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"¿Qué se habla en América?"

Translation:What do they speak in America?

5 years ago

82 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Fluent2B

The se in this sentence is what is called an "impersonal se." It is used to indicate that no specific person is being referred to with the verb that follows it. Notice that when the impersonal se is used the verb is conjugated to the third party. I would translate this sentence as "What is spoken in America?" You will often see signs on store windows all over America that say "Se habla español" meaning "Spanish is spoken."

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xarid
Xarid
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Very useful comment, thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaLouisaDell

I am having lots of problems with the American English spellings, being from London England

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jfGor
jfGor
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I put what does one speak in America and it was accepted. I know a little formal for some people, but seems to be the politically correct grammar theses days..

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GeninMage
GeninMage
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a little formal? haha

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeCushing

I was really thrown by the singular form and now it makes sense

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Woodman70

Gracias! You answered my question as to why hablar isn't conjugated 'harlan' before I even asked it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danielinform

I wrote, "What do you say in America?"

It was marked wrong and corrected as, "What do you speak in America?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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"What do you say..."=Qué se dice..."

decir=to say/tell

hablar=to speak/talk

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danielinform

Thank you.

So...

Even in English, I'm wondering:

Say/tell/speak/talk - what's the difference?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/THeNeeno

To say is to speak certain words or phrases. It is used to quote and to express opinions. “Say 'hello'." “What did he say?"

To tell is the action of communicating information to somebody else using words. It is used to inform somebody or to instruct them. “Tell him what you saw." “Do tell..." “I told you to sit."

To speak is the action of communication through sounds/words. It is more formal than talk. It focuses on the person using words. “I learned to speak at a young age." “I spoke to the governor." “I am pleased that his majesty saw fit to speak to me." “Don't speak unless spoken to." “May I speak with you for a minute?"

To talk is to converse with spoken words. It is less formal than speak, and it focuses on at last two people. “Let's sit down and talk over tea." “We need to talk..." (those words you usually don't want to hear from your boyfriend or girlfriend.)

As you can see, there is some overlap. There are instances when some of them are interchangeable, but there are often (sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle) differences which would make one much more appropriate than the others.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/THeNeeno

Also, when you are discussing language, the verb is speak. “I speak Chinese." “I would like to learn to speak Esperanto."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/linsumcd

what language do you speak? would you put say or tell in place of speak?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
MexicoMadness
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I wrote that also, meaning as if part of a discussion of different ways of saying something in a certain situation. If not this way, how would you say that?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piano.z
piano.z
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EXACTLY! It's like the passive voice in English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chrisdodso7

Ah...which is why habla and not hablan

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaydak

Replying to save this gold.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nadanotacaba
Nadanotacaba
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Fluent2B De acuerdo y suena mejor

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SrikantS87

Very helpful comment, thank you!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Katie7511

Thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/caculman
caculman
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After a very long time on Duo, I've been meaning to find out about "Se habla" for a long time. I couldn't understand why it wasn't "Hablemos". Thank you.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amilsaps

This helped me understand it better as well. https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/impersonal-se-in-spanish

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/d.loke
d.loke
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Obviously they speak American

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jjcthorpe

why is the translation not "hablan" if it is "what do THEY speak...."?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnthonyFal1

It may help you to think of the question as 'What do the people/la gente (thus the verb hablar is conjugated as a third-person singular i.e. habla, bebe, descubre, etc.) of America speak?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alsweetex
Alsweetex
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As "se" is the reflexive pronoun as well, it can be helpful to think of the literal translation as:

"What does one speak in America?"

It sounds perhaps a little archaic but I think it puts the meaning across nicely.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnthonyFal1

I don't think it sounds archaic at all. Actually, I think it makes more sense to look at the question like that than how I had suggested.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jfGor
jfGor
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I had this exercise a while back and I put 'What does one speak in America' and it was accepted. If that was what you put, and not accepted, then it has been changed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sohippie

Read my comment above and Fluent2B's. It is because it's the "impersonal se" or passive voice. The sentence in Spanish doesn't actually say "they" anywhere, so it can't be "hablan." Like I said, a more literal translation would be "What is spoken in America" but since that sounds awkward in English, Duo translates it the way we would say it. It's not a literal translation but a functional one.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tango-alpha

It sounds awkward in Spanish too. We would most likely say, "que idioma hablan en America," what language do they speak in America.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jfGor
jfGor
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Yes I agree with you. Why does the exercise use the singular verb but translate it plural? That is because 'se' is third person singular, but a lot people use 'they' as a collective pronoun.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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It's because it's using the "impersonal se" which in English can be expressed in multiple ways: with "you/one/they" or it can be rewritten using the past participle. For example: "se dice que..."="they say that.../it is said that...", "¿cómo se dice...en español?"="how do you say...in Spanish?/ how does one say...in Spanish?/ how is...said in Spanish?".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tango-alpha

Because the literal translation would be "what is spoken in America?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel-in-BC

I learned a new term/phrase from you (in English): functional translation. Thanks; I didn't know how to say that. [This is not sarcastic.]

