Italian Language/translations

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Question
Dear Maria,

Would you please tell me if the following translations are correct or not:

[1]  Sono appena stato in Francia.
I have just stayed in France.

[2]  In Italia si vive bene.
In Italy one lives well.

[3]  Vai in America?
Are you going to America?

[4]  Egli vive in Brasile.
He lives in Brazil.

[5]  Loro abitano in Canada da molti anni.
They will live in Canada for many years.

In regards to sentence [5] -   Loro abitano in Canada da molti anni.

Can you please tell me if I have correctly translated the preposition “da” to mean “for”   in the sense of  –  “a duration of time”.  Is the preposition “da” often used in this sense?

I am also wondering about the translation of the verb form “abitano” in this sentence.  I understand that “abitano” is in the present indicative, but I do not think that saying - “They live in Canada for many years” sounds correct in English.  I was therefore wondering if this sentence is an example of the Italian present indicative being used to refer to an event in the future.   Can you please help me to understand the use of “abitano” in this sentence.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

your translations are correct, apart from the sentence [5] “They will live in Canada for many years” that would mean “Loro abiteranno in Canada per molti anni”, not “Loro abitano in Canada da molti anni”.

In fact, “They will live” is a future, i.e. “abiteranno” in Italian, whereas “abitano” is a present indicative, i.e. literally, “They live” in English.

Also, in “Loro abiteranno in Canada per molti anni” (They will live in Canada for many years) we use the preposition “per”  before “molti anni” instead of the preposition “da” because the future “abiteranno” denotes  that  the action will be in progress at a specific time in the future, while in “Loro abitano in Canada da molti anni” we use the preposition “da ”  before “molti anni” because  the present “abitano” indicates that the action continues a long time /for long.

In short, it is correct to use  the preposition “da” to mean “for” in the sense of  “a duration of time” in “Loro abitano in Canada da molti anni” , i.e. “They live /have been living in Canada for many years”.

Also, it’s correct to use the preposition “per” to mean “for” in the sense of “a duration of time” in “Loro abiteranno in Canada per  molti anni” , i.e. “They will live  in Canada for many years”, since the English preposition “for” is used in either the sense of “da” or “in the sense of “per”.


Finally, with regard to “abitano”  which is in the present indicative, it is not being used to refer to an event in the future, but just to refer to an event in the present that in English could perhaps sound better as “They have been living in Canada for many years”, but English is not my field of expertise. So, please forgive me, if I’m wrong.

Best regards,
Maria
_________________________________________________________________

P.S. I am on vacation until 11/07/2012. Goodbye!

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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