In spanish adjective placement can mean a lot. Take the example "I have an old friend" Tengo un viejo amigo - means I have a long time friend. Tengo un amigo viejo - means I have an elderly friend. Before the noun is usually more subjective/emotional and after the noun is more physical/objective. So in this case "un hombre débil" means sickly and "un débil hombre" refers to his weak character.
Yes. But being of weak character would also require a change from condition to characteristic and thus from estar to ser, and that change alone would be required. Viejo is a meaning changing adjective, but débil is not. Not all adjectives change meaning when moved in front of the noun. The other reason for putting the adjective before the noun is declaring it to be an essential characteristic of that noun. So un débil hombre is a man who is weak because it is the nature of man to be weak. That would be a specialized meaning, maybe for a discussion of temptation and the fall of Man.
That's heavy. Thank you. I think that until I grasp it a little more I'll be placing the adjective after the noun
This one is funny for me because I'm Russian and in Russian "debil" is an insulting word for someone who behaves in a stupid way
Debil in Russian means "mentally weak", like in Spanish it comes from Latin "debilis", weak.
DL is pronouncing "debil" by stressing the last syllable and not the syllable before the last (as the stressing mark over "e" suggests). Why so?
You are right; it is wrong. I've noticed that computer voices tend to sound like they are stressing the final syllable when the word ends in certain sounds, including "-il"
Debilitate (debilitar) is a transitive verb meaning "to weaken" or "to become/grow weak"; it can't be used as an adjective. That's where you'd use "weak". This is where i find Spanish fun - matching words with their Latin root! Call me a geek :-)
Does "debil" mean "weak" in only the physical sense, could it be, as in English, also applied to character -- he is weak (he can't resist temptation)?
I agree. I got it marked incorrect as well. I reported it. Make sure to do so as well.
Disabled = "discapacitado." You may also hear or read "inútil" or "minusválido". These words were commonly used in the past but are considered offensive today. Their literal translations are "useless" and "worthless". Another word you may hear is "lisiado" (from "lesión"). It literally translates to "injured" but refers to a permanent injury, usually of an extremity.
In the 1950s, people with disabilities were called "subnormal". "Moron", "retard" and "imbecile" were also used depending on their level of disability. Today, they are known as "people with a disability" because to say "disabled person" puts the emphasis on their disability and not the fact that they are a human. I'm glad that times have changed.
Interesting that you mention it here, Meredith, as the word "debil" in Polish is commonly used to this day as a synonim of "moron, idiot". You can imagine how I completely misinterpreted the Spanish sentence.
Yeah, in Czech it is also like that. I guessed that Duolingo is not teaching us such words and that it probably means something (a bit) different in Spanish. Then again "débil hombre" is sort of like a "man of a weak character" which pretty much fits the debil as it is used in Czech (except that it is probably not a curse word in Spanish).
With 'estar' the indication is that the child is not normally weak, that his present weak condition is different from his normal description. Perhaps he is currently ill.
In Duo's sentence, 'ser' is used to link the subject pronoun with a predicate noun (one of its uses), and the indication is "He is a man (who's weak)".
Is anyone else having débil cut off by the male voice that says the whole sentence? I'm using the mobile app. It isn't cut off by the female voice that says the sentence here or by the female voice that says just the word when I click on it in the app.
Débil can mean frail. But it is not the most common definition of débil, nor is it the most commonly used word for frail. So, without context which suggests that it WOULD mean frail, I don't think that is a good translation here. Remember Duo is trying to teach you to interpret what you hear and read in Spanish and how to reproduce that. In most cases where you would hear débil used where it could be translated as frail, translating as weak would not really be out of place. But using frail might well be off mark if you are just saying he can't best you at arm wrestling.