You are here:

Italian Language/Italian plural names in English

Advertisement


Question
Hello Maria,
Since the family name "Medici" is plural, when referring to family members in English, should it remain Medici or become Medicis? I have seen both forms. I am working on an English language manuscript in which the author also refers to the Chiavelli but now would like to call them the Chiavellis. What is the proper form to use in an English language text? Thanks for your help!

Answer
Hello,

though the family name "Medici" is plural, when referring to family members in English, it must remain Medici, as in “The Medici” or “The House of Medici”/”The Medici family”,  because  the form “Medicis” is wrong.

In Italian the full name of this family  is “de' Medici “ as in e.g. “Cosimo de’ Medici” or “Lorenzo de’ Medici”, but, when talking about this Florentine family, whose  wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade and later from the founding of the Medici Bank, we  Italians usually say “I Medici” (i.e. “The Medici”), just like we say “I Chiavelli”  , i.e. “The Chiavelli” in English, not “The Chiavellis” which is wrong.

To conclude, the proper form to use in an English language text is “The Medici”, not “The Medicis”.

Note that the name “Medici” in Italian is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, not on the second vowel (Learn more below).

Best regards,

Maria
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Medici" pronunciation:

-MEDI is pronounced like MEDI in “medicine” with the stress on the E of MEDI.
-CI is pronounced like CHEE in “cheek” (without a stress)

Italian Language

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

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

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.