Because it translates more directly as I gives blame to the son. Just as de el is combined to form "del" for certain phrases, a and el are combined to form "al". It is easier to say than a el hijo - and the "a" is necessary in Spanish to form the sentence correctly. Just because we would not say "blame to the son" in English does not mean that it is not proper in other languages.
yea so when you say "Excuse me" in english you are saying "do not accuse me" and in spanish "perdoname/discúlpeme" is saying "Do not blame me or i am not to blame". Of course the words do not have these exact meanings when being used, but it is neat to see where they came from.
English often skirts around a given idea by utilizing many completely different words which have an indirect association of a given idea and occur as facets of it, as it were. Often the core idea does not even have a specific English word and may only be understood by an entire sentence needed to explain it.
Spanish is entirely different. It does not skirt around a given idea by hosting a variety of nuances relative a core idea. Instead, it utilizes the core key word directly and adopts it to all possible situations it applies.
For example, let's take the Spanish word, "duro."
What does duro mean? Duolingo simplies it by using the word, "hard." Whereas in English duro can mean,.hard, tough, harsh, difficult, stiff, severe, hardcore, strong, stale, stern, stubborn, unkind, intensive, adamant, hard-hearted, hard-boiled. Duro means all these total different English words. And they all together, combined, are what duro actual means.
To really understand what duro means at its core beyond the simple idea of its meaning, "hard," it is necessry to crunch all the various possible English translations together in one's mind, then mush them up running them in a blender, as it were, so you get a single flavored soup. Then you will have what the Spanish word means.
Look at the above list. Work out the common idea. You may see that it pertains to.something that cannot be changed. It innately resiststs being alftered in any way. It cannot be transformed. Or effected. And this enduring condition automatically naturally provides a sense of rigidity or firmness. This is what duro means and pertans to. And so the word, duro, can be used in any situation which this fundamental idea concerns. No variety of other words required Duro includes them all.
Many Spanish words work this same way.
English applies a variety of variations on a given theme, Spanish does not, but goes right to the heart of a matter. This is why it is a waste time, energy, and mental power focusing on the many different ways something can be said in English. The focus is best placed on understanding the all encompassing Spanish idea for which there often is no accurate English translation, but only words skirting it
hope this helped
I find your insights very helpful, AkiaSim. This has been something I have been trying to wrap my brain around for years. I have been in and out of Spanish classes since middle school, and nothing has ever really seemed to click. Recently I've taken up Spanish again along with a few friends, and the discussions my friends and I have help a lot, but this one comment will seriously fundamentally alter how I go about learning Spanish. Thank you.
It has less to do with English "skirting around" anything as it does the fact that languages evolve, especially when foreign words are introduced. For example: the word "cool" in English. People started telling others to "cool down" when they got angry, red, hot and unlikable. Thus "cool" became a word used to describe something that is likable. Now when you look up the word "cool" it says more than the state of having a low temperature. American culture and the flexibility of the language has lead to many alternative definitions. English is a global language used as the standard for maritime, aviation and many other industries by all nations of the world. Imagine how each culture using English affects the definitions of the words. Look at how different Americans speak compared to British or how Mexican natives speak compared to Spanish. As any languages spreads, it's dictionary grows.
This is just what I was going to mention. "Culpa" is actually the same as its Latin root, "culpa", meaning "fault". "Culpa" is also used in law in English to mean unintended fault (contrasted with dolus, or intended fault). The term "culpability" originates from "culpa", meaning "worthy or blame or fault".
Someone made a post on this. Its simply a contraction of "a" and "el"
I cannot give an example (sorry! :-( ) but I know for sure there are many helpful posts on the Internet and that @EugeneTiffany (ET) can help you big time. She has even helped me when I was struggling badly.
I think you will probally realize that the word for 'son' is hijo and the word for child is also 'hijo' and so is Niño; Niño also means 'boy'; There is not a separate word for 'child' in Spanish. The Spanish language always uses the masculine form when the genders are mixed. In our sentence we did not have a mix of genders, however I believe you can see that when it is sort of generic in meaning, it will take the masculine form.
Yes. Niño is "child" or "boy". Niña is girl. There are also the words chico and chica -- I think for slightly older children. Also muchacho and muchacha (I think) are for older children.
There was a DL example of hijo translated as "child" and it surprised me; I had never heard that before anywhere. But when I look it up, "child" is an option for hijo.
