Thursday, 17 January 2013

Angelus: Feminine Nouns + Pronouns – ed ella concepì per opera…

The (Twitter-friendly) text of the Angelus in Italian.
A (hasty) recording of the Angelus in Italian.


ed is a modified form of e, so it just means "and" again. It's called the 'd eufonica'; it's euphonic in that it avoids a cacophonic repetition of the vowel 'e' together with ella.

This can also happen with the preposition a–ad (to) or o–od (or).


This is another case of literary/formal language. I conjugated essere with its subject pronouns last time (here). Now we can expand it a little with some literary forms, which I've put in green.

essere(to) be, being
iosonoI am
tuseiyou are
lui/egli, lei/ella, Leièhe/she/it is (+ you are)
noisiamowe are
voisieteyou are (plural)
loro, essi, essesonothey are

Egli and ella are simple enough; they're direct literary equivalents for "he" and "she". The distinction for "they" is to do with gender and agreement, which I discussed here, but without touching on the relevant aspect. essi is the masculine form, and esse the feminine; this is simple enough since it corresponds to the normal endings of nouns, but with plurals it's a bit more complicated. What happens when you're dealing with a mix of masculine and feminine? The answer is simple, if arbitrary, you use the masculine form. In effect, you would only see esse when talking about a group comprising exclusively women. In the following, for example, the prayer is for all the dead, men and women:

splenda ad essi la Luce Perpetua
may-it-shine to them the Light Perpetual

Here we're talking about forms which you wouldn't tend to use every day, but the same rule applies in regular Italian:

sono benedetto – I am blessed (male speaker)
sono benedetta – I am blessed (female speaker)
sono benedetti – they are blessed (men or mixed group)
sono benedetti – they are blessed (women)


These are the feminine nouns in the Angelus:

la graziale graziethe grace(s)
la donnale donnethe woman/women
la madrele madrithe mother(s)
la mortele mortithe death(s)mortal
la servale servethe female servant(s)
la parolale parolethe word(s)
la carnele carnithe flesh, meatcarnal
la promessale promessethe promise(s)
la passionele passionithe passion(s)
la crocele crocithe cross(es)crucifix
la gloriale gloriethe glory/glories
la risurrezionele risurrezionithe resurrection(s)
la lucele lucithe light(s)lucid
la pacele pacithe peace(s)pacifist
(la peccatrice)(le peccatrici)(the female sinner(s))im-peccable
l'operale operethe work, action, meansoperation
l'orale orethe hour(s)
l'incarnazionele incarnazionithe incarnation(s)

You can see what I wrote on nouns, both masculine and feminine, last time here. Take a look before carrying on. Here there are more things to take into account.

Again, there are feminine nouns that begin with a vowel: opera, ora and incarnazione. As with the masculine nouns, the normal article "la" becomes an "l" with apostrophe. The plural, however, remains "le" in all cases.

With many words, there is a masculine and a feminine version. This can be quite simple, as in the case of "servant" – il servo (male) and la serva (female) – or slightly more complicated. I added peccatrice, which isn't in the Angelus, by way of illustration. You may remember that I listed il peccatore as "sinner" among the masculine nouns.

prega per noi peccatori
pray for us sinners

Here, as I was saying above, the masculine form is used to cover both sexes, but if, in a fit of philogyny, I were to pray for women only, it would have been peccatrici.

The -trix suffix isn't widely used in English, but it reflects the pair of -tore and -trice in Italian:

executor - executrix
genitor - genitrix
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