a mani nude

dee20002

Member
USA-English
Ciao, tutti,

In reading La Repubblica, they describing digging for survivors, "a mani nude." Why is it not "a mani nudi?"
Grazie,
Dee
 
  • walnut

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    dee20002 said:
    Why is it not "a mani nudi?"
    That's because 'mano' is feminine: la mano, le mani. La mia mano, le mie mani. Ciao! Walnut

    PS :rolleyes: Yes, I know, it ends with an 'o/i' that's more tipycal of a masculine word... let's wait for a grammar expert!
     

    Merlino

    Senior Member
    The Netherlands
    For those that don't read Italian very well:
    la mano comes from the latin manus, which is a word ending in -us (normally the ending for masculine nouns) but is of the 4th declination which is a group of feminine nouns ending on -us. When all words ending in -us got transformed into -o so did manus->mano, but it kept its feminine gender...

    (Examples of the 5 declinations for anyone that cares :):
    1: agricola
    2: servus
    3: templum
    4: manus
    5: res
    )
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Very well, Merlino.

    Though I guess that there are nouns of masculin and neuter gender in the 4th declination as well.
     

    tim

    Member
    Australia, English
    Just a small note: "templum" is actually second declension, albeit neuter in gender.

    The thiurd declension consists of words like "canis", "mons" and "rex", whoxe Italian derivatives have a singular ending in -e
     

    dee20002

    Member
    USA-English
    Thanks, Walnut.

    And thanks, Silviap, I am trying to read Italian but yikes!!! Declinations from latin!!! I have blissfully deleted my memory in that department.

    Grazie,
    Dee
     

    Rob625

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Generally, nouns ending in -o are masculine and those in -a are feminine. I think that rule is familiar to everyone, if only through proper names like Mario and Maria. It fits the vast majority of -o and -a words.

    Now for the exceptions:

    mano is the only noun ending in -o that is feminine, apart from some modern ones like 'la radio'.

    There are quite a lot of nouns ending in -a that are, or can be, masculine. Many of these are professions, where the word is invariable but its gender can change: il dentista = the male dentist, la dentista = the female dentist, and the same for il/la giornalista etc.

    Other words in -a that are masculine include il problema, il sistema, il tema (theme, essay). These examples come from Greek originals that are neuter.

    Then there are some curious specimens that are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, such as il ginocchio, le ginocchia, l'orecchio, le orecchie.
     

    walnut

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    dee20002 said:
    Declinations from latin!!! I have blissfully deleted my memory in that department.
    :D Don't worry dee, a black and quiet night fell on my latin years ago but my italian survived the blackout and I'm sure yours will as well (and it's nice to know you can rely on latinist foreros)! Ciao! Walnut
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Rob, I remember at least another feminine word ending in -o, so there might be some others:

    eco, un'eco, l'eco

    Ciao!
     

    Merlino

    Senior Member
    The Netherlands
    Rob625 said:
    Then there are some curious specimens that are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, such as il ginocchio, le ginocchia, l'orecchio, le orecchie.

    There's actually a rule for that one: they're all human bodyparts ;)

    They actually have masculine plurals too, those are reserved for bodyparts that are not human or other meanings of the same word (f.e. il braccio can also be used with regard to a river)..

    f.e.:

    -ho rotto le ossa (I broke my bones)
    -gli ossi sono per il cane (the bones are for the dog)
     

    muriel

    Senior Member
    italia italiano
    An other italian item feminine for his gender, but ending with "o", is virago: s.f.inv.
    1 donna dotata di forza fisica, di coraggio e forza d’animo virili
    2 scherz., donna dall’aspetto e dai modi mascolini
     

    muriel

    Senior Member
    italia italiano
    Sorry, I didn't translate:
    a woman bestowed with great physical strength, courage, and nerve
     

    amarena

    New Member
    italy, Italian, tuscany
    Rob625 said:
    Generally, nouns ending in -o are masculine and those in -a are feminine. I think that rule is familiar to everyone, if only through proper names like Mario and Maria. It fits the vast majority of -o and -a words.

    Now for the exceptions:

    mano is the only noun ending in -o that is feminine, apart from some modern ones like 'la radio'.

    .
    I 'd like to add that there are more words that are feminin but ending with O, for example :
    l'auto, la moto, la biro, la foto...
    As you can notice, though, Auto is an abbreviation for automobile, moto for motocicletta, foto for fotografia...But the short version is the one most commonly used so this means that in fact these are feminin words with an ending in O
     
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