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Question about the literal meaning of C'è

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Moderator der Fragenfinder
<a href="/en/translator/questionfinder" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1220274">Questionfinder</a>
Joined: 16.09.2014
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I understand that "c'è" and "ci sono" mean, respectively in english, "there is" and "there are"

However, what is the literal meaning? For example, in german, you would say "es gibt" which literally means "it gives", but it has the same meaning as c'e' and ci sono in many contexts.

So what is the literal meaning, since it seems like "ci" can alternatively mean "it" ,"this" , "that", "here" and "there"?

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<a href="/en/translator/michaelna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1257575">MichaelNa</a>
Joined: 29.08.2015

This should give you some clarifications: https://www.italymadeeasy.com/ask007/

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<a href="/en/translator/sandring" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1263066">sandring</a>
Joined: 18.10.2015

What a find, Michael, thank you. That's the best explanation I've ever come across - clear-cut, comprehensive, concise. Regular smile

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<a href="/en/translator/magicmulder" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1264038">magicmulder</a>
Joined: 26.10.2015
Questionfinder a écrit :

For example, in german, you would say "es gibt" which literally means "it gives", but it has the same meaning as c'e' and ci sono in many contexts.

Or French "il y a" = "he/it there has". Wink smile

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Joined: 16.09.2014

It is a helpful page for learning of all the possible uses of the word "ci" but my question is much simpler than all that.

I'm asking more if there is a literal experience of the phrase "c'e'" and "ci sono".

for example, "there are balloons" can have a literal meaning "There are (in existence, the world, the universe, the country, etc) balloons.

Likewise in German "It gives balloons" can have a literal meaning if you substitute "It" with Existence, or perhaps God.

Or as magicmulder pointed out with French "It there has balloons" again, you can substitute "it" with a noun that has a literal meaning.

I'm wondering if the same thing happens in Italian. This may be more a philosophical question than a language question.

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<a href="/en/translator/michaelna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1257575">MichaelNa</a>
Joined: 29.08.2015

Your question is still vague. You mentioned the example with "il y a". As far as I remember "il y a" translates simply to “there is”, there really is no “it” involved and therefore you can’t really substitute “il” and say something like “Pierre y a”.
The same thing is true with the Italian “ci”, the meaning depends on how it is used and it cannot be substituted with something else other that what is intended in a particular use. Perhaps you can rephrase your question and offer an example for what you are after.

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<a href="/en/translator/ahmed-kemal" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1409647">ahmed kemal</a>
Joined: 19.01.2019

I would say that the Italian structure is rather similar to English 'there is' and 'there are'. I mean 'ci' here is simply 'lì / là' or 'in quel luogo' (there, in that place, at that place).
There is also the verb 'esistere' as you would know and as I've searched for its synonyms, I've found the following verbs (all of them are, naturally, intransitive):

essere, esserci, sussistere
durare, trovarsi, nascere
stare, abitare, essere vivo, vivere

I don't know if this is in any way an answer to your question, but 'ci saranno senz'altro altri contributi'.

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<a href="/en/translator/sandring" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1263066">sandring</a>
Joined: 18.10.2015

I think Questionfinder wants to know which of the multiple meanings of Ci is used in this expression C'è.... And I think I know the answer. It's an adverb - (where?) there. Like in English it's used in sentences with an inverted word order to put the new information at the end of the sentence. Look. Once upon a time a king lived there (somewhere) - Once upon a time there lived a king. C'era una volta un re.... In English we can repeat "there" at the end of the phrase again. There is a tree (over) there. In Italian they use another option for the same thing. C'è un albero lì. Among the scholars, there are two approaches: Some hold that's an inverted word order, the others claim it's an adverb used as the so-called formal subject or "subject filler" with no certain meaning. Let them share their royalties but one thing is clear - initially the meaning of There (is..) and Ci (C'e) is the same - there - an adverb as a part of speech and a place modifier as part of the sentence. Regular smile

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I'm not so much asking for a correct translation as much as the semantic experience. I am completely unfamiliar with French so i may have misspoke.

Its funny, i was reading a comic the other day on the oatmeal.com where the "there" in "there is" was described as being a sort of pronoun referring to an abstract object. Which doesnt make any sense to me:

https://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

To me, the meaning is locative, refering to the universe.

The meaning of "ci" certainly depends on its usage, but you have to admit, i am specifying the usage. What is the meaning of "ci" in c'e' and ci sono.

If you're saying that the literal meaning in this case is locatice, exactly how it is is in english, then that answers my question.

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<a href="/en/translator/michaelna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1257575">MichaelNa</a>
Joined: 29.08.2015

Ci è (c'è) => there is. Ci sono => there are. No universal mystery. Regular smile

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<a href="/en/translator/annabellanna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1240490">annabellanna</a>
Joined: 27.03.2015

I have to stress that in the page linked by Michael Na,

https://www.italymadeeasy.com/ask007/

that is very clear and complete, there is anyway something wrong.
He writes:

"There is another way of saying “TO THEM” and it’s with the pronoun “LORO”, which must be placed AFTER THE VERB.

(1) GLI HO DATO UN REGALO (I gave them a present)
or
(2) HO DATO LORO UN REGALO"

Actually, only the second sentence is correct, even if in the popular speech you can hear "gli ho dato" with the meaning"I gave them". The correct form "ho dato loro" sounds a little too "literary" to be used when you speak to a friend, but according the rules of Italian grammar it's an unbearable mistake.

This is an exemple of the hiatus existing between spoken and literary/ formal language.

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