https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Routines 3 - almost everything is confusing.

I'm confused again (this happens a lot).

In the Routines 3 topic, there are sentences like: 'Hoy nos ponemos unos vaqueros.' 'Nos levantamos a las ocho usualmente.' 'Por qué no te lavas las manos?' Why are the pronouns 'nos' and 'te' required in these sentences (I've been marked wrong for not including them)? The form of the verb already makes it clear who is being referred to, so the 'nos' and 'te' seem redundant. Am I missing something? It's especially confusing in sentences that start 'Nosotros nos', because that seems doubly redundant.

Also, I don't understand the purpose of 'se' in sentences like this one: 'Ellos se sienten felices.' (They feel happy.) Does the meaning change without 'se'? In a similar sentence, 'se' isn't present: 'Nos sentimos muy felices.' (We feel very happy.)

I'm also curious about my body parts being referred to as 'el cabello' (the hair) and 'los dientes' (the teeth). I get that that's just how they're referred to in Spanish, rather than being 'my hair' and 'my teeth'. But what happens if I'm talking about someone else's body? What if I'm brushing someone else's hair? Is it still said 'el cabello', or would it change to 'su cabello' to make it clearer that I'm talking about hair that is not my own?

2 months ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/alezzzix
alezzzix
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  • "Hoy nos ponemos unos vaqueros." The verb tells you who is doing the action, unos vaqueros is the receiver of the action, nos is the reflexive indirect object that tells you who are the people getting dress, if you were dressing someone else you would say "Hoy les ponemos unos vaqueros". With the pronoun, poner means 'put on', without it, it means 'put', example: Hoy ponemos unos vaqueros = "Today we put jeans".
  • "Nos levantamos a las ocho usualmente." Levantarse is a pronominal verb, a pronominal verb is a verb that changes its meaning when used with a reflexive pronoun, example: Levantarse = To get up / Levantar = To lift.
  • "¿Por qué no te lavas las manos?" There is a thing in Spanish called dative possessive case, basically you can use an indirect object pronoun in conjunction with a determiner in order to show possession, so in this example te + las = your. Using tus (¿Por qué no lavas tus manos?) is not grammatically incorrect, but it sounds unnatural.
  • "Ellos se sienten felices." It is a grammar thing, if what you feel is represented by a noun (Ellos sienten felicidad), there's no need for a reflexive pronoun, but it what you feel is represented by an adjective or an adverb, you need to add a reflexive pronoun, think of sentir as always being transitive, if that helps. In your second example there is also a reflexive pronoun in use "Nos sentimos muy felices".

Spanish prefers not to use possessive adjectives with body parts because there's something called 'Inalienable possession' (the dative possessive case is part of this), basically if something is understood to belong to a person there's no need to point it out, it's a bit of a redundancy. Examples:

  • Me cepillo el cabello = I brush my hair (Dative possessive)
  • Le cepillo el cabello = I brush her hair (Dative possessive)
  • Estás perdiendo el cabello = You are losing your hair (Inalienable possession)
2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thank you so much for these explanations. I really appreciate you responding in such detail.

I'm definitely going to have to research all these linguistic terms (e.g. indirect, reflexive, dative, etc).

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/la_ricfoi

Why are the pronouns 'nos' and 'te' required in these sentences (I've been marked wrong for not including them)?

They are reflexive verbs. You don't say I hurt, but I hurt myself. I.e. you include a reflexive pronoun, like nos and te.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Thank you for responding!

But it's different in English, because verbs (like hurt, your example) don't make it clear who's being referred to, so you would need to include 'myself' in order to make it clear. But in Spanish, because the verbs are different depending on who's being spoken about, it's already clear. Which is why I don't understand why additional specifying is necessary.

I never learnt about stuff like reflexive / subjunctive / imperative and all those other linguistic terms though. I guess I need to go research them in order to understand properly.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/la_ricfoi

No problem, then we look at an example.

In English: I wash myself.
In Spanish: yo me lavo
Or because lavo already indicates the subject: me lavo

Not that I want to, but I could also say: te lavo (I wash you).

Does that help?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

It does, thank you.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StarlitTardis

Oh, and thank you for the links!

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Some of the more challenging new purple skills probably should have been placed a little later in the tree.

2 months ago
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