table of content chapter 1919.2 cardinal numbers

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chapter 19: numbers

  19.2 cardinal numbers part 2
 

Some annotations are to be made about the table above.

1) Uno has the same form as the indefinite article and is therefore treated the same way, has a masculine and a feminine form. As the indefinite article it changes its form depending on the following letter. (for details see indefinite article).

un ragazzo = a boy (that's the "normal" case, the noun beginns with a consonant)
  uno studente = a student (un becomes uno before ps, z, y, gn, ps, x)
  un' amica (in front of a vowel una = un'.
This rule applies only for feminine nouns, only feminine nouns are elided.)
  una ragazza = a girl ("normal" case for feminine nouns)

b) If a one which starts with a vowel follows a ten which ends on a vowel you have two following vowel:
trent
aotto. In the case of the ones and tens the vowel of the ten is omitted and trentaotto becomes trentotto. This rule applies for the ones which begins with a vowel, in other words for uno and otto. So we get.

quarantauno => quarantuno
  quarantaotto => quarantotto
  cinquantauuno => quarantuno
  cinquantotto => cinquantotto

The rule that in the case of two following vowels the first is to be omitted is compulsory in the case of the tens and ones.

c) If a thousand or a hundred which ends with a vowel is followed by a hundred, ten or one which begins with a vowel the vowel of the thousend / hundred CAN be omitted but that is not compulsory. There are two possibilities.

101 centouno oder centuno
  108 centootto oder centotto
  308 trecentootto oder trecentotto

This different treatment is a controversial issue in Italy as well. Below a statement of the Dizionario Gabrielli, one of the best known Italian dictionaries.

Centuno o cento uno?
  Quando si debbano scrivere in tutte lettere numeri come 101, 108, 301, 901, 908, come ci si deve regolare? Scriveremo centuno o centouno, centotto o centootto, e cosí via? Chi maneggia assegni bancari si troverà spesso davanti a questo problema. Il numero cento, nella formazione dei numeri composti con uno e con otto, i due soli numeri comincianti con vocale, dovrebbe comportarsi esattamente come si comportano tutti gli altri numeri, come venti, trenta, quaranta ecc.: elidendo cioè la vocale finale e fondendola con la vocale che segue; cosí, come abbiamo ventuno, ventotto, trentuno, trentotto, quarantuno, quarantotto, dovremmo avere centuno, centotto, trecentuno, trecentotto, novecentuno, novecentotto. Questo vorrebbe la logica. Invece nell'uso si dice e si scrive centouno, centootto, trecentouno, trecentootto ecc.. Si dice e si scrive centottanta e non "centoottanta", duecentottanta e non "duocentoottanta", ecc. Centottanta sì ma centotto no. Si tratta evidentemente di illogicità, di incongruenze che si spiegano con l'uso. Si capisce però che basterebbe cominciare a dire e a scrivere centuno, centotto, duecentuno e duecentotto, perché presto o tardi la logica finirebbe col trionfare. Per mille il discorso è diverso; il suo uso è coerente in ogni composto: sempre staccato: milleuno, milledue, milletré, milleotto, milleundici... Mai "milluno", "millundici" o "millotto".
http://www.pianetascuola.it/anni_precedenti/archivio/archivio_2003/gabrielli/flash/index6.html
  Centuno o cento uno
  When we have to write all letters in numbers like 101, 108, 301, 901, 908, which rules to apply? Do we write centouno or centuno, centotto or centootto. Everyone who has to do with checks is often confronted with that problem. The number hundred has to be treated the same way as all the other numbers like venti, trenta, quaranta etc. if it is part of a compound number. The final vowel must be elided and combined with the following vowel. The same way we have ventuno, ventotto, trentuno, trentotto, quarantuno, quarantotto we should have as well centuno, centotto, trecentuno, trecentotto, novecentuno, novencentotto. This it what demands logic. But people say and write centouno, centootto, trecentouno, trecentootto etc.. People say and write centottanta but not centoottanta, duecentottanta and not duecentoottanta etc.. Centottanta yes but not centotto. Obviously this is illogical, incongruity due to the use. But it is easy to see that it would be enough to say and write centuno, centotto, duecentuno and duecentotto and soon logic would triumph. Concerning thousand the situation is different. This use is coherent in every compound number: milleuno, milledue, milletré, milleotto, milleundici... Never milluno, millundici or millotto.  

Summary (the problem arises only with the ones uno / otto together with the ten ottanta)
  rule 1: If a ten that ends with a vowel is followed by a one which beginns with a vowel the vowel of the ten is omitted: ventotto and not venteotto.
  rule 2: If a hundred which ends with a vowel is followed with a one which begins with a vowel the first vowel can be omitted, but it is not compulsory: centouno is possible as well as centuno.
  rule 3: If a hundred which ends with a vowel is followed by a ten which begins with a vowel (this only happens in the case of ottanta) the first vowel is omitted: Centottanta and not centoottanta.
  rule 4: The e between a thousend and a hundred / ten / one is never omitted: milleottanta and and not millottanta.

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