not that there's a huge error, but I answered "the boy and his father", Dulingo marked it as correct and suggested "another correct solution": the boy and his father (exactly the same phrase) - does anyone know why?
I believe that the DL program creates new offerings for students by using a logarithm. As a result, when a correct new translation is submitted for the first time, the page in question is generated using a form. Then when other correct yet alternate interpretations are submitted, the form has already been generated to accept and display other correct translations.
Sometimes that happens when you have an extra space before or after the sentence.
Is there a way to tell if this statement should be "the boy and his father" or "the boy and your father"?
No. It could be any of the possessive adjectives "su" can translate to: his, her, their, your, its. Context is all you can rely on.
You could try to narrow the possibilities textually by saying something like:
El niño y el padre de él - The boy and the father of him. However this would sound weird and still be open to interpretation in both languages.
El niño y el padre del niño - The boy and the father of the boy. This would narrow it even further, but again, weird, and there is still no guarantee the second boy is the same boy as the first.
You could make it even more involved and state textually beyond all doubt that the father is that of the same boy already mentioned, but it's easier just to say "El niño y su padre" and let context save textual clutter.
As an aside, this is why legal documents are often so wordy. They are textual attempts at preventing differing contextual interpretations. Thank goodness for context I say.
Of course you can use "dad" for "padre." See my comment elsewhere on this page.
Is el niño accurately translated as the child? And if it is, is it explicitly gendered? I put "the child and its father" which makes sense in english if you don't know the child's gender but it was marked as wrong
"El niño" can be translated as "the child." A male child.
"Los niños" can be translated as "the children" which can include both boys and girls.
By mistake I typed in "The boy and their father." It was marked as correct. So su must also mean their? In English the sentence I wrote doesn't make sense.
"Su" can mean something belongs to:
It makes perfect sense in English as well, regardless whether you accept the singular "they". The father in question does not have to be the boy's father.
Imagine Adam and Bob are brothers. They, along with their father Carl, invite their friend Dave to the park with them. If someone took a photo of Dave and Carl, it would be the boy and their father.
Robyn162970, this is a perfect example of when students should check the "There is something wrong with this sentence" option. When enough people flag the incorrect translation, then it gets deleted from the database.
However, before checking the option, students need to confirm that an alternate translation cannot be used, as Rae.F's comment so perfectly illustrates.
What if you couldn't tell the gender of the child? Wouldn't "The child and its father" be correct?
It's possible. If a context could be construed in which the gender of the child is unknown then the masculine "niño" would still be used in Spanish. Perhaps in an academic text you might find a general comment like:
El niño y su padre forman un vínculo fuerte.
If the sentence isn't specifically referring to a masculine child then you could translate this into English with one of three possessive adjectives: the outdated "his"; the controversial "their"; or the widely accepted "its". There is probably even an argument for the sometimes seen "her" but to me this sounds just as flawed as "his" when gender is unknown. "Its" is the safest translation in this context, but only in this type of context:
The child and its father form a strong bond.
In theory, jellonz, your comment is correct because "its" is neutral gender. However, if the English pronoun "it" is used, then the implication–at least in English–is that the "niño" in question is not human. As a native speaker of English, I have never heard "its" used to describe a human. The default is either "him" or "her," because humans are one or the other.
From the Oxford online dictionary:
1 used to refer to a thing previously mentioned or easily identified.
"a room with two beds in it"
1.1. referring to an animal or child of unspecified sex.
"she was holding the baby, cradling it and smiling into its face"
1.2. referring to a fact or situation previously mentioned, known, or happening.
"stop it, you're hurting me"
2 used to identify a person.
"it's a boy!"
The only humans who can be referred to as "it" are infants/babies, not older children.
In the second bolded example, that is the existential/dummy pronoun "it". You would not use "it" in the possessive here.
I didn't say you would use "it" in the possessive here. The example I offered above was in a very specific context in which it could be used. The quote from the OED supports this. Downvoting applicable quotes does not make them invalid.
Definition 2 applies to Linda's comment:
As a native speaker of English, I have never heard "its" used to describe a human.
From which I took her to be referring to (rightly or wrongly) "it" as a pronoun, because she said "describing a human", rather than "describing something possessed by a human."
The more important definition was 1.1, which supports my original comment. If it only applied to infants/babies then that is what the OED would have said. If you think your personal opinion is superior to the OED then clearly I can't argue with you.
What is the difference here between "se" and "su"?
Is "se" informal? And "su" formal?
No. All of them are the same level of formality.
