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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Double Object Verbs in Italian

Date Submitted: 16-May-2012
From: Philip A. Bralich
Subject: Double Object Verbs in Italian
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Notice: I have been trying to understand this Italian phrase for a while now, and I guess the main problem I am having is the subtle complexity of double object verbs in Italian.

Here is the phrase:

"Prestare il proprio il fianco alle critiche."

The problem I find is that nothing indicates the direct object or the indirect object except the word order which still remains confusing to me and I guess is variable. I speak a bit of French and Japanese and German and as a Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics have looked at a lot of languages, am aware that double object verbs in Italian are difficult, but have no relevant training or study to weed through this. Any ideas? Particularly ideas on how to sort out an Italian double object verb sentence.

The translations I have gotten so far are: It. for "to leave yourself wide open" or "to let the devil hit you on your weak side" or "offer your flank to the devil." Or my interpretation, "be open to criticism and let the chips fall where they may."

Philip A. Bralich, Ph.D.

Il fianco...