Italian language lessons: lesson n°1 - Nouns

Apr 1 07:34 2008 Luca Cusi Print This Article

With this article we would like to introduce you to the first step to learn Italian language: we will learn about Italian nouns.

Every word that has a precise meaning and serves to indicates animated and inanimate objects,Guest Posting ideas, facts, feelings, actions as so on, is a noun.

When a noun indicates a person, animal or object that exists physically and may be perceived by the five senses, is defined concrete. A noun that defines an idea, a thought or a feeling is an abstract noun: cane, gatto, casa, albero are concrete nouns; amore, forza, fame are abstract nouns.A noun that indicates generally  people, animals and objects and doesn't identify with precision, are common nouns.A noun that indicates a specific person animal or object and distinguish them from others people, animals or objects are defined own nouns (its first letter is written capital):cane, gatto, persona are common nouns; Paolo, James and Jessica are own nouns.

Nouns are words composed of two parts: the root (radice in Italian), which remains constant, and the ending (desinenza in Italian), which changes.We can easily recognize a noun by its ending, which indicates its gender (masculine or feminine) and its number (singular or plural).Generally nouns that ends in -o are masculine and nouns that ends in -a are feminine; the nouns that ends in -e generally are the same for masculine and feminine.

It is not possible to have an accurate classification of nouns according to their ending, because there are so many exceptions, so we always recommend the use of a dictionary to be sure about the gender or the number of a noun. Anyway in Italian language (like all latin languages) we have three declinations:

1° declination have singular ending in -a and plural ending in -e (ros-a, ros-e )1° declination have singular ending in -ga and plural ending in -ghi(masculine), -ghe(feminine)1° declination have singular ending in -ca and plural ending in -chi(masculine), -che(feminine)2° declination have singular ending in -o and plural ending in -i (mur-o, mur-i )2° declination have singular ending in -co and plural ending in -chi or -ci2° declination have singular ending in -go and plural ending in -ghi or -gi3° declination have singular ending in -e and plural ending in -i (can-e, can-i )

We just said that there are exceptions as invariable nouns, which have the same ending in both number forms(cinem-a, cinem-a), as defective nouns, which have only singular form (latte) or only plural form (nozze)If we have a composed-noun, which is a noun compound by two nouns, to get the plural form, we have to change only the ending of  the second noun (banco-nota, banconote) , but also in this case we have exceptions; for example when we have a noun compound by a noun and an adjective, we have to change both endings to get the plural form (cassa-forte, casse-forti)

There are also names compound for more than two elements, among them we remember the names compound with two nouns united by a preposition, like ficodindia, fiordaliso, messinscena, which are respectively fichidindia, fiordalisi, messinscene.A particular case is represented by the name pomodoro, which has three plurals: pomodori, pomidori (popular), pomidoro (regional).

In the next article we will learn about verbs.

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Luca Cusi
Luca Cusi

Luca Cusi is a free-lance writer, he writes about italian language school and italian language courses

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