Mi dia il suo portafogli.

English Translation

Give me your wallet.

Why is it portafogli and not portafoglio?

1 Like

I could be misreading this, but Treccani seems to suggest both portafoglio and portafogli is accepted for the first definition of the word (i.e. wallet). I guess because it can carry more than one foglio (though again, I could be completely off there)?

2 Likes

Well I never, I’ve never seen portafogli used like this before.
(So hang on to your wallet;-)

1 Like

I wrote a screed on this topic in… that other place a few years ago because, as was often the case in over there before they killed the discussions section entirely, people kept posting questions that had already been answered because they didn’t bother to read existing comments. I therefore tried to provide a complete explanation. Not that it did any good, but over here at Clozemaster we DO have people who actually bother to read so for your reading pleasure I offer you my screed below:

As per the Accademia della Crusca ( Un portafogli, un portafoglio? Più portafogli, ma soprattutto tanti “fogli” con cui riempirli! - Consulenza Linguistica - Accademia della Crusca ), it is ONE container in which to store MANY papers (fogli). It is the FOGLI that cause the last letter to have a plural form, not the wallet itself. It is exactly the same form as portaombrelli (ONE singular umbrella stand which can hold MANY umbrellas (ombrelli, plural)), portacarte (ONE singular card holder which contains many (plural) carte)), portamonete (ONE singular purse which contains many plural coins (monete)), and so on and so forth. As the article explains:

“il plurale fogli del secondo elemento del composto risulta in perfetto accordo semantico con la funzione di oggetti di questo tipo, quella cioè di tenere raccolta una molteplicità di oggetti (nel caso specifico fogli, documenti o pezzi di carta moneta).”

or translated: " the plural ‘sheets’ of the second element of the compound is in perfect semantic agreement with the function of objects of this type, that is to keep a multiplicity of objects (in this specific case sheets, documents or pieces of paper money)."

Or put another way, the “i” ending is not referring to the wallet itself, but to the things that are CONTAINED WITHIN the wallet. As the examples that I gave above (which come from the Accademia’s article, but there are plenty of others) show, this isn’t an uncommon construction in Italian.

If you want to know whether there is more than one wallet, you look to the article; IL portafogli (singular), i portafogli (plural).

6 Likes

Mamma mia @LuciusVorenusX this is a very useful read. I was “not welcome” in the “other place” for using an incorrect gender (big crime! ) so would have missed your missive. This now explains everything tho’ I might have been tempted to put i suoi portafogli but now I know! Mille grazie!

2 Likes

Grazie mille a tutti.

2 Likes