Italian Language and Culture
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Lesson 1: Getting Started

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The indefinite article

In Italian, each noun has its own gender, which can be either masculine or feminine. Therefore, you unfortunately will have to study the gender of each noun along with the noun itself.
In English, the indefinite article is always 'a' (or 'an' if the noun starts with a vowel). The indefinite articles in Italian are 'un' for masculine words and 'una' for feminine words. Here are some examples for Italian nouns that are masculine:
'un libro', 'un quaderno' and 'un tavolo'.

Examples for feminine words are:
'una penna', 'una sedia' (a chair) and 'una scatola' (a box).

You should always memorize the gender of a noun (masculine or feminine) along with this noun. Thereby, the following rules might help you a little bit:
1) Most words that end in 'o' are masculine.
2) And almost all words ending in 'a' are feminine.
3) For words ending in 'e', its not that simple: They can be either feminine or masculine:
una lezione (a lesson)ends in '
' and is feminine
una chiave (a key)also feminine
un professore (a professor)ends in '
' but is masculine
  studente (a student)
also masculine

You probably noticed that the word 'studente' together with its indefinite article is not 'un studente', but 'uno studente'. The rule for this phenomenon is as follows:

When a masculine noun starts with 's' or 'z', the indefinite article 'un' changes to 'uno':
uno studentea student
uno studioa study
uno zioan uncle

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