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I am having a real trouble remembering vocabulary where a noun or adjective is related to a verb (or vice versa).

Example 1

Verb tagliare = to cut.

Conjugation taglio = I cut.

Conjugation taglia = he/she/it cuts; you (formal) cut.

Noun taglio = cut.

Noun taglia = size.

Here one noun is the same as the conjugated verb of first person singular. The other noun (totally different meaning but still vaguely related to the verb) takes the form of conjugated verb of third person singular.

Example 2

Verb scaricare = to unload, etc.

Conjugation scarico = I unload.

Conjugation scarica = he/she/it unloads; you (formal) unload.

Adjective scarico = unloaded.

Noun scarica = shot / discharge.

Here the adjective takes the form of first person singular, and the noun takes the form of third person singular.

Question

I am having a tough time remembering these differences, e.g. the difference of meanings of scarico from scarica. One letter different and totally different meanings. Same with taglio and taglia.

And there is no pattern either, as seen in the examples.

What’s going on here and how can I get this under control?

  • It may be even worse than this: there is often more than one noun from the same root, with similar or different meanings. Just to keep to one of your examples, scarica means indeed “shot/discharge”, but you also have scaricamento, meaning more or less “unloading”. So you have both affrancamento and affrancatura, both annullo and annullamento. And even when just one suffix won, it is often an effect of chance, and perhaps of a tendency to diversify: (1/2) – DaG Jun 12 '18 at 10:17
  • for instance ampliamento (from ampliare), abitazione (from abitare), abbozzo (from abbozzare), all of them from first-conjugation verbs. So, there is not any pattern or rule, and one has to learn them gradually. (Even we Italians happen to have doubts, say, between some forms in -mento or -zione!) (2/2) – DaG Jun 12 '18 at 10:20
  • I see now that my comment addresses perhaps a slightly different issue than your question, but I hope it is useful all the same. – DaG Jun 12 '18 at 10:22
  • Finally, scarica is the feminine form of the adjective scarico, as well as the noun you have found. – DaG Jun 12 '18 at 10:23
  • @DaG, yes your last comment is very valid. The feminine form of the adjective 'scarico' makes matters even worse. – user1936 Jun 12 '18 at 10:25
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You can't get this under control

I don't know if it is your case but very often people learning a foreign language for the first time are shocked by how illogical it is. It seems like the prepositions are used at random, words have seemingly incompatible meanings and everyone just tells you you have to memorize all this stuff. Of course they do not realize that the rules of their native tongue are just as illogical, if not more.

Story time: my mother is learning English. It is her first time really dedicating time to a foreign language and she is sometimes demoralized by the same problems you have. Why, for example, lead may mean both lead an army and a lead seal (yes, I know they're pronounced differently, but it doesn't help reading, doesn't it?). And why does can mean both potere and lattina?

So, what's the solution? Giving up? No. The answer is reading. Reading a lot. Human brains are amazing at pattern recognition and if you see a word enough in various contexts you will learn how to use it and what are the possible nuances of meanings.

I am afraid there are no simple rules. You'll have to see many, many examples. But don't be scared: you are not alone. We're all, more or less, going through this process.

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  • 1
    Indeed, “All aluminum can” means Tutto l'alluminio può. ;) – DaG Jun 12 '18 at 11:49

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