depending on the context: eg. Si è andate a Roma. Ci si è lavate la faccia.

    Also, the verbal person for all these tenses is usually third person singular. The exception to this (as has already been stated) is the si passivante, which can also have the third person plural construction where the direct object is plural. eg. In Italia si mangia molta pasta. In autunno si mangiano i funghi.




    I know I'm an English native-speaker, but I just wanted to check my translations of these sentences with some Italians. Do they sound right to you? I'm particularly unsure about the transitive verb sentences, where I seem to get confused about what the si is referring to - is it an impersonal or passive construction?? Or could it be either?

    Also, all the past participles are constructed with essere but what about in the case of a reflexive verb in an impersonal construction where there is a modal verb (dovere, potere, volere) present? Normally, the Reflexive Pronoun can go either before the verb (uses essere and agrees with Subject) or at the end of an infinite (use avere) where there is a modal verb present: eg. Il bambino non ha voluto vestirsi. OR Il bambino non si è voluto vestire. (The child refused to get dressed.)

    But if this is correct: Non ci si è voluto vestire. (People refused to get dressed.) - Is it also possible to have: Non ci si ha voluto vestireOR Non si è voluto vestirsi?

    Grazie mille! I hope this helps others too :)


    EDIT: I wish I could have presented this neatly in a table so it would be easier to read!
     
  31. giacinta Senior Member

    Melbourne
    English
    Sorry I'm only another Australian but as no Italians had answered, I thought I would have a go.
    With si passivante the object of a transitive verb becomes its subject and the verb agrees in number and gender with that subject. Nowadays the impersonal si behaves in the same way . "Si vendono schede telefoniche " can be translated "phone cards are sold" or "one sells phone cards". According to my book, very occasionally the impersonal si is treated as a subject but this construction is most commonly encountered in advertisements (Si noleggia biciclette). In spoken Italian "it sounds archaic and is best avoided".

    Where there is an auxilliary verb (essere/avere)
    IN the passive sense either both the auxilliary and past participle agree in gender/number (in the passive form) or the past participle is in masculine singular (impersonal form) But the latter is capable of only one interpretation whereas the former is ambiguous. The example given in my text book is "Si e' tagliata la torta" can mean "The cake was cut" or "One cut the cake" but "si e' tagliato la torta" can only mean "one cut the cake".

    When the impersonal si is regarded as the subject (as above-stated - very occasionally) the past participle must agree in gender and number with the direct object pronoun. Hence "la si e' tagliata". "one has cut it (the cake)"
    Le si vende = one sells them (cakes).

    Impersonal si -- INTRANSITIVE where there is an auxiliary verb (auxilary and past participle) and both are always in the masculine singular. Si e' cantato. - One sang.
    If the predicate is an adjective the latter is always masculine plural. " Si e' contenti" One is happy.

    The auxiliary verb with Si impersonale is ALWAYS essere but the form of the past participle (gender and number) depends on whether that verb usually takes "essere' or "avere". In the latter case, the past participle is singular masculine. In former case, (usually a transitive verb) past participle is masculine plural.

    In your example which you refer to as Direct Object noun (si passivante) you go on to translate it in English as both si passivante and si impersonale. I think si passivante (too much beer was drunk) should be "sabato si e' bevuta troppa birra". But si impersonale (one drank too much beer) should be "si e' bevuto troppa birra" (because "bere' takes 'avere").

    With the reflexive verb examples you give, I agree "ci si e' guardati allo specchio" is correct but I would translate it as "One looked at oneself in the mirror". I would translate "people looked at themselves in the mirror" as 'tutti si sono guardati allo specchio".

    All this is very difficult I know:confused: and it has been good for me to revise it. I think over the years I eventually came to the conclusion that I would forget the si impersonale and use only the si passivante which, I think, in most cases you can (or you can find another way of getting across what "the people" do) . It's so simple just to check out the direct object and then make the verb agree in number and gender as in "In Italia si mangiano gli spaghetti" which you can happily translate as "In Italy one eats spaghetti " if you want to and to simply remember the rules about past participles depending on whether the auxiliary is "essere" or "avere".

    It's amazing that nobody else has replied to your message. I do hope this has been of some help and I am perfectly prepared (and indeed would welcome) any corrections to my analysis.

    Cheers,
    Giacinta
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  32. Ragazza Australiana Junior Member

    Perth
    English- Australia
    Hmm.. I've also come across another confusing example:

    Si è mangiato un pomodoro ogni giorno.

    Would this construction be passive or impersonal? Or could it be either?
    A tomato is eaten every day. = Passive
    One ate a tomato every day. = Impersonal

    Grazie!
     
  33. giacinta Senior Member

    Melbourne
    English
    Sorry I don't know what happened to the rest of my previous answer. But re your latest.....

    Si e' mangiato un pomodoro ogni giorno = a tomato was eaten every day.

    It's passive - like si mangiano spesso gli spaghetti--spaghetti is often eaten.

    Giacinta
     
  34. Ragazza Australiana Junior Member

    Perth
    English- Australia
    Oops! My mistake! But wouldn't it be has been rather than was?
    If the verb is meant to be in the same tense as the active verb (in the active sentence equivalent).
    That is:

    Maria ha mangiato un pomodoro ogni giorno. = Maria ate (literally, has eaten) a tomato every day. ACTIVE
    Si è mangiato un pomodoro ogni giorno. = A tomato has been eaten every day. SI PASSIVANTE

    For the translation to be 'was eaten' wouldn't the original have to be:
    Maria mangiava un pomodoro ogni giorno. = Maria used to eat (literally, was eating) a tomato every day. ACTIVE
    Si mangiavaun pomodoro ogni giorno. = A tomato used to be eaten (literally, was eaten)every day. SI PASSIVANTE

    I'm confused! Also because in English the passive voice uses the same construction as the passive voice in Italian, so it doesn't translate nicely when using the si passivante.
     
  35. giacinta Senior Member

    Melbourne
    English
    Hi,

    I have just found my reply to your earlier post and sent it on -- it's above these posts.

    I think you have to be careful not to translate the passato prossimo too literally. It is the Italian conversational past tense EG l"ho fatto = I did it .
    No, sorry -can't agree about the imperfect. "was eaten" is very different from " was eating".

    Let's hope we get some help from our Italian friends!

    G
     
  36. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
  37. Ragazza Australiana Junior Member

    Perth
    English- Australia
     
  38. Ragazza Australiana Junior Member

    Perth
    English- Australia
    Grazie mille!
     
  39. turkjey5 Senior Member

    English - USA
    Are these valid si passivante sentences?

    Some (packages, books, whatever) are sent to him:
    gliene si sono mandati
    gliene sono mandatisi

    Grazie mille!!
     
  40. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Hi, Turkjey. No, your sentences are not correct, because as said in post #12:
     
  41. turkjey5 Senior Member

    English - USA
    Grazie mille!!
     

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