Monthly Archives: March 2022

Instrucciones para llorar (Reading and Listening Practice + Vocabulary)

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

To help you keep practicing your Spanish reading and listening skills, this week I introduce Instrucciones para llorar (Instructions on How to Cry) written by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar.

Instrucciones para llorar 

Dejando de lado los motivos, atengámonos a la manera correcta de llorar, entendiendo por esto un llanto que no ingrese en el escándalo, ni que insulte a la sonrisa con su paralela y torpe semejanza.

El llanto medio u ordinario consiste en una contracción general del rostro y un sonido espasmódico acompañado de lágrimas y mocos, estos últimos al final, pues el llanto se acaba en el momento en que uno se suena enérgicamente.

Para llorar, dirija la imaginación hacia usted mismo, y si esto le resulta imposible por haber contraído el hábito de creer en el mundo exterior, piense en un pato cubierto de hormigas o en esos golfos del estrecho de Magallanes en los que no entra nadie, nunca.

Llegado el llanto, se tapará con decoro el rostro usando ambas manos con la palma hacia adentro. Los niños llorarán con la manga del saco contra la cara, y de preferencia en un rincón del cuarto.

Duración media del llanto, tres minutos.

 

English translation

Putting the reasons for crying aside for the moment, we might concentrate on the correct way to cry, which, be it understood, means a weeping that doesn’t turn into a big commotion nor proves an affront to the smile with its parallel and dull similarity.

The average, everyday weeping consists of a general contraction of the face and a spasmodic sound accompanied by tears and mucus, this last toward the end, since the cry ends at the point when one energetically blows one’s nose.

In order to cry, steer the imagination toward yourself, and if this proves impossible owing to having contacted the habit of believing in the external world, think of a duck covered with ants or of those gulfs in the Straits of Magellan into which no one sails ever.

Coming to the weeping itself, cover the face decorously, using both hands, palms inward. Children are to cry with the sleeve of the dress or shirt pressed against the face, preferably in a corner of the room.

Average duration of the cry, three minutes.

 

 

Vocabulary

Atengámonos: comes fron the verb “atenerse”, which means to conform or submit to a thing.

Contracción: The action of contracting, especially a muscle or organ.

Espasmódico: Related to spasm or is accompanied by this type of muscle contraction.

decoro: To behave in accordance with one’s social status.

Saco: A type of coat and, in general, a loose-fitting garment.

 

The post Instrucciones para llorar (Reading and Listening Practice + Vocabulary) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

English Spanish Parallel Texts – Reflexive Verbs (Part 2)

In this lesson of our English Spanish Parallel Texts course and we are going to practice more using Spanish Reflexive Verbs. Start by reading the text in Spanish below. The English translation is provided later but please try not to look at it until you have read the Spanish version various times and tried your best to understand it.

There may be some words and phrases in the text that you are unfamiliar with, but you should be aiming to capture the main essence of what is happening. There will always be words and phrases popping up in real-life situations that you have never heard before, so it is important never to get too distracted by details.

If you want to investigate some of the words you don’t know with a dictionary that would be great, please do, but do this after trying your best to understand with what you already have in your head.

Check out this video lesson with information relevant to this topic:

Reflexive Verbs

reflexive verbs (part 2)

Image by Luis Wilker WilkerNet from Pixabay

 

Spanish Text

 

Toby: Hola Alba. ¿Cómo estás?
Alba: Un poco cansada.
Toby: ¿Y eso?
Alba: Estuve despierta hasta las dos de la mañana viendo la televisión anoche.
Toby: ¡¿Te acostaste a las dos de la mañana?! ¡¿Y empezaste a trabajar a las ocho?!
Alba: En realidad me acosté más cerca de las tres de la mañana.
Toby: ¿Qué estabas viendo?
Alba: Operación Triunfo.
Toby: ¿Ese concurso de cantar?
Alba: ¡Sí, me encanta! Es lo que más me gusta de la televisión. ¡El problema son todos los anuncios que muestran a altas horas de la noche! Operación Triunfo duraría unas dos horas, pero con todos los anuncios, ¡dura en total más de tres horas! Es ridículo.
Toby: No deberían echar programas para niños hasta muy tarde. Me imagino que muchos niños también están muy cansados hoy en sus colegios.
Alba: Bueno, en realidad no es un programa para niños, pero me imagino que muchos jóvenes lo ven, sí.
Toby: ¿A qué hora te has levantado?
Alba: Me he levantado a las 7.30 esta mañana. Es una suerte que viva tan cerca. Aunque no he desayunado. Tengo mucha hambre.
Toby: Y llegaste tarde esta mañana.
Alba: No creo que nadie se haya dado cuenta, ¿tú?
Toby: Estoy bastante seguro de que el jefe lo hizo. Nunca se le escapa nada.
Alba: ¡Oh no!
Toby: Probablemente también deberías peinarte un poco.
Alba: ¿Qué le pasa a mi pelo?
Toby: Bueno, parece un poco descontrolado.
Alba: Ya. Pues tampoco tuve tiempo de lavarme los dientes.
Toby: Mmmhh vale.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

