When to Use the Elision in Italian

Learn how to use the elision in Italian

Learn how to use the elision in Italian
Learn how to use the elision in Italian. vgajic

In Italian linguistics, elision is the omission of a unaccented final vowel before a word beginning with a vowel or the (since the letter “h” is silent).

Normally, in spoken Italian, many elisions take place unconsciously, but only a portion of them are accepted forms in written Italian where they are marked with an apostrophe.

A phenomenon similar to elision is called vocalic apocopation. It differs from elision, though, since an apostrophe is never used.

The Spoken Elision and the Written Elision

In theory, elisions are possible whenever two vowels are adjacent at the beginning or end of adjoining words—especially when those vowels are the same.

In practice though, elisions have become less frequent in contemporary Italian, which is ironic since the so-called d eufonica has become increasingly common.

Certain elisions seem automatic, like how “l'amico - (male) friend” and “l'amica - (female) friend” sound much better than “lo amico” and “la amica.” However, others may appear superfluous, like “una idea » un'idea.”

And certain joined elisions result in awkward spellings with more apostrophes than necessary, like “d'un'altra casa - of another home.”

Here are the primary words that can be elided in Italian:

Lo, la (as articles or pronouns), una and compounds, questo, questa, quello, quella

  • L'albero - Tree

  • L’uomo - Man

  • L'ho vista - I saw her / it

  • Un'antica via - an old street

  • Nient’altro - Nothing else

  • Nessun'altra- Nothing else

  • Quest'orso - This bear

  • Quest'alunna - This student

The preposition “di” and other grammatical morphemes ending in -i, like the pronouns mi, ti, si, vi

  • D'andare - About going

  • D'Italia - Of Italy

  • Dell’altro - Other

  • D’accordo - Of agreement (e.g Sono d’accordo - I agree)

  • D’oro - Of gold

  • M'ha parlato - He talked to me

  • M'ascolti? - Are you listening to me?

  • T'alzi presto? - Did you get up early?

  • S'avviò - He proceeded

  • S'udirono - (They) were heard

  • V'illudono - They are deceiving you

The preposition da is usually not elided, except in a few fixed phrases

  • D'altronde - Moreover

  • D’altra parte - Somewhere else

  • D'ora in poi - From now on

For ci and gli (and also as an article), there must be continuity with the usual spelling of the sounds: ci, ce, cia, cio, ciu; gli, glie, glia, glio, gliu.

That is to say, ci is elided before e- or i-, while gli elides only before another i-.

Accordingly

  • c'indicò la strada - he / she showed us the road

  • C'è - there is

  • c’era(no) - there was / there are

  • C'eravamo - There was

  • gl'Italiani - Italians

  • Gl'impedirono

  • T’acchiappo - I catch you

Some exceptions are:

  • ci andò - he / she went there

  • ci obbligarono - they forced us

  • gli alberi - trees

  • gli ultimi - the last

The particle (particella) : se n'andò - he / she left.

Many other words such as santo, santa, senza, bello, bella, buono, buona, grande:

  • Sant'Angelo - Saint Angel

  • Sant'Anna - Saint Anna

  • Senz'altro - Certainly, definitely

  • Bell'affare - Good business

  • Bell'amica - Good friend

  • Buon’anima - Good soul

  • Grand'uomo - Great man

    Others:

    • Mezz’ora - Half hour

    • A quattr’occhi - Face to face

    • Ardo d’amore - I’m burning with love for you