are complex systems that convey large amounts of
information that do not appear on the surface.
The difference, on the surface, is between two tenses of the past. But my informants tell me that the first sentence implies that it is still possible to see the film, that it is still playing in town. The second implies that the film is no longer availabe. These tenses contain linguistic information that convey different meanings.
you ever thought about it when you asked or were asked
this very question?
1) PASSATO PROSSIMO
an action BEGAN, TOOK PLACE and ENDED.
This is also knows as "COMPLETED ACTION IN THE PAST."
That is an "event". Speakers of Italian, when they either speak or listen, hear those underlying messages.
We can represent an action with the following diagram:
We can also describe a series of actions:
The IMPERFETTO, on the other hand, does not explicitly say that an action either started or ended. It focuses only on the unfolding, on the "ON-GOING" aspect of the action rather than the event:
Usually, whenever information about length of time is present, the tense of choice is Passato Prossimo.
|Mentre io (PARLARE) al telefono tu (FINIRE) i compiti|
|Io (ANDARE) a Roma per la prima volta quando io (AVERE) 10 anni|
|Giorgio (ESSERE) al parco quando (INCONTRARE) Maria.|
|Giovanni (TELEFONARE) mentre io (STUDIARE)|
|Noi (VEDERE) i nostri amici mentre (PASSEGGIARE) per la citta'.|
|Mentre (GUARDARE) la TV tu (ASCOLTARE) musica.|
|(ANDARE) in bicicletta quando (COMINCIARE) a piovere.|
|"Dove (ESSERE) quando il ladro (RUBARE) la tua bicicletta?"|
|Quanti anni (AVERE) quando (COMINCIARE) il liceo?|