Saying something doesn't mean you know how to spell it so the sentence does make sense. If it had been "Cómo se dice gato en español" then it would not make sense.
There still wouldn't be any use for the "en español." An English speaker isn't likely ask "How do you spell cat in English?"; they're more likely to say something like "How do you spell the word cat?"
It does make sense. If I was not certain I was hearing the word correctly or pronouncing it correctly, I might ask how the word is spelled in Spanish in order to see it. I have encountered this before with word more difficult than gato.
Maybe the person is writing it, or this is a Spanish translation of someone saying this in sign language
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my impression that Spanish speakers use the verb "escribir" to express the idea of the English verb "spell." In other words, an alternative (and probably better) way to translate this sentence would be "How do you spell 'cat'?"
That's most likely true. In Polish, we commonly say literally "how do you write [word]?" when we really mean to ask for spelling. Wouldn't native English speaker understand it the same way?
In the Collins online Spanish-English dictionary the second meaning of escribir, after "to write", is
to spell, [an example]
“voy” se escribe con “v”
“voy” is spelled with a “v”
Linguee though lists to spell as one of the lesser used meanings.
For those who believe the Duo sentence is nonsensical, if this question is heard and not read it makes complete sense. After all, we are learning to speak and listen as well as to read and write Spanish, as mikeylee48 points out. So this question would not be at all strange in context - say, if a Spanish tutor orally asked this question of a learner whose native language is English.
Personally, I would like the option of hiding the written Spanish words so we could choose to disclose them only after listening first.
Agreed. With 2 of these speakers, I often report trouble with their diction and speed of speech. Our first efforts should be in listening to learn, not reading to learn- although that does help embed the memory.
When clicking the continue button, I avert my eyes from the screen, ready to hear something before I read it.
Great comments! I always thought the verb was deletrear, but I just learned that it is only used when spelling a word out loud---not written. Learn something new every day!
Is this escribe instead of escribes because we are assuming usted rather than tú?
In the passive voice ("is written", in this example) the verb is always conjugated to match the subject---gato escribe. "How is cat written in Spanish?" is a much more accurate translation than "How do you write..."
So "How is dog said in Spanish?" would be ¿Cómo se dice dog en español?
Dugggg is correct. This particular Spanish wording using the reflexive pronoun se is in the active voice but accomplishes the same result as the English passive voice construction - it avoids naming the person or thing that performs or does the action of the verb (in grammatical terms, the agent).
So there is no Tú, no Usted, no Ustedes, no agent, who is actually asked to do the writing - in the Spanish wording. Naming an agent is unimportant to the meaning of the sentence.
I believe DLs interpretation into English active voice "How do you write cat in Spanish?", where "you" is the agent, simply reflects a colloquial or everyday English way of asking such a question.
You is really meant generally, so it is a question to anyone or to no one in particular.
Spanish also has a passive voice construction similar to the English passive voice, but it is not common in everyday speech. It is used in writing though, for example in newspapers.
But note that this Spanish construction using se completely omits naming any agent, and Dugggg's translation into the English passive voice is the better although less colloquial equivalent of the Spanish wording.
Grammatically, the pronoun se acts reflexively to make the object of the verb, gato in this case, to also be the subject. So the Spanish says literally, "how does gato write itself?"
??? "Jack" has lots of meanings too in English, but I'm not sure of the relevance here?
A lawyer would opine, "Don't ask a question that you don't already know the answer to". Oh, yeah. I think...What?
Why translation como se dice and como se escribe. In the midwest I've heard this a lot as being. (How does a guy say) or (how does a guy spell or write). But I don't believe that I should report that as to confuse other people. I am merely commenting here as to maybe help others understand. The more proper way is accepted. That is ( how does one say )or (how does one write or spell.). Cheers
It is not accepting "cat" with quotation marks. My thought is that "cat" needs the quotation marks because it is being used as a word, and that they (or italics) are mandatory in English.
I thoght they were looking for an English word to write in Spanish and used "gateau", to be written as "pastel"
If you hit the "done" button you get a full screen to write your answer on. This would be great information to share with users. Maybe on a loading screen?
I kept hearing "come se escrive UN gato en espanol" no matter how many times I listened to it.