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I have heard some Italian speakers use a definite article before a person’s first name, e.g., “la Giulia”. I have a few questions regarding this:

  1. Does this happen throughout Italy or only in specific regions? If so, which ones?
  2. Is it limited to female names?
  3. Is it only used when there is a high level of familiarity between the speaker and referent?

Questions #2 and #3 came about as I was going through this answer to a question on definite articles. There, it is mentioned that the definite article is usually used before female names in “popular language” with the exception of historical and mythological names.

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  • That answer is imperfect, at least in the examples: it should be “è venuta”, not *“é venuta”, the article “la” should be in lower case, and “Lucrezia” and “Saffo” are spelt like this, not like in that answer.
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 22:47
  • 1
    @DaG Thanks for pointing it out and approving my edit to improve it.
    – hb20007
    Commented Apr 22, 2023 at 7:54

1 Answer 1

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  1. It only happens in northern Italy and primarily in Lombardy, it comes from the local dialects
  2. It was used only for female names, but today even if less used, it is accepted for male names
  3. Requires familiarity.

See:

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