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Some words ending in cia/gia keep the letter "i" in the plural, while other similar words don't.

  • Arancia becomes arance
  • Camicia becomes camicie
  • Frangia becomes frange
  • Valigia becomes valige (rare) or valigie

Since "i" is not pronounced, what is the rule for keeping it in some words, but not in others?

  • No, valigia becomes valigie. – egreg Nov 12 '13 at 12:17
  • Valige is rare as plural, but it still is a valid word. – kiamlaluno Nov 12 '13 at 12:20
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    The plural in -ge is allowed by some (not all) dictionaries also for ciliegia and frogia (and probably all words in -gia and -cia); I presume they don't want to take a position. The most common orthographic convention, nowadays, is the one in DaG's answer. – egreg Nov 12 '13 at 12:25
  • once more, this question was asked in the initial phase (I'm not sure by whom); how can the original "askers" find their own questions so as to be able to submit them now? – Paola Nov 12 '13 at 23:20
  • If the plural of "camicia" is "camicie" but not "camice", I understand that they could become confused because they would look the same, but "camice" (the doctor's long shirt) has the stressed on "a" and not on "i". – user1869 Oct 23 '15 at 20:21
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A rule of the thumb is that if immediately before “-cia” or “-gia” there is a vowel, the plural is “-cie/-gie”; else it is “-ce/-ge”.

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  • Since I know there are 2 cases but not which is which, I use this little reminder: the plural of camicia is camicie, otherwise it would be the doctor's uniform "camice". Then, i+cia becomes cie, so if there is a vowel the plural is cie. I hope this doesn't confound more! – laika Sep 10 '14 at 13:25
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the rule-of-thumb exposed by DaG was proposed by Bruno Migliorini (a famous Italian linguist), and it is widely accepted: if you stick to that rule you won't make any mistake. But until the half of XX century there was no such rule, and one had to look at the etymology of the word: this is why "provincie" (from Latin provincia, -ae) and "ciliege" (from Latin cerasa, -ae) are still used. Just don't use them at school, if you are not prepared to explain why you choose that form!

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