Come posso contattare un dottore che parla giapponese?

English Translation

How can I contact a Japanese-speaking doctor?

I wonder if it shouldn’t be “che parli”, if we’re looking for a hypothetical doctor.


This is an interesting one. Perhaps it is *parla because we’re looking for a (specific) Japanese-speaking doctor, not a hypothetical doctor. I see what you mean though because of the “che”.

See you later on this… :slight_smile:


I would be OK with “il dottore che parla giapponese”.


I think both are/can be correct. Rather than try to restate it poorly, I will just quote from Modern Italian Grammar - A practical guide (2nd edition) Proudfoot & Cardo.

I think the second example (regarding Olivetti) is really interesting, how the use of the subjunctive subtly changes the meaning even though the English translation is identical.

“…often it is the subjunctive itself that provides a ‘subjective’ emphasis to what we say. The choice of indicative or subjunctive to convey the same facts, can shift the meaning of a sentence from the objective to the subjective, from the reality to the idea. Let’s see two examples:

(a) Ho bisogno dell’assistente che parla italiano.

I need the assistant who speaks Italian. (just that particular one who is known to speak Italian).

Ho bisogno di un assistente che parli italiano.

I need an assistant who can speak Italian. (someone who might be able to speak Italian)

The first of the two statements above refers to a known person, actually in existence (as shown also by the use of the definite article l’assistente) and the statement sounds like a definite request that I expect to be met. In the second, the person I need may or may not be available, and therefore my need is presented as a ‘subjective’ desire, an ideal, that cannot necessarily be met…

(b) Sembra che l’Olivetti sta per lanciare un nuovo computer. It seems that Olivetti is about to launch a new computer.

Sembra che l’Olivetti stia per lanciare un nuovo computer. It seems that Olivetti is about to launch a new computer.

In the first of the two sentences above, the news is presented as almost certain, while the second sentence, by using the subjunctive, implies a higher degree of doubt or uncertainty about the reliability of the news.”

1 Like

Wow, mille grazie David. This is so concise. (I’ll leave la Domanda on the IF though - it may spark conversation;-)


Definitely, I still want to hear what Piero thinks!