"A família espera pelo carteiro."

Translation:The family waits for the postman.

July 21, 2013

54 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus

I suggested they should accept "mail carrier". Even if the Portuguese sentence is using the masculine (that is what we usually do when we don't know the gender). I have learned that "mail carrier" is the more politically correct/respectful way of calling a person who does that for a living (at least in the US), and it should be correct for a male or female. So I'm hoping I'm right in requesting that the translation should be accepted. =)

September 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Coayuco

In support of vivisaurus, mail carrier/letter carrier are the terms used by the United States Postal Service, which means that , from a practical standpoint, mailman is now an obsolete term in the US and will fall out of use as we old-timers die off.

May 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rolosrevenge

If it was a mail-woman, wouldn't you specify "pela carteira?"

September 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus

I am not sure "mail-woman" exists in English... does it? Mail carrier/Letter carrier would cover both, though, and that is why it should be accepted even if it is a mailman. You could say carteira in Portuguese, I suppose, but we just use the masculine name by default if we don't know the gender, so this could be one of those situations. Please note that I'm not asking them to stop accepting "mailman", just to add "mail carrier"/"letter carrier" to the list of accepted translations, since many people call them that (even if they know their gender). =]

September 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/drewarnold72

vivisaurus Your understanding of mail carrier vs. postman/mailman is correct. Also, you are correct that DL should accept mail carrier as a translation for carteiro.

Mail carrier is gender neutral, whereas obviously, postman and mailman are only masculine. Further, you are correct in saying we don't really have the feminine equivalent of postman or mailman in the US. Although, people would know what you meant if you said postwoman or mailwoman, we just don't say it. Thus, today mail carrier is a pretty common word to use to describe someone who delivers mail. In fact, I that that's what the US Postal Service actually calls them. It is also worth noting, it is pretty common to see a female mail carrier in the US today, which probably explains the gradual move away from the words postman or mailman.

It might also be helpful to to note that it is common in the US to see the names of types of occupations changing...sometimes gradually, sometimes quickly...to a gender neutral form vs. just using the masculine or feminine form depending on the context. Another example, is the move away from airline stewardess to flight attendant, with flight attendant being gender neutral. This is true even though there is already a masculine form of stewardess, namely steward.

One exception to this trend of occupational names become gender neutral in the US is the the corporate boardroom. Still today, the word chairman of the board is very common and there is little consensus use on how to refer to a female "chairman". This short wikipedia article gives you an idea of how many variations there are on how to describe a female chairman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chairman. As women take on more and more corporate board leadership roles in the US, you have to think we'll settle on a gender neutral term sooner or latter.

September 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mnguyen129

Chair or chairperson are the gender neutral alternatives. For example, you'll see this used a lot in legislative committees.

January 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

Interesting!! Thanks for that! =)

September 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus

Thanks, drewarnold72! =)

September 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/gaih

Great suggestion on "pela carteira" that I thought of too but backed off for fear of confusing with "wallet, desk or card" - all were discussed earlier by many of the same folks here...
And post-woman is frequently used in the UK at least colloquially.

March 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/moostela

why do you use "pelo" in this case and not "para"?

July 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

Esperar is a verb that does not require a preposition. "Eu espero você". If you use "por+o, a, os, as" it means you expect something a lot to happen."eu espero por você" / "espero pela resposta". Esperar para + verbs. Temos de esperar para ver o resultados = we have to wait to see the results. But if you use esperar+verb now esperar means to hope

July 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/incogmax

Hi Paulenrique I did not understand what you wrote here exactly. What is now the difference between "Eu espero você" and "Eu espero por você"? PS Thanks for all the comments you've done in the brazilian forum. I already learned a lot from you!!

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

There is a slight difference between them. "Eu espero você" simply means one is waiting for another person. As someone got off the car and asked "você vem comigo?" (Are you comin with me?) "Não, espero você aqui no carro". When you use por that sounds like you expect that so much. Two friends talking on the phone and one lets his friend know the he is going to visit her soon, then she answer: "Estou esperando por você", that is, she is really looking forward to meeting him again. Got it?

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lexflex

Could you say "esperar POR" means "longing for" or is it just "hoping for" or even "waiting like crazy"? Which one would you use to translate it?

April 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/incogmax

dont know if i got it. in short, is that true? "esperar você" = "wait for" and "esperar por" = await ? i dont really understand your phrase..:"that sounds like you expect that so much." (I am no english native neither ;-))

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

Awaits is usually used to non-living things. Esperar por = you REALLY wait for that! And now?

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisGull

Is there any common/usual way in English to tell these apart? Or just add 'really' when 'por' is used? I don't see 'por' being reflected in the accepted answer, so...

December 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

yes, that's a possibility!

December 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SelwynMont

There seems to be an issue with the translation grammar. Although a family refers to a bunch of people it is still in a singular form. As such the correct translation should be "The family WAITS for the postman". the only time we would use WAIT is if the sentence were "the families WAIT for the postman". Problem reported

August 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus

Thank you for reporting, SelwynMont! It has been fixed! =)

August 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ThisIsAFish

Shouldn't both be accepted? It's common for groups like that to be treated both as singular and plural in everyday speech

November 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PabloStanfield

especially in British English (and more frequently among Canadians than USAmericans)

June 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

No, the Portuguese sentence refers to one family, not a group of families.

