Neapolitan articles


Neapolitan articles

Basically, the Neapolitan definite articles, corresponding to the English "the," are La (feminine singular), Lo (masculine singular) and Li (plural for both), but in reality these forms will probably only be found in older literature, of which there is much to be found.

General view

Modern Neapolitan uses, almost entirely, shortened forms of these articles which are:

Before a word beginning with a consonant:

Singular Plural
Masculine ’o ’e
Feminine ’a ’e
Neuter ’o -

Before a word beginning with a vowel:

l’ or ll’ for both masculine and feminine; for both singular and plural.

Although both forms can be found, the ll’ form is by far the most common.

It is well to note that in Neapolitan the gender of a noun is not easily determined by the article, so other means must be used. In the case of ’o which can be either masculine singular or neuter singular (there is no neuter plural in Neapolitan), when it is neuter gender the initial consonant of the noun is doubled. As an example, the name of a language in Neapolitan is always neuter gender, so if we see ’o nnapulitano we know it refers to the Neapolitan language, whereas ’o napulitano would refer to a Neapolitan man.

Likewise, since ’e can be either masculine plural or feminine plural, when it is feminine plural, the initial consonant of the noun is doubled. As an example, let's consider ’a lista which in Neapolitan is feminine singular for "list." In the plural it becomes ’e lliste.

There can also be problems with nouns whose singular form ends in e. Since plural nouns usually end in e whether masculine or feminine, the masculine plural is often formed by orthographically changing the spelling. As an example, let's consider the word guaglione (which means "boy", or "girl" in the feminine form):

Singular Plural
Masculine ’o guaglione ’e guagliune
Feminine ’a guagliona ’e gguaglione

More will be said about these orthographically changing nouns in the section on Neapolitan Nouns.

A couple of notes about consonant doubling:

1. Doubling is a function of the article (and certain other words), and these same words may be seen in other contexts without the consonant doubled. More will be said about this in the section on consonant doubling.

2. Doubling only occurs when the consonant is followed by a vowel. If it is followed by another consonant, such as in the word spagnuolo (Spanish), no doubling occurs.

The Indefinite Article

The Neapolitan indefinite articles, corresponding to the English "a" or "an," are presented in the following table:

Masculine Feminine
Before words beginning with a consonant nu na
Before words beginning with a vowel n’ n’

Bibliography

  • Carlo Iandolo :"’A lengua ’e Pulecenella"
  • Nicola De Blasi and Luigi Imperatore : "Il napoletano parlato e scritto"

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