English Text

 

Toby: Hi Alba. How are you?
Alba: A little tired.
Toby: Why?
Alba: I was up until two in the morning watching TV last night.
Toby: You went to bed at two in the morning?! And you started work at eight?!
Alba: I actually went to bed closer to three in the morning.
Toby: What were you watching?
Alba: Operación Triunfo.
Toby: That singing contest?
Alba: Yes, I love it! It’s the thing I like most on television. The problem is all the commercials they show late at night! Operación Triunfo would last about two hours, but with all the commercials, it lasts over three hours in total! It’s ridiculous.
Toby: They shouldn’t show children’s programs until so late. I imagine that many children are also very tired today in their schools.
Alba: Well, it’s not really a children’s show, but I imagine a lot of young people watch it, yes.
Toby: What time did you get up?
Alba: I got up at 7.30 this morning. It’s lucky that I live so close. I haven’t had breakfast though. I am very hungry.
Toby: And you were late this morning.
Alba: I don’t think anyone has noticed, do you?
Toby: I’m pretty sure the boss did. Nothing ever escapes him.
Alba: Oh no!
Toby: You should probably tidy your hair a bit too.
Alba: What’s wrong with my hair?
Toby: Well, it looks a little messy.
Alba: Right. Well, I didn’t have time to brush my teeth, either.
Toby: Mmmhh okay.

 
 
 
 

So, how did you get on? How much did you understand of the original text before checking the translation? Please let me know in the comments section below…

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand that much, practice makes perfect! Be patient and keep reading, hearing, writing, and speaking Spanish. See you next time!

The post English Spanish Parallel Texts – Reflexive Verbs (Part 2) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

las relaciones interoracionales

In "Nueva gramática de la lengua española" ( § 1.2d), the paragraph ends:

"Existen asimismo en la lingüística contemporánea diversas formas de concebir las gramáticas del texto o del discurso. Estas gramáticas se centran en el estudio de las relaciones interoracionales, en especial de las que garantizan la coherencia y la cohesión de los mensajes y de sus segmentos constitutivos, así como las inferencias a las que dan lugar en función de las piezas léxicas y las estructuras sintácticas que se elijan."

Given that this is a discussion on the different types of grammars, I would like to know what the phrase "las relaciones interoracionales" means to the average reader. The word interoracional isn't in any dictionary I've found. Grammatically, an oración usually refers to a sentence, although it could possibly also mean a clause or a phrase(?).

My awkward translation of the above is:

"In contemporary linguistics, there are also different ways of approaching text or speech grammar. These grammars focus on the study of relationships between sentences, especially those that guarantee the coherence and cohesion of messages and their constituent segments, as well as the inferences to which they give rise depending on the lexical items and syntactic structures chosen."

Is between sentences an acceptable way to translate interoracional in the given context? Or are smaller syntactic units – clauses/phrases – more likely the concept referred to?

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Estoy confundo…..puedes ayudarme?

I have a real hard time with reflexive pronouns, they seam random to me. Let me tell you what I know, and then explain how to interpret a common phrase which completely confounded me:

I understand that sometimes they just mean a completely different verb, e.g., ir/irse o volver/volverse. I understand some verbs just need an object, "cemo o me cemo quemo o me quemo" prompts the question of I burned so me cemo quemo is necessary, o roberse tampoco. I understand sometimes this is just how it is "sentar/sentarse"; but I can usually reinterpret so that when I think in spanish, it comes out correctly. Sentar doesn't mean to sit, it means to place in a seated position.

Where I get confused is the use of "emphasis" or "completion", for example comerse, "me como una pizza" but I've learned how to relax and use context. However, a song I enjoy, entitled "subeme la radio" made me realize, here again I have no idea how to interpret subirse in this context. It seems like it would be "sube se la radio" since the radio is what is getting turned up. But, subeme seems to suggest to "turn me up the radio", implying that it seems like subirse can mean "turn this up for me".

Is there any actual guide for english speakers to understand reflexive pronouns in Spanish, or does one just learn all 10k examples of different usages? How do native speakers distinguish?

For another example, a song called "ganas" seems to mean either "you win" or "desires" but how does one know without learning the lyrics of the song, or rather does it "not matter" as its a play on words somehow? This is related because like before, in context I think I would just think someone using "subirse" as a way of emphases, and I could distinguish between the differences in ganas, but these all seem vague and random and I've been confused enough that any guidance would be helpful.

EDIT: Muchisimos gracias. Me ayudan mucho, ya ahora entiendo mas!

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«Yo le gusto a ella y ella también me gusta a mi »

A friend of mine is learning Spanish and heard this in a conversation. I translated this as "She likes me and I like her", but my friend keeps asking me to break down the words, but I just can't come up with a more direct translation.

The closest i can think of is "I am of liking to her", but i am not sure that makes sense in english.

Is there a way to break down the words? As a native it just makes sense to me, but I can't really explain it.

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