November 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ThisIsAFish

I know. Single groups are often referred to in the plural in English because people often don't feel comfortable talking about a group of people as one single entity.

November 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/uppergardiner

Usually family is treated a plural, like police. Similarly, same treatement for team names. - The police ARE here, - Ireland HAVE won the match, - The family WAIT for the postman.

April 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JFSPA

"Police" = plural. You don't say "a police." And in your example, "Ireland" is synecdoche (or elision?): the meaning is, "members of the Irish team," not the entire country.

Similarly, though more subtly, If you are using "family" as shorthand for "the members of the family, individually," then you'd use a plural verb. (That family fight constantly." i.e. the members fight with each other.) When the action is done by the family as a unit, you'd use the singular verb. "That family fights with the neighbors all the time." "The family with 4 small children boards the plane early."

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell

Has the understanding of a collective noun died. It should, invariably, take the verb in the third person singular in order to be grammatically correct. Luckily, most, if not all of the Romance languages adhere to correct grammar in themselves, if not in their English translations.

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/midmo63359

Family is a collective noun (denoting a group acting as an individual) and therefore should have the singular verb form. See "The Elements of Grammar" by Margaret Shertzer (English)

December 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Gwylym

I agree, but collective nouns are treated differently in different English-speaking countries. In general, Americans tend to use singular verbs (CNN has released a new show) while those in the UK tend to use plural verbs (the BBC have a new programme).

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/uppergardiner

I totally agree.

April 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell

Those who use the verb in the plural are, grammatically, wrong. Fowler will tell you, provided you buy his own book and not an updating. Language evolves, but if you wish to be understood, grammatical stucture is essential. Otherwise Bedlam and Babel ensue.

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JFSPA

perhaps because the US has a much stronger legal fiction of the corporation as a legal individual, with identity and rights? (note, so as not to have a political discussion, I explicitly avoid saying whether I find this to be positive or negative, and merely point out that it is so.)

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/yakfox

In New Zealand we call the person who delivers mail the 'postie', but I feel like that is probably too local to suggest as a translation?

December 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JFSPA

I've heard it some in the US (probably still counts as an affectation, but you'll likely be understood). I think it's from the UK originally (and perhaps also OZ).

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/moostela

Thanks. And is there this differance for other words/sentence as well? And if I got it right, I would use por, when I omit the the "ver" = Temos de esparar pelo resultados.

July 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

We have prepositional verbs, that is, verbs that require preposition. It doesn't follow strictly the same prepostions as in English, so it's something you learn over the time.. The sentence you submitted is right. If you omit ver we have "pelo resultado" as por+a = pelo. Plus, if you use esperar+que, now esperar means "to hope". I hope you got it = Espero que você tenha entendido ;)

July 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/timoto

Should it not be [A família "esperam" pelo carteiro] ?

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

no. although the word family may indicate a lot of people, the word itself is singular, so it's the 3rd singular form. (this is the why in English we say "the family waitS..." and not "the family wait..."

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/rolosrevenge

Yet if you answer, "the family waits" they currently mark it wrong, which is incorrect.

July 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Betizad

Yes, at least both should be the right answer. I hear "the family waits" in english and in translation I just follow what i will say not word by word.

July 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/r_i_l_e_y

I just had the sentence "my mother waits for the postman", which was "minha mãe espera o carteiro". Why did that sentence not have "pelo" but this one does?

August 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulenrique

There is no clue for guessing that. If you look above you'll see the difference between "esperar" and "esperar por"

August 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/eljaykett

What about, the family wait for the postman. In english family is one unit!

December 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus

The family = it

December 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hth2007

can postman mean mailman

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GlennaSol

Yes, postman, postal worker, mailman, and mail carrier are all different names for the same occupation.

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MrJessy

why FOR?

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/GlennaSol

The English verb 'wait' requires a preposition - 'wait for'. It is only used by itself if the context gives the reason. "Is the doctor running late?" -- "Yes, I am still waiting [for my appointment with him]"

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MrJessy

Thank you very much GlennaSol

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JFSPA

It's letter carrier (formal) or sometimes mail person or postie (borrowed from the brits?). Mailman is still understood; still sometimes used (especially if your mail person is a man), but (at least in urban areas) if you use it as a default term, that marks you as someone who doesn't notice or doesn't care about gender discrimination in professions.

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell

"Awaits the postman" is better and more concise. Any chance Duo might think so?

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/lydia.sear

The family 'waits' is incorrect, should be 'wait' as family is plural. You cannot say 'They waits'.

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/GlennaSol

The grammatical rule for collective nouns is that it depends on how the group is functioning. If the group is functioning as a unit, all thinking/doing the same thing, the noun is singular. If the group are acting as individuals, with some thinking/doing different things than others in the group, then it becomes plural. In everyday English, people don't think about this rule, so they mix up the singular and plural.

September 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Gwylym

That's not universally true. The way English speakers deal with collective nouns differs from country to country. For example, in the UK it could be said that Apple ARE releasing a new iPhone. In the US, "Apple IS releasing a new iPhone," is the only correct way.

September 10, 2014
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