questo avorio, quest'onice

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Senior Member
Peruvian Spanish/USA English
I am reading Il nome della Rosa for the first time in the original Italian (I had already read it in Spanish and French), and now and then I run into puzzling grammar problems. On page 149 - secondo giorno, nona - it says: "questo avorio, quest'onice". Well, avorio and onice beging with vowels. Why not quest'avorio, quest'onice? is that because questo onice sounds ugly? Is it so, every time questo is followed by a word with o? and if it is Questa? Quest'amica? questa amica?- Questi? Queste?
  • cscarfo

    Senior Member
    Italy Italian
    Well, there are phonetic rules and lots of exceptions. In common language the "elisione" of the last vowel is preferred for obvious reasons. But "questo onice" is not an error. If the vowels are the same ("questo
    onice") it is preferred, if they are different ("questo avorio") it is up to the speaker. Consider that "onice" has the accent on the first syllable, while "avorio" has the accent on the second. This makes "quest'onice" sound much better than "questo onice".
    If you want to express something with clarity and give importance to your words, don't use the elisione. The bureaucratic style avoids the elisione.
    In some very common word couples the "elisione" is mandatory. "Quest'altro" (or "quell'altro", etc.) is the only form, saying "questo altro" would surprise the listener.

    Hope it helps


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