Forum Rocket Italian Italian Grammar "Parli italiano?" vs - "Parla l'inglese?

"Parli italiano?" vs - "Parla l'inglese?

daytripper90

daytripper90

Buon giorno,

According to this old post by Maria,
 http://ロケット英語.jp/your-community/italian-grammar/italiano-vs-l-italiano, there isn't an article for names of languages when it follows "parlare."

If this is the case, why is "Parla l'inglese?" phrased the way it is? Also, "Non parlo l'italiano bene?"

Thanks in advance,

Mike
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Hi Mike,

"Parla l'inglese?" is not gramatically wrong as there's really no official rule for this, but it does sound odd to my ears. This is because, as Maria said, it's common not to use the article when using the verb parlare.

This however does not mean that the article is not used altogether. "Non parlo l'italiano bene" sounds totally fine to me, as does "Non parlo italiano bene", "Non parlo bene l'italiano" and other variants. Sometimes it's just a matter of sound and taste.

There are a few verbs, like parlare, that may help you choose the variant with or without article. These are:

- capire (to understand)
Capisco l'italiano V
Capisco italiano X (wrong)

- imparare (to learn)
Imparo l'italiano V
Imparo italiano X (weird)

- studiare (to study)
Studio l'italiano V
Studio italiano V (more common variant, although the first one is also much used)

- insegnare (to teach)
Insegno l'italiano V (uncommon)
Insegno italiano V

As you see there's really no general rule for this!

The article is then used when you're talking about the characteristics of a specific language, as in the example:
English spoken by Americans has a different pronunciation.
The article is always used in this case.
L'inglese parlato dagli americani ha una pronuncia diversa.

Hope I helped!
daytripper90

daytripper90

Thanks! I trust your judgement, so I'll memorize those when I get the chance. 

Mike

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