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I have been listening to some Italian songs lately and I have noticed a fact that I don't know if it's a rule or it's done only in the spoken language of the song to improve the flow of the song.

For example, in the song "Gli Anni" by 883, at some point it says:

Gli anni del "Tranquillo, siam qui noi"

Regarding what I know about Italian, shouldn't it be "Tranquillo siamo qui noi"?


Another example, in the song "Il bello d'esser brutti" by J-Ax, the title shouldn't be "Il bello d'essere brutti"?


Another example, and the last one, in the song "La canzone del sole" by Lucio Battisti, it says:

Ma quante braccia ti hanno stretto tu lo sai per diventar quel che sei

Shouldn't it be "per diventare quel che sei"?


I want to know if this is some kind of rule that I don't know and also applies for the written language, or if it's just a spoken trick to make it sound better. In any case, I would like you to explain me when we have to use this form or the another. Since I'm learning Italian and these kind of things confuse me a lot.

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    Related question: italian.stackexchange.com/questions/4083/… (duplicate?). – Charo Oct 25 '16 at 11:06
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    Your examples are all from songs. It's worth noting that truncating the last letter allows you to merge 2 sillables together, thus allowing you to fit in the beat words that wouldn't otherwise (di-ven-ta-re (4) => di-ven-tar (3) ). As per the linked answer, there is no rule, but it's far common practice in lyrics and poetry than in normal prose / spoken language, exactly for this reason. – Diego Martinoia Oct 25 '16 at 11:51
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It is an example of apocope or truncation (I linked the Italian wikipedia because it has a better explanation in the context of Italian language rather than general linguistic).

In brief, for euphonic reasons (that is, in order to make the sentence sound good) it is sometimes possible to remove the final vowel or the final syllable of a word. You can see the wikipedia page for a detailed treatment, but let me mention that it can happen only when the resulting word has a termination compatible with Italian phonology (that is, it has to end in vowel or -l, -r, -n, -m).

In the case under analysis here, the author has decided to use it in order to better fit the sentence into the meter of the song. Moreover siam qui occurs relatively often in spoken language, so it does not sound weird to a native speaker.

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    Apocope of final "e" is common in Italian infinitives in set phrases such as "aver fame" ("to be hungry"). A similar phenomenon is seen in English poetry in words such as ope ("open"). Removal of the initial syllable, as in 'most ("almost"), is called "apheresis", and these are both examples of a wider concept known as clipping. – paolo Oct 25 '16 at 15:06
  • As some learners of the Italian language cannot read the wiki in Italian yet, IMHO it'd be nice to include some other relevant details in the answer: (1) that the following word cannot start with s+consonant, z, x, gn, ps and (2) whether the apocope is required or optional. – Alan Evangelista Nov 28 at 14:27
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example of apocope. In order to have the sentence in sync with the song rhythm some vowels are omitted. A similar thing in english: lyrics use "I am" or "I'm", "I have" or "I've". It depends on which one sounds best for the given rhythm

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