How do you translate this to Spanish?
Original, in English: Maria gives Anna to Elena
Spanish (I'm not sure if this is correct) Maria da a Anna a Elena
- Maria is the subject, the one giving.
- Anna is the direct object, the item being given.
- Elena is the indirect object, the one receiving the direct object.
- Direct object who is a person (or personalize) has "a" preceeding it
- We cannot rely on object pronouns (la, se, el, etc.) to disambiguate the sentence since "Anna" and "Elena" are gramatically female.
(I am Spanish) I imagine Anna is a baby, in Maria´s arms, and Marian gives/pass/transfers the baby to Elena, and now Anna would be in Elena´s arms.
"María da Anna a Elena" or "María entrega Anna a Elena". The verb "entregar" (=to hand over) is more formal that "dar".
So, what you are saying is there is no need for the personal "a" in front of "Anna" and "le" isn`t needed, either. Well, that certainly makes Spanish easier. Thanks!
In this case, the
a before the DO is not mandatory, so you can say:
Juan envía su hija a su madre.
RAE's Diccionario panhispánico de dudas, under its entry 1. a + complemento directo. lists a detailed set of rules to establish when a DO must (uso forzoso), may (doble uso), or can't (no se usa) be preceded by
a. In this case it says that the
su hija can be omitted to remove the ambiguity:
d) Cuando el complemento directo de persona precedido de preposición coincide en la oración con otro complemento que también la lleva (por ejemplo, un complemento indirecto), puede omitirse la que antecede al complemento directo, para evitar confusiones: Presentó (A) SU NOVIO a sus padres. Pero si el complemento directo es un nombre propio, es forzoso el uso de la preposición: Presentó A JUAN a sus padres.
As a native speaker as well I would say that you could mix the order but it will still sound kind of weird because of the phrase itself. If you use two "a" before each noun it would be confusing for the meaning, I would only use it for the indirect object, Elena in this case. Even with objects I would use "le da" for non countable things and/or use a quantity for clarification "da un/una" for example (not really suitable for this example). Either way, my definitive translation would be "María le da Anna a Elena", it is not common but is clear that is Anna what/who you are giving to someone else.
Maria da a Anna a Elena sounds plain awkward for me (Native Speaker), if I was the one saying it, I'd probably say: Maria da a Anna y a Elena.
It really depends on the context this sentence is, since it's so vague to notice what is going on exactly, is she giving an item, herself, both of them?
See my updated my question. The source, english version is Maria gives Anna to Elena.
The English doesn't make any sense to me, for a couple of reasons:
Maria gives, not Maria give.
You can't give people away.
Also your notes are incorrect:
Maria is the subject, the one giving.
Anna is the direct object, the item being given.
Elena is the indirect object, the one receiving the direct object.
How about we change it to "Maria gives the shirt to Elena"? Shirts are feminine.
Maria le da la camisa a Elena.
It would be "Maria le la da" but Spanish does not like le/lo/la to be together. It is offensive to the Spanish ear, much like "a apple" is offensive to the English ear. So the le is changed to se.
I think you can also say "Maria se la da a Elena."
Okay, the syntax is better but the notes are still inaccurate. But I did think of a situation in which your sentence could make sense: if Anna is a baby and Maria gives Anna to Elena.
It would still be Maria le da Anna a Elena, or Maria se la da, or Maria se la da a Elena, or Maria dásela.
We do indeed rely on pronouns to help us, because the direct object pronoun LA is describing Anna, while the indirect object pronoun (SE o LE, depending on how you phrase your question) is pointing to Elena.
Maria le da Anna a Elena is less ambigious, though why a does not preceed Anna since she's considered a person?
That's a darn good question, especially since Anna is also the direct object.
I've searched, I've read, I've pondered. I don't know. I have the sense that it is because Anna is the "object" being given, and even though Elena is the indirect object she is receiving the action of the verb dar. But I can't find any kind of rule or explanation.
I'm going to follow this discussion!
Yes, the se la is correct. Never tried saying this in Spanish before...
Oh, my mistake. I mixed up Maria with Anna. I took your notes in my revised question.
Anyway, assuming people can be given for now, my point is that when a Spanish sentence has the following
- direct object that is considered a person
- indirect object
- both direct and indirect objects have the same gramatical gender
then, does it make the said sentence ambigious?
I am wondering about the persona "a" here. What if we replace "Anna" with "mi hija". Would the sentence now be "Maria le da a mi hija a Elena."? And, if it is, might the sentence with "Anna" actually be "Maria le da a Anna a Elena."?