I use hijo for "son" only, except for something like "Do you have any children?" = ¿Tienes hijos? (Because, as jfgordy says above, the masculine is used for mixed genders in Spanish and in English, we use "children" generally for this question and not "Do you have any sons or daughters?")
Hijo/hijos are child/children in the sense that you are discussing them being somebody's children. In other words, 'offspring'. But we don't say things like “Do you have offspring?" in English. We use the word 'children'. It is children in this sense, not children in a general chronological age sense. So, “Niños" play on a playground (chronological age children) or “Sus/mis hijos" play on the playground (your/my offspring children) play on the playground. Hijos can be any age; they don't stop being somebody's sons/daughters. Niños are within a certain age range.
'al' is a contraction of 'a' plus 'el'; In Spanish there is the use of a preposition 'a' between the verb and the direct object in a sentence when the direct object is a person or something that has been personalized, such a pet. This is called the personal 'a' by most people. And the 'a' is not translated into English but it must be there. When you get 'a' and 'el' together they become 'al'. This little prepositions causes a lot of confusion because it is not always used when speaking in general terms ex: No conozco una sola bisabuela (I don't know a single great-grandmother).The main exception to this rule is that certain pronouns, such as alguien and nadie, always require the personal a when used as direct objects, even when they refer to no specific person. Example: No conozco a nadie. I don't know anybody. Sometimess when you see the 'a' it just translates as 'to' or 'at'. and sometimes the verb requires it. Anyway when 'a' gets with 'el' they become 'al':]
If you literally translate the sentence it': the mother blames at the son' which doesn't make much sense in english, but i think i understand now! 'a' is definitely needed as it is a personal thing and 'el' is 'the' and if you have to have 'a' when it is an person/animal you feel strongly towards it ends up being 'al'?
Yes, the "personal a" goes before persons or animals if they are direct objects. I used to think it was only pets, but I've since learned otherwise through knowledgeable DL users.
The whole "personal a" subject is more complicated than that and even drifts into controversy, but let's leave it at that for now. :-)
And, yes, the al is only when the a is followed by el (you can have a la, a las and a los , etc. And the al can also be when the a = "to" (not just the "personal a".
I have a question. I have come across a phrase before "no es culpia mia" (roughly translated into "it's not my fault) in a Latin American dialect. In this instance, could we also say "the mother faults the child" (as in put the blame on the child-- to fault them of X accident) etc? Or is Duolingo just focusing on Latin American Spanish in a universal sense?
It's fine if it is. I did put blame, and I am not accusing DL of being incorrect. I am just very curious as to how they judge what is being said in terms of the Spanish language and dialects.
I do understand in a sense that it would be confusing for beginners, and almost impossible to consider every phrase from each country's individual dialects, but I do also think that we should be able to add our own Alternate Phrase/Word translations/lists as we find them, especially on the mobile app, as I find using this handy for me. As well as Resource Links for us to store on the app for easy reference.
It would save a lot of hassle and help a lot of people out, in my honest opinion, and I think that id the dictionaries were enabled for online sharing (optional) and enough people added similar (or the same translations), they could also be accepted within the app as a universal translation, instead of having to get DL to add them manually.
Wontlookdown, well, I've seen some of the "crowd-sourced" English offered here, and lots of it is not worthy of entering into a dictionary, unfortunately. While we do not need to "speak" formally here in the forum, people from countries all over the world are counting on us to be accurate, or at least say when something is regional, idiomatic, or slang, so they won't be learning to speak incorrectly. One example I remember well was when a "native English speaker" said that the past tense of "pet" (meaning to stroke an animal affectionately) was "pet." To say "I pet a dog yesterday" is WRONG, but that was apparently the way the person had heard it all his life, so he THOUGHT it was correct.
Lots of the more advanced folks give very helpful links, which I open and then send to my email account on my computer, so I can study them "later." (I do not study enough, so I am slow to advance, but I am a "casual-level learner.") I think the forum folks are very generous of their time and thank the ones who still show up and help out the "tree climbers," the ones who have not completed making the learning tree turn gold through level 25! :-)
So this ''a'' here is not the personal ''a'', one is actually supposed to say ''culpar a alguien'', right - to give blame to someone? And it this were another verb that called for the use of a direct object, would we then say ''a el hijo'' or would we instead merge the ''a'' and ''el'' into ''al'' ? :)