Monday, March 4, 2024

Nouns derived from IRE and ERE verbs

two cuddly creatures walking side by side, one wears the nametag written as scoprire and the other wears the nametag written scoperta, behind them is an Italian flag
Scoprire and scoperta walking side-by-side.

In the post One Hundred (and More) Common Italian Nouns Derived from Verbs : Confusion Over Masculine and Feminine, we covered ARE verbs and concluded that approximately 80% of the time nouns derived from these verbs were masculine. Examples: il cancello => cancellare, il raggio => raggiare. 20% were feminine. Examples: la ricerca => ricercare, la sfida => sfidare. This is just a rule of thumb we came up with! We are not language experts.

Well, the idea of masculine / feminine came back around the other day when I went to send a message in Italian and hesitated with scoperta or scoperto. (It’s scoperata and the associated verb is scoprire.) I went to the blog post above and realized we didn’t say much about IRE or ERE verbs. This post delves into those verbs.

Side note: It was pointed out to me that these Italian language posts are my way of building an inference engine that I can run in my head to apply rules to understand the language and make choices real time. Compare that to our Italian 4-year-old friend: he is using a large language model, learning the language by patterns and sounds. I think he’ll come out ahead in the end.
In that ARE post, we wrote “Verbs ending in -ERE and -IRE and their related nouns derive from the past participle usually. For example, la discesa from discendere and la promessa from promettere.” However, as the lists below show, it’s not so easy and maybe not as common as we thought. The Italian language (or any language for that matter) will let us off that easily with its exceptions. The main take-aways:

  1. Yes, some nouns derived from -ERE and -IRE verbs are feminine (ending in A), but there seems to be just as many exceptions: nouns that are derived from past participle but are masculine, or nouns not derived from past participle. Many –ERE and –IRE verbs have no (obvious) derived noun.
  2. If you are really stuck, throw an IMENTO or URA suffix on the end of the verb root and hope for the best.


Nouns derived from or at least related to the past participle and that are feminine (or can be)

battere => la battuta
correre => la corsa (il corso means something different)
difendere => la difesa
discendere => la discesa
disdire => la disdetta
dormire => la dormita
fallire => il/la fallito/a
favorire => il/la favorito/a
ferire => la ferita (“the wound, il/la ferito/a for “the wounded”)
maldire => il/la maledetto/a
muovere => la mossa
offrire => l'offerta
prendere => la presa
pretendere => la pretesa
promettee => la promessa
pungere => la punta
richiedere => la richiesta
ripetere => la ripetuta
risalire => la risalita
rispondere => la risposta
rivolgere => la rivolta
salire => la salita
scegliere => la scelta
scomparire => la scomparsa
scoprire => la scoperta
spendere => la spesa
spingere => la spinta
spremere => la spremuta
stringere => la stretta (il stretto means “strait” or “channel”)
tingere => la tinta
uccidere => il/la ucciso/a

* Nouns derived from past particle that are masculine
† Nouns not derived from past participle

accedere => accesso* (not acceduto)
applaudire => applauso* (not applaudito)
aprire => aperatura† (not l’aperta)
bollire => bollito*
chiudere => chiusura† (chiusa means “sluice”)
colpire => colpo*
contribuire => contributo* (not contribuito, with an I)
dibattere => dibattito† (not dibattuto/a)
divertire => divertimento
finire => fine, termine, arrivo, etc. † (but also il finito)
friggere => fritto* (masculine, not fritta)
fugire => fuggitivo/a† (not fuggito/a)
intuire => intuito*
mentire => bugia, menzogna† (not mentito)
riaprire => riaperatura† (not riaperta)
ridere => riso* (masculine, not risa but risata)
risvegliere => risveglio (not risvegliato)
seguire => seguito* (masculine, not seguita)
seppellire => seppellimento† (not seppellito/a)
soridere => sorriso* (masculine, not sorrisa)
sostituire => il/la sostituto/a (not sostituito/a with I)
starnutare => starnuto† (not starnutito)
succedere => successo*
suggerire => suggerimento† (not suggerito/a)
temere => paura, terrore† (not temo/a)
tossire => tosse† (not tossito/a)
tradire => tradimento† (not tradito/a)
trasferire => trasferimento† (not trasferito/a)
vestire => vestito*
vivere => vivo*

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