Tom
Professional Teacher
Passato prossimo o Passato I have heard/read/learned that the absolute past is more common for activities begining and ending in the past in the northern parts of Italy instead of the passato prossimo. Is this true? If so, what do people in the north use passato prossimo for? Would it apply similarly to english's present perfect tense meaning something done past but more focused on outcome? (IE I have run vs I ran yesterday) Is the absolute past completley literary in the south? I am mainly wondering how much time I should learn using it in speech if my goals are to make friends throughout all of Italy North and South.
Jul 31, 2014 4:09 AM
Answers · 3
Nothing to add on what so well expressed by "drrdn", I can only suggest you this good article if you want perceive the shade of difference between "passato prossimo" e "passato remoto": http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/it/lingua-italiana/consulenza-linguistica/domande-risposte/sulluso-passato-remoto
July 31, 2014
I suppose that by "absolute past" you mean "passato remoto". People living in northern Italy always use "passato prossimo", whereas people living in the southern regions use more frequently "passato remoto", when they talk about past events. It is true that "passato prossimo" is used to express a fact happened in the past, but that bears on the present, while "passato remoto" is meant to express an action that was accomplished in the past regardless of its unfolding or relations to the present. But this distinction is actually ignored in the speech: the usage of one form of past over the other is more a matter of habit, even though "passato prossimo" is the most frequent way to express past events. Again, do not make the mistake to equate "passato prossimo" with "present perfect" and "passato remoto" with "simple past". This distinction, though, is taken into account in the written language, in which "passato remoto" is much more frequently used. If I were you, I would concentrate my efforts on "passato prossimo" in order to be able to speak. Also, keep in mind that others form of past tenses are usually employed both in the spoken language and in the literary language, such as: "imperfetto", "trapassato prossimo", and the progressive form "stare + gerundio".
July 31, 2014
Hi Tom! I live in the North of Italy.. and yes: we use "passato prossimo" so much. We use it for everything, both in formal speeches than in informal.
July 31, 2014
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Tom
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