What's the difference between intentar and tratar? When should one be used over the other?
The big difference is that tratar has several alternate meanings that intentar doesn't. In addition to "tratar de [inf]" meaning "to try [to verb]", it can be used transitively as "to treat somebody" in a medical sense, and intransitively in Merriam-Webster's sense 2. ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treat ) "to deal with a matter especially in writing". Este libro trata de caballos. This book treats of horses. This book is about horses. Yo trato la niña. I treat the girl (medically). Yo trato de traducir esta frase. I try to translate this sentence.
So, basically: definitely avoid using tratar if it could be confused with one of those alternate meanings. :-)
In this case if you want to use the verb "tratar" would be: "Ella TRATÓ DE ir a París". That's right too.
That's a tough one to listen to. I was left wondering what the heck "in-ten-toy-ra" meant, and had to listen to the slow version to get it.
When I listen to native Spanish speakers they often seem to run the last vowel of a word with the first vowel of the following word. It makes it hard for a Spanish learner to understand, but I'm sure they would think that native English speakers do the same thing when speaking English.
Yep, I know that. It's an important fact to recognise. I wasn't complaining about the pronunciation, just making an observation. The one that really catches me out is where you have an "a" (especially the personal A) after a word ending in "a". It just completely disappears.
Completely. I'm now in the time-consuming but safe habit of listening to it in slow mode just one more time before submitting. That's when those tiny dangerous words finally become audible.
A personal "a" doesn't get translated which in fact can help us identify it as a personal a.
I think the mistake you are making is thinking that "intentar" means "to intend". It doesn't. "Intentar" means "to try".
The main verbs for "to intend" are "pretender" or "hacer intención". So your sentence "She meant to go to Paris", would be "Ella hizo intención de ir a París".