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Translation into English

Elements of Conversation II (by AL)

We continue today with our audiotext series in which we look at different elements of daily conversation.

How to use “por favor” (please):

“Por favor” is our way of asking for things amiably: “Por favor, ¿me puedes traer un vaso de la cocina?” – “Can you please bring me a glass from the kitchen?" It can occupy almost any position in the sentence, for example: “Por favor, ¿me podría decir la hora?”; “¿Me podría decir, por favor, la hora?”; “¿Me podría decir la hora, por favor?” – “Please, could you tell me what time it is,” etc.

We also use “por favor” to show our indignation or that we don't agree with something. “Pero, por favor, cómo me vienes ahora diciendo que no te he ayudado nunca” – “But, please!, how can you come to me now saying that I have never helped you?”; “-Tengo un hambre que me comería una vaca” “-Pero, por favor, si acabamos de desayunar” – “-I’m so hungry I could eat a cow.” “-But, please!, we just ate breakfast!”

Tú que …, a ti que … (You who…, you to whom…)

To address someone for some reason in particular we can use “A ti que …” o “Tú que …” Let’s look at some examples:

“Tú que has viajado tanto, ¿has visto alguna vez una cosa así?” – “You who have traveled so much, have you ever seen anything like it?

“Vd. que lleva escribiendo desde los años 70, ¿cuál ha sido el artículo que más le ha gustado?” – “You who have been writing since the 70s, which article have you liked the most?”

“A ti que te gustan los peces, deberías ir a ver la nueva exposición del Acuario de Madrid, es estupenda” – “You to whom fish are so appealing, you should go to see the new exhibition at the Madrid Aquarium, it’s stupendous.”

“A Vd. que le han criticado tanto por su postura ante los derechos de los trabajadores, ¿qué nos diría en unos momentos como los que estamos viviendo” – “You whom they have criticized so much for your stance on the rights of workers, what would you say to us in times like the ones we are going through?

To Contrast One Idea With Another Previously Expressed

We sometimes need to contrast two ideas in the same argument. To do this we usually use “pero” (“but” - very common), “aunque” (“although” – very common), “ahora bien” (“however” – a bit less common), “sin embargo” or “no obstante” (“however” or “nevertheless” – more common in written language). Let’s look at some examples:

“Le hemos concedido el crédito que nos pedía de 100.000 euros; ahora bien, para su concesión efectiva necesitaríamos que domiciliara su nómina en nuestro banco” – “We have granted him the credit of 100,000 Euros that he requested from us; however, to make the grant effective we would need him to direct deposit his pay in our bank";

“Hay un concierto de Alejandro Sanz el sábado, pero no sé si ir porque me parece un poco caro”- “There is Alejandro Sanz' concert on Saturday, but I don't know if I will go because I think it’s a bit expensive";

“Me ha ofrecido su casa para cuando vayamos a Madrid, aunque no sé si aceptar porque está un poco retirada del centro” – “He has offered me his house for when we go to Madrid, although I don't know if I will accept because it’s a little far out from the center";

“La economía en general parece estar saliendo de la crisis. Sin embargo, el paro no empezará a disminuir hasta bien pasado un año” – “The economy in general seems to be coming out of the crisis. However, unemployment won't begin to diminish for at least a year";

“Maxwell predijo la existencia de ondas electromagnéticas. No obstante, no fue hasta varios años más tarde que Hertz pudo demostrar efectivamente su existencia”. – “Maxwell predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until several years later that Hertz was able to actually demonstrate their existence."


Amablemente – amiably, nicely
Dirigirse a – to address, to speak to
Contraponer – to contrast, set in opposition
Razonamiento – reasoning, argument
Conceder – to concede, grant, award
Domiciliar – to pay by direct debit; “domiciliar” refers to a banking system in which one’s paycheck is automatically deposited in the bank and the payment for one’s bills are automatically deducted from the bank account and paid to the creditor.
Nómina – wages, paycheck
Retirado – isolated, secluded
Paro – unemployment

Grammar Note:

“Mad Magazine Sentences”- Adult Root Infinitives in Spanish:

In this audiotext we see phrases such as “pero no sé si ir” (but I don’t know if I’ll go) and “aunque no sé si aceptar” (although I don’t know if I’ll accept). Grammarians call the infinitives like “ir” and “aceptar” that appear after “si” in these phrases “adult root infinitives” and sentences that use this grammatical construction were dubbed “Mad Magazine sentences” by Akmajian in 1984 because they frequently occur in the text of comic books (See http://www.punksinscience.org/kleanthes/papers/chronos6_eg.pdf). Further examples of Mad Magazine sentences, from the paper just cited, include:

Yo ir a esa fiesta?! Jamás! - Me go to that party? Never!

Pedro comprar vino?! No me lo creo! – Pedro buy wine? I don’t believe it!

Yo fregar los platos otra vez?! Ni hablar! – Me wash the dishes again! Don’t even say it!

Comprar yo nada en esa tienda?! Lo dudo! – Me buy anything in that shop! I doubt it!

Comprar yo eso a propósito?! – Me buy that on purpose?!

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