Italian Language/basso

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Question
QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Can you please tell me if there are any special rules for the placement of the adjective “basso”.  

My dictionary states that the adjective “basso” means “low” or “short”.  Does the meaning of the adjective  “basso” change depending on whether “basso” is placed before the noun or after the noun?  I was wondering if the adjective “basso” is like the adjective “alto” in this regard.

Thank you so much for all of your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

the adjective “basso” means “short” when it is used to describe  how short someone or something is, as in “E’ basso e magro” or “Era uno degli edifici più bassi  in quella strada”, while it means “low”  when it is used to  indicate that something is under the usual level as in “Il prezzo era davvero basso”, “Parlava a voce bassa”, “L’aereo volava basso”, L’acqua era bassa”.

In short, the adjective  “basso” does not  change meaning ( short/ low) depending on whether  it is placed before the noun or after the noun, but depending on its sense in a context.

See for example:”Aveva una voce bassa”, “Ha un basso livello di istruzione”, “Ha un livello di istruzione molto basso”,“La sua bassa statura lo angustia”, “La sua statura bassa lo angustiava” ,  “Le sue basse insinuazioni mi rattristarono”, “Il basso  livello del fiume era rassicurante”, etc.

So, as you can see, we can use “basso” either before the noun or after the noun, independently from the fact that it corresponds to “short” or “low”, while in English “low” and ”short” are used before the noun, just like the other adjectives .

Best regards,

Maria
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---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

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

     E’ basso e magro.
     He is short and thin.

     Era uno degli edifici più bassi  in quella strada.
     It was one of the shorter buildings on that street.

     Il prezzo era davvero basso.
     The price was really low.

     Parlava a voce bassa.
     He talked in a low voice.

     L’aereo volava basso.
     The airplane flew low.

     L’acqua era bassa.
     The water was low.

     Aveva una voce bassa.
     He had a low voice.

     Ha un basso livello di istruzione.
     He has a low level of training.

     Ha un livello di istruzione molto basso.
     He has a very low level of training.

     La sua bassa statura lo angustia.
     His low stature distresses him.

     La sua statura bassa lo angustiava.
     His low stature distressed   him.

     

Thank you   

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

your translations are correct, apart the word “training” instead of  “education” as "istruzione" denotes the process of learning in a school or college, or the knowledge that you get from this.

Therefore you should have said “He has a low level of education” and “He has a very low level of education”.

Best regards,

Maria


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you, once again, for your help with this question.  I very much appreciate your checking and correcting my translations.

I used the word “training” because I thought that the word “educazione” would have been used to mean “education”?  Due to my limited experience, “istruzione” sounded more like “instruction” or “training” rather than “education”.  

So, I now realize that I do not know the difference between “educazione” and “istruzione”.

Can you please explain the difference between “istruzione” (education)   and “educazione” (education).

I am trying very hard to understand the difference between “educazione” and “istruzione”. It would also help me very much if you would please tell me what the difference is between the following sentences:
“Ha un basso livello di educazione” and “Ha un basso livello di istruzione”


Thank you

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

first of all the difference  between the sentences: “Ha un basso livello di educazione” and “Ha un basso livello di istruzione” is that the Italian noun “educazione” means “manners/ good manners/polite behaviour”, as polite ways of treating other people and behaving in public, whereas “istruzione” means “education” as the process of learning in a school or college and  the knowledge that you get from this.

Therefore the sentence “Ha un basso livello di educazione”  translates as “He has a low level of manners/polite behaviour”,  while “Ha un basso livello di istruzione “ translates as “He has a low level of education”.

See also:
-“Si dovrebbe spendere di più nell’istruzione” (More money should be spent on education.)
-“L’istruzione è la cosa più importante” (Education is the most important thing)
-“E’ cattiva educazione mangiare con la bocca aperta “ (It's bad manners to eat with your mouth open)
-“In talune culture è considerata buona educazione lasciare un po’ di cibo nel piatto” (It's considered good manners in some societies to leave a little food on your plate)

So, as you can see, the sentences  “Ha un basso livello di educazione” and “Ha un basso livello di istruzione” are different, for the former refers to a polite behaviour, the latter to the knowledge that one gets from  studies while one is  at a college or university .

As for your translation “He has a low level of training”, it would correspond to “Ha un basso livello di addestramento” or “Ha un basso livello   di formazione professionale”, with reference to the skills you need to do a particular job or activity.
Also,“He has a low level of training” can mean “Ha un basso livello di allenamento”, where "allenamento" refers to  one who is in training for a competition and is exercising in a way that prepares him for it.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best,

Maria
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P.S.
In Italian we use the plural "istruzioni" in the sense of  advice and information about how to do or use something.
For example:
-"Non hai letto bene le istruzioni" (You didn't read the instructions properly).
-"Loro hanno bisogno di istruzioni chiare su ciò che devono fare" (They need clear instructions on what to do next)
-"Il video fornisce istruzioni su come usare il computer" (The video provides instruction on how to operate the computer)  

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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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