Su is one of the possessive forms. Se is an object pronoun.
It's also used in reflexive constructions.
FlorenceD344253, for grafduckula's sake, I'm clarifying here that "su" is the formal possessive pronoun that means "your," and "tu" is the familiar possessive pronoun that means "your."
I typed "The boy and his father." The program responded: "Another correct solution: 'The boy and his father.' " I'm NOT seeing a difference here and this is not the first time an ALTERNATE solution was identical to the one I gave. WTH?!?!?
It defeats the purpose of learning that the Spanish word for &/and is "y".
My understanding is that it is allowed but rarely used, for the obvious reason that it is not an abbreviation in Spanish, which already only uses one letter for "and".
As added info the ampersand is called "et" in Spanish, but is pronounced "y" (or presumably "e" case dependant) just as & is pronounced "and".
It is called "et" in Spanish as a reflection on its roots in Latin. The & symbol is a ligature of the letters e and t, which spell the Latin word "et", which means "and".
The name "ampersand" in English comes from when & was the 27th letter of the alphabet and called simply "and". The letters were recited and at the end, "X, Y, Z, and -- per se -- 'and'."
When there are multiple equally valid ways of saying something, Duolingo likes to let you know that yes, your answer was correct, and here's another way that's also correct. It's part of the education process.
"Tu padre" can only mean "your father", when you are on a first-name basis with the person you're speaking to (including family members).
"Su padre" is "his father", "her father", "their father", or "your father" when you are not on a first-name basis with the person you're speaking to.
The prompt was "his father". It can only be "su padre".
Um. Why is "dad" not acceptable here? I've used "dad" instead of "father" multiple times previously for "padre"?!
Then she's not a boy and the sentence would be "La niña y su padre/The girl and her father." Simple.
It used to be simple, but in today's world where gender categorisation isn't necessarily determined by biology I guess Asher has a point. Still, for the sake of learning language, a boy's pronouns need to be "he / him" even if she prefers something else. Thankfully Spanish won't have any issue with their possessive pronoun at least.
My answer was from the perspective of our current (better, more nuanced) understanding of gender and how it's not tied to what the body looks like.
"Su" means, your, his, hers, and theirs. That's how. "El" has nothing to do with it.
"Él never means "his." However, "él" can mean "him" when it is clarifying whether a Spanish indirect object means "él/him," "ella/her," or "it." For example, "I give the apple to him/I give him the apple" can be translated a few different ways:
"Yo le doy la manzana" (Literally translated as "I him give the apple"; colloquially translated as "I give him the apple").
"La manzana yo doy a él" (Literally translated as "The apple I give to him"; colloquially translated as "I give the apple to him" or "I give him the apple").
Similarly, "a él" OR "a ella" can come before the Spanish indirect object. For example, "A ella la doy a Anne la manzana. (Literally translated as "To (her) Anne I give the apple"; colloquially translated as "I give the apple to Anne" or "I give (her) Anne the apple").
No, it can't be because that translation skips the word "su." Look at Rae.F's comment on Robyn162970's post - they explain how the word "su" can be used.
We have no idea what your answer was, or how the question was presented to you.
Error in accepted words. I wrote "The boy and your father." This was accepted and should not have been.
Actually, it's perfectly correct. "Su" can mean "your", if the speaker addresses the listener formally.
I think it's more correct to perceive it as "the boy and the father of himself" and similar way in other cases
Uh, would be simpler to just invent a different word for each of these pronouns.
Languages are never simple. Even English doesn't make sense lots of the time. Think about plurality - it would be so much simpler to say "gooses" and "mooses" and "tooths" to keep things consistent, but we don't. Speakers of a language don't really get to invent words to "make things simpler" - it would be very confusing if speakers just made up words whenever they wanted. No one could understand each other.
I put in a wrong answer and it said it was right....hopefully the report goes through as noticing my answer was wrong?
Who said it was the boy's father? If Aaron is out with his friends Bob and Charlie, and Bob and Charlie's father Doug is supervising them, then Aaron and Doug is the boy and their father.
True. Among other things.
"Su" can also mean, hers.
Have you considered trying:
"The boy and her father"?
No. Su means a singular thing belongs to
Sus means plural things belong to
Both su and sus are the possessive adjective:
your thing, your things
his thing, his things
her thing, her things
their thing, their things
It's suyo/suyos/suya/suyas that are the possessive pronouns:
the thing is yours, the things are yours
the thing is his, the things are his
the thing is hers, the things are hers
the thing is theirs, the things are theirs