Italian Language/"a pois"

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Question
Dear Maria,

My question is about: "a pois".  

Can you please tell me if “a pois” (spotted, dotted) is classified in Italian as a “complemento indiretto” that is made up of the preposition “a” and the masculine noun “pois” (dot).

If "yes", can you also please tell me what type of complemento it is?

Can you also please tell me if I am correct to think that the Italian noun “pois” is an intrusion from French, where the French word “pois” also means “dot”.  

Are all Italian words of intrusion - no matter from which language they originated – invariable in Italian?  Is this why the Italian noun “pois” is invariable?  

I was also wondering how to say “polka dot” in Italian.  As an example, can you please tell me how to say “polka dot dress” in Italian.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,


the idiomatic expression  “a pois”  is classified in Italian as a “complemento indiretto” as it  is made up of the preposition “a” and the noun “pois” (dot/round spot).

It can be considered as  a “complemento di modo” for “a pois” indicates  how a cloth  appears, since “a pois”  denotes a large number of small, round spots that are printed in a regular pattern on cloth as in e.g. “Una gonna a pois”( a polka-dot skirt); “La sua gonna era blu a pois bianchi” (Her skirt was blue with white dots), etc.

Also, it is  correct to think that the term “ pois” is an intrusion from French, where the word “pois” (invariable in French as well as in Italian) means exactly “pea “ (pisello, in Italian) and then “dot” (pallino/puntino, in Italian).

See for example: “Indossava una camicetta a pois bianchi” which corresponds to “Indossava una camicetta a pallini bianchi” that however is not so common, since we have borrowed “a pois” from  French, just like today we have e.g. borrowed from English the word “mouse” (literally, “topo” in Italian) to indicate a small device that we move across a surface in order to move a cursor on our computer screen.


As for  Italian words of intrusion - no matter from which language they originated – invariable in Italian, I can quote e.g. :“computer”, “mouse”,  “touch screen”,  “weekend”, “leader”, “partner” , yacht   from English;  “ garage”, “pois”, “bidet”, “abat-jour “, “croissant”, “dossier “, prêt-à-porter  from French; “polka” as  a fast, active dance from the Czech; “valzer” from German.

Lastly, with regard to  the English term “polka dot”, denoting "a large number of small, round spots that are printed in a regular pattern on cloth", it corresponds to “a pallini “/”a pois “ in Italian, so that “polka dot dress” would be  in Italian “un abito a pois” /”un vestito a pois” as in “Un abito blu a pallini/a pois ” (a blue polka dot dress), “Un vestito rosa a pois bianchi” (a pink dress with white polka dots).

Kindest regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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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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