Neapolitan Primer

'E sustantive (Nouns) edit

Capitalization edit

Almost all nouns in Neapolitan are lower case. The exceptions to this are the names of people and places.

Noun gender edit

There are three genders of Neapolitan nouns: masculine, feminine and neuter. They take the following articles ("the"):

masculine singular 'o
feminine singular 'a
neuter singular 'o (neuter nouns characteristically have a doubled consonant to start)
masculine, feminine or neuter when first letter of noun is a vowel ll'
masculine plural 'e
feminine plural 'e (there is a doubling of the initial consonant as well)

(For more information about articles, see the Neapolitan/articles page.)

Generally, masculine and neuter nouns end in o and feminine nouns end in a

Also, nouns which begin with the letter a tend to be feminine.

Plurals edit

A given noun's gender is not as clearly evident in Neapolitan as it is in Italian. Most masculine nouns end in o, most feminine nouns end in a. Most but not all. Not all nouns change endings in the plural, vowels at the end of words are often indistinct in any case so may not be much help. Feminine nouns tend to double the first consonant when they are plural, but once again not always. The best way to determine the gender of a noun is by its article or by the endings on any modifiers it may have, for example: 'o cunto, masculine; 'a lavannara, feminine; 'e cunti masculine plural; 'e llavannare feminine plural.

The plural is occasionally formed by changing the body of the word itself. This primarily happens in words already ending in e to begin with, for example 'o guaglione masc. singular becomes 'e guagliune and 'o cazone masc. singular becomes 'e cazune.

The neuter case is apparent by its characteristic doubling of the initial consonant. It is reserved for:

  • abstract concepts- 'o mmale (evil), 'o nniro (the color black)
  • classes/genres of things- 'o ffolk (folk music)
  • elements and minerals- 'o ffiero (iron), 'o cchiummo (lead)
  • foodstuffs- 'o llatte (milk), 'o ccafè (coffee)
  • adjectival nouns- 'o mmericano (the American), 'o bbrutto (the ugly)
  • noun forms of past participles- 'o ccuótto (the cooked), 'o mmuórto (the deceased)
  • nouns derived from verbal infinitives- 'o vvevere (drink).