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DasEisbrecher
DasEisbrecher
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Because you are not talking about anybody in particular. It is a passive "se" (not a reflexive one) so the correct translation would be: What is it spoken in America?" In english you use the third person too :)

If it was a reflexive one, you'd be talking about something you do to yourself, and that makes no sense in this phrase.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amuzulo
amuzulo
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Is the answer to this question English or is it English, Spanish and Portuguese? Would a Spanish speaker typically understand América to be the USA in this question or the Americas?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PfifltriggPi
PfifltriggPi
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Et français! Ne olvidez pas le français! Nous parlons le français ici aussi!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlyssonSilva97
AlyssonSilva97
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Not a spanish speaker, but in Brazil when we say "América" it usually mean the whole continent. It can mean USA too, but the first use is more common. I believe it is the same for spanish speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lafe55
lafe55
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Strange thing that I have noticed is that other languages have a word for a United States citizen and English does not. We never use something like "United Stater", it does not exist in English. But Spanish has estadounidense which means person from the United States. We only have American which is misleading I think to speakers of other languages because we clearly are not the only country in America(s). I suppose it happened as the British language was established here and a distinction was drawn between British and American English speakers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarthijnMu1

They obviously speak Murican....

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BethMalatj

I also want to know

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdes596
jdes596
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AMERICAN!! WOOO

btw sarcasm

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterYR

We speak 'Murican.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Artifiko
Artifiko
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I've always wondered this.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ToddTheOdd
ToddTheOdd
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American obviously

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ank_S

American. Lol

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/myperu

Are they really asking what language do you speak? If not, I don´t understand the question.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sohippie

They don't specifically say language, but yes, it's implied they're talking about language, because what else could it refer to? "What do they speak in America = "What language do they speak in America?" Really, it's written in passive voice, so more literally the translation should be something like "What is spoken in America?" but I guess since that sounds kind of funny in English and we probably wouldn't say it like that, they translate it as "What do they speak in America?"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/myperu

Thanks

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galesl

Wrong translation of América. In English, America means one coutry, the USA. But in Spanish, América means that whole part of the world, which English speakers now call the Americas (except when they talk about Christopher Columbus, when they mean America just like in Spanish).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee

I wanted to answer "What is spoken in America?" but chickend out. Does anyone know if this is accepted? Thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Monicahinty

I put "What do you speak in America?" and it was correct, but as another option they gave "What do they speak in America?" I don't understand why it would be they, because we aren't using hablan. Someone please explain this to me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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This sentence is using the Spanish passive voice, which can be translated multiple ways into English. Either translation that you gave is acceptable in this case. http://www.studyspanish.com/verbs/lessons/pireg.htm

http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/PASSIVE.HTM

http://www.drlemon.com/Grammar/impersonal.html

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ah56
ah56
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I thought ... "que se hablan" = what do they speak.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lafe55
lafe55
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It is more like "what is spoken"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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No, it would just be "se habla". http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/87

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/qstephe
qstephe
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I think it would be clearer if they put "Lenguaje" after "Que" "What language is spoken in America?"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/12345679u
12345679u
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ingles, español... DUH

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CherBatema

What is wrong with "What does he speak in America?"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raymond.easton2

As a direct translation it may be correct, BUT what do that SAY would be more normal in everyday speach.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raymond.easton2

I don't think an English speaker would create this sentence. We may say. What do they SAY in America, meaning, what is their "opinion " in America. Or what language do they speak in America. I take the point that English speakers tend to say, Americans when we should be saying North American's.
We do say South America when we talk about the south. So when the English say America we are referring to the USA, which it probably technically wrong but it still conveys the message.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnglishStudentG

Hello!! I found a video where he explains todo.yo speak Spanish, if you like I can help you! La palabra "se" es como un Objeto indirecto y es muy usada en español---( the word "SE" is as an indirect object) Example: El se baña, Ella se va a dormir. Also comes from the verb "saber" (know) = I don't kwon ---No lo sé Write me! :3 I speak spanish

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deerodd2430
deerodd2430
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Why is they used with habla; the pronoun and verb are not in agreement.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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This is the passive voice, it sometimes gets translated into English as "they..." http://www.spanish411.net/Spanish-Passive-Voice.asp

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CFCHAZARD10

english

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kekistanese
Kekistanese
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I thought they = Hablan ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/makai07

ENGLISH!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deerodd2430
deerodd2430
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Why is habla considered plural in what do they speak? Why is it not hablan?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeyChan242

We speak Russian. Obviously.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HarpoChico

Well put Fluent2B. 'Se' is frequently used in French and Spanish when we would put the passive in English. Having said that, passive use is on the wane in English speaking countries except among old timers like me. This in my opinion is more linguistic impoverishment

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SmazingAJ

Engilsh or better yet Broken American

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livy1231234

Does anyone else notice that the speaker mumbles sorta?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nadanotacaba
Nadanotacaba
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Livy1231234 ¿Qué es el tema y número de la lección?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livy1231234

Todo los lecciones

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deerodd2430
deerodd2430
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Why is habla used when referring to "they"? Shouldn't it be hablan?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/madawhatever

This sentence could also be translated as "What is spoken in America?" or "What does one speak in America?' If the sentence were referring to a specific group of people called "they," then the conjugation would be "hablan." But because this is just a general question, the impersonal se and third person singular are used.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marco644953

I wrote Which language is spoken in America and Duolingo says that it's wrong. I can't understand why because the meaning of my translation is the same.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joseph643581

They speak American

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tanmanrico
tanmanrico
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AmeriCAN

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ntitan
Ntitan
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They speak words in America.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SierraIDK

We speak America!

4 months ago