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Nareed
Nareed
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October 2nd, 2011 at 5:43:41 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

My French is almost as bad as my Spanish



Mine isn't that good.

Come to think of it, mine just isn't. :)

Quote:

-- one or two mispronounced sentences as opposed to one or two words. I always wondered why the song line "Voulez-vous ...." was in the plural (or formal) form. The context of the song doesn't seem to suggest a group-sex event, and the topic seems more appropriate for a "familiar" verb form: "Veux-tu ....", I think. Would native speakers say this expression the way it is in the song?



I had no idea, quite literally. My guess is whoever wrote the sing didn't know or care, and maybe the form used scanned better that way. On the other hand the song is about a whore, so she might be saying that to all men she sees passing by.
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Wizard
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Wizard 
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October 2nd, 2011 at 10:17:25 PM permalink
Fecha: 3 de Octobre, 2011
Palabra: puñado


It is my understanding that today's word, puñado means handful. However, I have my doubts. Usually Spanish is pretty logical, so it meant literally an amount capable of holding in your hand, you would think mano (hand) would be in there somewhere. Perhaps this is another incidence where the dictionary is not doing the word justice. Perhaps the etymology would clear things up. I'm sure Nareed and Paco can give us a puñado of help on this one.

Ejemplo time.

Puedes tomar un puñado de frijoles. = You may take a handful of beans.
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pacomartin
pacomartin
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October 3rd, 2011 at 2:28:51 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Usually Spanish is pretty logical, so it meant literally an amount capable of holding in your hand, you would think mano (hand) would be in there somewhere.



Well it is hidden in there. El puño es una mano cerrada.
Clint Eastwood en Por un Puñado de Dolares.


There actually is another word which is manojo.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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October 3rd, 2011 at 3:54:53 AM permalink
How is Google doing on these translations?

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

Spanish
¿Te acuestas conmigo esta noche?
¿Te acuestas conmigo?

Italian
Vuoi dormire con me stasera?
Vuoi dormire con me?

Latin
Vis mecum nocte somnus?
Vis mecum somnus?

Romanian
Vrei să dormi cu mine in seara asta?
Vrei să dormi cu mine?

They sure don't look like they are all from the same language. I had a priest who grew up in Italy tell me that it was very easy for him to learn Spanish when he moved to San Diego. I assume that Italian has the closest vocabulary to Latin, so it was easy to shift to Spanish conjugations. On the other hand, I don't think his parishioners were speaking a very high version of Spanish.
Wizard
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October 3rd, 2011 at 6:43:50 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Well it is hidden in there. El puño es una mano cerrada.



Gracías. No lo supe.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Nareed
Nareed
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October 3rd, 2011 at 6:46:11 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Fecha: 3 de Octobre, 2011
Palabra: puñado


It is my understanding that today's word, puñado means handful. However, I have my doubts. Usually Spanish is pretty logical,



Spanish? Logical? No more so than any other language. Which means not very logical at all. Languages change at whim, fad and fashion, mostly.

Quote:

so it meant literally an amount capable of holding in your hand, you would think mano (hand) would be in there somewhere.



There is a word like that, "manojo," which means a bunch of sticks or herbs tied together, of such a size that they can be held with one hand. It's a common unit of measure when you're buying herbs, or small, stalked vegetables like radishes or pearl onions. BTW in Mexico herbs are a big deal when it comes to cooking, and buying herbs at the market or grocery store is common.

Anyway, "puñado" is based on the word "puño," meaning "fist." Paco alludes to the Spaghetti Western "For a Fistful of Dollars," translated, amazingly well, as "Por un Puñado de Doalres." It really does mean handful, too.

Quote:

Puedes tomar un puñado de frijoles. = You may take a handful of beans.



That was perfect.
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Nareed
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October 3rd, 2011 at 7:19:56 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Gracías. No lo supe.



No lo sabía.

The distinction is subtle, but it matters. "No lo sabía" means "I didn't know that." "No lo supe" means literally the same thing, but actually it means you lacked the knowledge to answer a question in particular, or that you lacked certain knowledge until a certain point in time. For example:

"No supe la respuesta a la segunda pregunta del examen" = "I didn't know the answer to the test's second question."

"No lo supe hasta hoy." = "I dind't learn that until today," or "I didn't know that until today"

It's these kinds of small details that drive you crazy.
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Wizard
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October 3rd, 2011 at 7:32:38 AM permalink
Thanks. Actually, since Paco introduced me to puño y puñado, I do know that today. So since I no longer lack the knowledge I would think supe is appropriate. Then again, maybe I'll forget them tomorrow, in which case perhaps sabía would be appropriate.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Nareed
Nareed
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October 3rd, 2011 at 9:08:26 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Thanks. Actually, since Paco introduced me to puño y puñado, I do know that today. So since I no longer lack the knowledge I would think supe is appropriate. Then again, maybe I'll forget them tomorrow, in which case perhaps sabía would be appropriate.



I grant you my explanation doesn't quite make sense, but it's hard to point out differences between words that have the same meaning.
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pacomartin
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October 3rd, 2011 at 12:50:00 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Quote: Wizard

Gracías. No lo supe.



No lo sabía.

The distinction is subtle, but it matters. "No lo sabía" means "I didn't know that." "No lo supe" means literally the same thing, but actually it means you lacked the knowledge to answer a question in particular, or that you lacked certain knowledge until a certain point in time. For example:

"No supe la respuesta a la segunda pregunta del examen" = "I didn't know the answer to the test's second question."

"No lo supe hasta hoy." = "I dind't learn that until today," or "I didn't know that until today"

It's these kinds of small details that drive you crazy.



"No lo supe" is incorrect grammar without a qualifying phrase.

"Supe" is referred to as the imperfect past tense.
"No lo sabía" is called the preterite tense. It is also a past tense but refers to a completed action.

In English we have sort of the same idea, but the two tenses do not have different conjugations. The sense is made clear with "helping" words. It is also sometimes unclear in English if the action was ever completed, but in Spanish it is always explicit.

The preterite is usually translated into English by either a simple past tense, or often using the English word "did" to emphasize that the action is complete. Nareed used this translation. It is also very common to use a different English verb for different past tenses. Nareed used "know" for the preterite (completed) past tense, but "learn" for the imperfect past tense. The verb "learn" is the most accurate translation for the imperfect past.

Another way to translate the imperfect past is to use the English phrase "used to" which emphasizes that it is incomplete and needs some qualifying phrase. "I used to eat, until I looked in a mirror". See how the incomplete past is the first phrase, which is followed by a completed past action (looking in the mirror). Sometimes we use the past progressive "I was eating all the time, until I looked in the mirror".

I have heard it explained that the imperfect Past Tense "describes or set scenes". The "I didn't know that" is the scene description, the "until today" finishes off the scene. If you don't like this explanation, I did not make it up.

In this particular case we are expressing a negative as well as an imperfect past.

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