Saturday, 13 December 2008

Padre nostro, che sei nei cieli,


I read somewhere that a good way to learn a language is to teach it. So I thought I'd walk you through the Lord's Prayer, for the sake of doing something a bit different.

Instead of a guide on pronunciation, have an mp3.


If I err not, these are all the masculine nouns in the Padre Nostro:
il padrei padrithe father(s)
il cieloi cielithe heavens(s)celestial
il nomei nomithe name(s)nominate
il regnoi regnithe kingdom(s)reign
il panei panithe bread(s)
il debitoi debitithe debt(s)debit
il debitorei debitorithe debtor(s)
il malei malithe evil(s)malicious

Ok. Because of the Norman conquest, there're quite a few that you could probably guess the meaning of without me telling you. They come in two main flavours (there are more, but not in the Lord's Prayer), masculine nouns that end with 'o' and masculine nouns that end in 'e'.

To get the plural of both of them you change it into an 'i'.

All these masculine nouns start with a consonant and therefore the definite article ('the') is 'il' in the singular and 'i' in the plural ('il' and 'i' aren't in fact the only definite articles for masculine nouns that start with a consonant, but we don't need to worry about that here).

These are all the feminine nouns:

la tentazionele tentazionithe temptation(s)
la volontàle volontàthe will(s)voluntary
la terrale terrethe earth(s)terrestrial

Again, none of them start with a vowel, which simplifies things. 'terra', which handily ends in an 'a' is easy to spot as a feminine noun, whereas you can see from 'tentazione' that there are feminine nouns that end in 'e' as well as masculine ones. When you learn nouns that end in 'e', you also have to learn whether they're masculine or feminine. What is worth remembering though, is that nouns that end in '-zione', which correpsonds to '-tion' in English, are usually feminine.

The feminine nouns that end in 'a' change to 'e' in the plural, but the nouns that end in 'e' in the singular form become 'i' again. 'volontà' is a bit of a funny one. The nouns that end in 'à' (the accent means that the stress falls on that syllable) don't change their form in the plural.

The definite article for all of these feminine nouns, because they don't start with a vowel again, is 'la' in the singular and 'le' in the plural.

I should think that's probably enough to start with.


Rosy At Random said...

Ah, but do you know it _backwards_? ;)

Mark said...

I have a vague idea that whenever the Lord's Prayer is said backwards, Mariah Carey releases another single...