9

One can write:

glielo porto, gliene riferisco, gliela scaldo, ...

but not:

lelo porto, mene incolse, tela scaldo, ...

Why gli is different in this respect? Where does this difference originate?

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    Note that gli can also be used for female and the third person plural, so there is no need for lelo as female of glielo. – Bakuriu Apr 2 '14 at 8:20
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    @Bakuriu: More precisely, gli is used in practise in the place of loro and le, but while the former is more or less tolerated, the latter is plain wrong. As for glielo, it can be used for the feminine too, but I'd avoid it for the plural form. – DaG Apr 2 '14 at 9:15
  • @DaG I have no idea why I wrote gli in that comment. I meant that glielo can be used for both singular male/female and plural. In fact the link from the Crusca in mau's answer states that both gli and le become glie when used with other atone pronouns. – Bakuriu Apr 3 '14 at 6:23
4

Note that the equivalent of "te lo do" should be "*gli lo do" :-) At the end of the XIX century the form "glie lo do" is attested, for example in Cuore by Edmondo de Amicis - see http://forum.accademiadellacrusca.it/phpBB2/viewtopic.php@p=11486.html

The Accademia della Crusca says that the other forms were possibly not created to avoid confusion with the Italian words "melo", "tela", "mene"... but no formal production rule is really known.

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3

The form glie exists only in combination with another pronoun, otherwise gli must be used. Writing glie lo is not frequent, but the form exists as testified by this NGram.

I believe that this usage only in combination contributed to the spelling in one word, whereas te lo dico is written divided. Note that these pronoun particles must be written attached to the preceding word when in enclitic position: dagliene, dimmelo.

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