25 januar 2007

Here and there

In Italian there are three ways to say here and three to say there. The first two are qui/qua (here). Qui is a place within reach of the speaker: Where is the pen? If I hold it in my hand the answer is qui. It the place is an area close to me, I use qua: Where do you sleep? If I point to the house next to me, the answer is qua. If we are in the bedroom and I point to one of the beds, the answer is again qui.
There is simliar: li is there in the sence of a single spot while la is there in the sense of an area: Where shall I put the pen? If I point to the table the answer is li but if I point to my office the answer is la.
In addition, if you are from Tuscana and not born after the war (that is: The real thing - neither the Vietnam war nor the "Freedom War" in Iraq), you can use costì to refer to a spot near the other person and costà for an area: Where is the pen? Costì as I point to the table next to you, and costà as I point to the office just behind you. Note that if the office is nearer to me than to you, the correct thing is la and not costà (which indicates an area nearer to you than to me).

I'll leave the verbs for another day.

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