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Q for Italian speakers: potrei vedere ...

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Q for Italian speakers: potrei vedere ...

Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:15 AM
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Q for Italian speakers: potrei vedere ...

Going to Venice again next year and am brushing up on my Italian lessons.

I saw on one website that "potrei vedere ..." means "can I see ..", such as potrei vedere il menu - can I see the menu. But isn't "can" actually "potere", so that "Can I see..." should be "posso vedere ..."???. Is "potrei" actually first person of potere?

Anyone knows of a website for Italian language learners to post such questions?

Thanks
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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well I'm only in the 3rd term of my Italian course and I'm a very bad student who never does any revision, but as far as I'm concerned 'potrei vedere' means 'I COULD see', whereas you're right that 'posso' means I CAN.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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yep, "posso vedere?" literally = "can i see?", and "potrei vedere?" literally = "could i see?". "Potrei vedere" just sounds more polite.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Potrei vedere is the polite/conditional form of the verb potere...I feel it translates to "May I see..."

Another example: Volere, to want...voglio, I want...polite/conditional form, vorrei,"I would like..."

Sorry, I don't know of a place on the net for grammar, hope this helps.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Thanks!!!

My Italian/English dictionary does not even have Potrei as an entry.

I wish there is a place where I can find the "polite" form of verbs for first-person use, such as Susanna pointed out: vorrei for voglio, potrei for posso
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Babelfish web site does translations from English to Italian. I used it to decipher old documents found in my family's storage.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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No dictionary -- in any language -- has separate entries for every person, tense, mood and voice of irregular verbs.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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In Italian restaurants (or at least the cheap ones that I go to), waiters say "posso?" when they want to know whether they can take away your empty plate. I'd imagine, therefore, that "posso" is acceptable.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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Joemango: to form the conditional form of any verb in the first person, drop the "ere" and add "ei"...of course there are some irregular verbs which this might not work, but I bet it works 98% of the time...plus the Italians are so nice that they will embrace what ever it is you are trying to say. Someone here will know of a web site.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Susanna:

so what is the polite form for "must/should - dovere" which is an irregualr verb.

I must go to church "devo andare a chiesa", in more polite form would be "Dovrei andare a chiesa"??

Thanks a lot for your help!
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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Yes, John,it's dovrei. It's the conditional form and is considered more polite in all of the romance languages.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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John, a bookstore with a good foreign language section should have a pocket guide of Italian verbs. Mine, purchased several years ago, is by Barrons, I think. Every page has a different verb, conjugated according to each tense. I find it a very helpful reference.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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John,

As previous posters have mentioned, adding the "ie" is the polite form whereas saying 'posso vedere' is the common informal. If you ever feel that you are in a situation where you need to be very formal you can add the 'ei' form to be on the safe side, but 'posso vedere' is very acceptable and I dont think you'd see anyone raising an eyebrow at you.

I wouldnt reccomend that you rely on online translation tools, I speak Italian fluently and have even tutored, and I know when people have used the online translation tools to complete the work. The translation tools takes english and translates it into italian (obviously) but when speaking Italian, you must think like an Italian. You cant translate verbatim from our language because it wont make sense the same way in Italian a lot of the time. An example would be if you want to tell someone that you will make time for them. You cannot say "Faccio tempo." You must say "Trovo tempo" (I will find time)If you addressed it the other way, which is probably how online translation tools would translate it for you, it wouldnt make sense. Online translation sites can help when you need to cut and paste something that you dont understand but a lot of times they distort the meaning and cna actually not give you the proper way to say things...if you need any help with anything concerning the language please feel free to utilize my e-mail link attached to my user name and I'd be glad to help you out. Just drop me an email and I will get back to you asap.

Lorena
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Nutella
I do have Italian books but most verb conjugations only tell you the "I,you,him/her, our,you pl, they"
etc. and telling you to use third person verb for second person if you want to be polite. I have not seen one telling you how to use first person Conditional form. I'll check out the Barron book you suggested.

Lorena:

Thanks so much! motto gentile! I will certainly send you some questions from time to time if you don't mind.

I know I may sound like a nerd, but I'd rather be overly polite than rude, especially when in another country when you are guests. I have taken Japanese for 4 years, and I will always say "ah-li-ma-sen" and never say "na-ee-des"
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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The "polite" use of the conditional really only applies in a few instances, which I think have been basically covered: "Could I ...?" instead of "Can I ...?" and "I would like ..." instead of "I want ...". "Devo andare a chiesa" isn't really any less polite than "Dovrei andare a chiesa," it just has a slightly stronger meaning - "I must go to church," as opposed to "I should go to church." The main use of the conditional is, of course, in conditions: "I would take a trip to Italy if I had the money."
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Johnmango, the name of the verb conjugation book you're looking for by Barrons is called "501 Italian Verbs". It's a great tool for quick, easy reference to all of the tenses. There is also good grammar info in the first 25 pages of the book.

I also have this book in Spanish (I've had that one since high school). You'll love it and refer to it often as you study the language. It's a white paperback book with big bold black type. I think they also make a "101 Italian Verbs"....but why get that?
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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John,

Of course you can e-mail! Whenever you want and as frequently. I wont be annoyed dont worry. Italian is my blood and my passion Any time you have a question, feel free.

Lorena
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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I also have 501 Italian Verbs by John Colaneri and Vincent Luciani, Second Edition (Barron's Educational Series, Inc.).

The verbs are fully-conjugated in all tenses, (seven simple tenses and seven compound tenses) and the formating of the pages makes it extremely easy to use.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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I always smile at the use of the conditional in English where to me it comes across as phoney courtesy.
Airline staff use it in their scripts all the time:

"We would like to welcome you on board flight #333."

Just go ahead and do it!!!
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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A lot of contact... with native speakers and others trained in foreign language instruction... remains something that one needs to get, as often as possible, to really grasp a language - - especially its use in conversation.

I still remember the very FIRST dialogue in my French 1 book, in the ninth grade, and how I would not "let it rest" until I understood "what does it really mean?"...

"Si on allait a la bibliotheque" - - asked one student to another...

and the book said that it translated to...

"How about we go to the library?"

I pressed and pressed and pressed the teacher - - how could this translate to that?

I finally accepted the answer, when I viewed it as "a weird way to say that", when it literally translated to...

"If one were going to the library... [and then implicitly... would you be okay with that?]

[or if one would go...)

but it vexed me for the rest of the year... why would they include a verb usage like this, in the very first dialogue of the very first chapter, and not cover the imperfect, not the conditional tense in first year French at all!?

I was an impetuous ninth grader then (and today, I am an impetuous 51 year old...)

but I understand the rationale better today... because that's how people talk - - and you might as well get used to the sound of spoken French. The grammar comes in due time.

So, Johnm... get used to how certain things sound - - and hopefully, you will stay interested in learning Italian enough, that understanding the grammar and subtleties behind why certain things are said the way they are... will come in due time.

Best wishes,

Rex
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