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  5. "Yo le hablo a la mesera en f…

"Yo le hablo a la mesera en francés."

Translation:I speak to the waitress in French.

June 17, 2018



Whi is le included?


Apparently, there are several Spanish verbs that require a redundant indirect object pronoun even when the indirect object is also in the sentence. I'm still looking for a complete list but verbs of communication like hablar and decir are included.



Hablar and decir commonly use an indirect object pronoun, but these verbs do not require one.


What about llamar?


Llamar can be used both transitively (using a direct object) as well as intransitively (using an indirect object). The latter is usually used when making a phone call.

  • Llamo su nombre. - I call her name.
  • (Le) llamo a la policía. - I call the police.


Different between camarero and mesero


The Thoughtco article includes the indirect object pronouns with hablar and decir because in the example sentences the explicit indirect object is not included. It just says "spoke to him", "called him", instead of "spoke to the teacher" or "called mother".

Verbs that do require an indirect object are gustar-like verbs, as well as verbs where the indirect object it's a "receiver" of something. That includes verbs that indicate how the IO feels about a situation (molestar, divertir...), and verbs that talk about how the IO perceives something (parecer, resultar...). But in some situation, even these verbs can drop the IOPs.

Long story short, just saying "Hablo a la mesera" is good as well.


This was insightful thanks


Elizadeux, I don't think it is a question of certain verbs requiring redundancy and others not. My understanding is that if there is an indirect object (to whom or for whom an action was done) in a sentence, there must be an indirect object pronoun used, not just for specific verbs, even with redundancy. As per http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100017/indirect-object-pronouns#.W37Z8dJKi01 : "When to Use the Indirect Object Pronoun: If there is an indirect object in a sentence, there MUST be an indirect object pronoun! You can also have the prepositional phrase "para nosotros" or "a Miguel" to add emphasis, but you can NOT only have the prepositional phrase."

That said, to expand on what kennypi shares, communication verbs provide a grey area as there can be an ASSUMED direct object (what is being communicated) and in that case you CAN use an indirect object pronoun to refer to the person the "thing" is being communicated to (as in the example sentence), but it isn't required.


The use of an indirect pronoun is not strictly necessary in most cases. Please consult this DPD entry, section 5.2 a).


In the grammar tip part of the lesson duolingo answers this question very accurately


Yep - I thought so too - they phrased it perfectly.


On another subject, we learnt "camarero" for waiter a while back. What's the difference between that and "mesero"?


It's mainly just a regional difference. Camarero is mainly used in Spain and also in Guatemala and Chile. Mesero is more popular in the rest of LatAm.

Additionally, camarero can also refer to a chamberlain.


Yes. We took a sleeper train in Argentina last month and the stewards on it (who gave out towels, etc.) were referred to as camareros


Another commonly said way in Argentina is el mozo or la moza.


In American English there is a movement towards using "waiter" for either gender, so "I speak to the waiter in French" should be an acceptable translation.


You are absolutely correct, although yesterday I had a plumbress fix the pipes in my apartment.


My favorite is a female executor: executrix.


That reminds me to make an appointment with my doctoress.


It would actually be doctrix, but this is Spanish class, not Latin


DL accepts "the server," instead of "the waitress," as a correct translation of this sentence, 10 Feb 2019. In other exercises, it also has accepted "the server" for el mesero.


In the UK too.


Forgive me if I'm oversimplifying, but just to wrap my head around it: this sentence can roughly be translated to "I speak french to the waitress," which would make the waitress the indirect object. As such, we would use the indirect object pronoun "le" in Spanish. However, if I just wanted to say "I speak to the waitress," I could say "Yo hablo con la mesera" without any pronoun. Is this correct?


You can either say "(Le) hablo a la mesera" to mean "I speak/talk to the waitress", meaning that you do most of the talking. (The le is not necessary.) Or you can say "Hablo con la mesera", "I speak/talk with the waitress", meaning that you both exchange words. Since con-objects are not indirect objects, using le here would be incorrect.


Could you explain the difference between the use of "le" and "se" I cant figure that one out


OK I'll have a go, though I'm not an expert. "Le" is the (third person singular) indirect object of the verb "hablar". As RyagonIV says, it can be omitted. "Se" is the (third person singular or plural) reflexive object. So If you said "Él se habla" it would mean "He talks to himself" (Though I think perhaps Spanish speakers are more likely to say "Habla consigo mismo": a better example might be "se lava", meaning "he/she washes himself/herself").


Paul, that's correct. I'm not entirely sure what Rick is referring to, so I'd also like to add that when you have two object pronouns with your verb, and the direct object happens to be a 3rd-person object (lo, la, los, las), then any le or les will become se. Compare:

  • Le escribo la carta a mi amigo. - I am writing the letter to my friend.

  • Se la escribo a mi amigo. - I am writing it to my friend.

In other words, you cannot have "le la" or "les los" or similar with a verb.


RyagonIV, i have a question about one of your examples, please. "Le escribo la carta a mi amigo. I am writing the letter to my friend."

Wouldn't " Escribo la carta a mi amigo" mean the same? So, what does adding "Le" at the beginning add? When must we use it please?

I'm not challenging your reply I'm trying to better understand for myself. Thank you!


Why is "server" not acceptable here? Ugh


And why is there no button to report it?


Exactly. "Waiter" is so outdated


Would "Yo le hablo en francés a la mesera" be correct?


Yes, that would be okay as well.


the waitress is feminin. Why use LE instead of LA??


Since the waitress is the indirect object in this sentence (she is the one who receives your French), the indirect-object pronoun le is used to describe her. This type of pronoun is invariant for gender, meaning it will be le, no matter whether you're talking to a guy or a girl.

La is a direct-object pronoun, which wouldn't be appropriate here.


Because you must use the indirect object pronoun ("to the waitress").


Unnecessary indirect object pronoun. Pretty quickly realising that English isn't the only 'funny' language.


Is mesera/mesero interchangeable with camerera/camarero?


These terms have the same usual meaning, but they are preferred in different locations.

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V

Camarero is mainly used in Spain and also in Guatemala and Chile. Mesero is more popular in the rest of LatAm.


Isn't hablar "con" more common?


Minki, "hablar con" is more common, yes. You'll use "hablar a" if only one side is doing the talking.


All of my lessons including "le" have referenced women: grandmother, mom, the waitress. Does "le" change to something else when the person referenced is male? Lo, perhaps? Or does it remain "le?"


Yes, the masculine singular indirect object pronoun is also "le". "Lo" is the masculine singular direct object pronoun (though not everywhere, as this explains: https://www.brighthubeducation.com/learning-spanish/11065-when-to-use-le-and-lo-in-spanish/ ). You may want to search on 'Spanish pronouns' to read up a bit more about this.


I used the European Spanish "a la camarera" as this is where I speak Spanish. I was marked incorrect. Normally the software allows this.


Yet another new word for "waitress". I was happy knowing camarera. :-)


can 'le be omitted?


I think RyagonIV has already answered this in CKS997635's thread. I think she/he is referring to paragraph 5.2a of the long section of the DPD (Diccionario panhispánico de dudas) of the Real Academia Española to which he/she refers. "En el caso del complemento indirecto, la coaparición del pronombre átono es normalmente opcional y suele ser lo más frecuente, especialmente en la lengua oral". I suspect RyagonIV may be along to confirm or correct this...


Paul, can confirm. :)


Camarero and mesero, what is the difference


They both mean waiter. Duo is just giving you an alternate (regional) translation for the same thing.


What is the difference between Waiter and Mesero?


"waiter" is the translation of "mesero" from Spanish into English, and vice versa.


mesera and camarera, whats the different in words? :)


Mesero/mesera = Server/Waiter/Waitress

Camarera = Server/Waitress/Maid/Stewardess/Trolley(the small cart-not the train car)

Camarero = Server/Waiter/Bellboy/Steward


Julia, when referring to waiters, the term mesero is used in Central and most of South America (first column). Camarero is prevalent in Spain and can be found in Guatemala and Chile.


Whats the difference between camarera and mesera?


This question has already been answered several times in this discussion page! Please read the posts before posting yourself so as to cut down the clutter and save other people's time.


Do you have to use le when you are saying this? Can you just write "yo hablo a la mesera en francés." ?


This has already been discussed and answered more than once on this forum.


Why is it "le" and not "la" since the waitress is feminine


"Le" is the indirect object pronoun.
It means "to her" and "her" is clarified later as "la mesera".


This has already been answered (see Harrit6's thread)


It sounds like she's saying "Yo a le hablo la meseran francés".


In the US, "waitress" is an obsolete term. Both men and women are referred to as "waiters." Your translation should be adjusted to reflect this.


Sorry, but in the US "waitress" is absolutely not obsolete- it's in widespread use. True, it is becoming somewhat common to use the word "server", or "waiter" for either gender, but it is very common - maybe more so - to refer to a female server as waitress. Use that term at any establishment in the country without concern.


Duo accepts "I am speaking French to the server," which would be even more gender-neutral than "waiter." 13 Feb 2019


While the term waitress is definitely not obsolete, it should still accept waiter.


You are incorrect. A waitress refers to a female "server", and waiter refers to a male "server". These terms are not obsolete, they're just politically incorrect for a Communist to use. Hope that helps.

P.S. -- The states of California and New York are trying to make this sort of speech "hate speech", punishable by torture and imprisonment, up to but not more than, the life of the offender (sarcasm).

Many people died, and many more suffered, so that Americans could have freedom of speech. It's very valuable, don't throw it away.

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