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Lesson Transcript

Megan: ¡Bienvenidos a Spanishpod101.com!
David: ¡Buenos días! Me llamo David.
Megan: And I’m Megan. Iberian Spanish Series, Lesson 21.
David: “¿Puedes venir? ¡Voy!”
Megan: Last time we looked at some different kinds of Spanish music and verbs related to it, like “oír” and “escuchar”.
David: Today’s lesson references Newbie Lesson 21 – “Come here! I’ll be right there!”
Megan: Also in this lesson we’re going to look a bit at the Imperative in Spanish and how we can ask for something without sounding too demanding.
Megan: Okay! Let’s get started by going back to Newbie Lesson 21 where we heard the following conversation:
ROSANA: ¡Tomás, ven para acá!
TOMÁS: ¿Dónde estás, Rosana?
ROSANA: Estoy en el patio.
TOMÁS: Ya voy para allá.
M3: This time with the translation. Ahora incluiremos la traducción.
ROSANA: ¡Tomás, ven para acá!
F3: “Tomas, come here!”
TOMÁS: ¿Dónde estás, Rosana?
M3: “Where are you, Rosana?”
ROSANA: Estoy en el patio.
F3: “I’m on the patio.”
TOMÁS: Ya voy para allá.
M3: “I’ll be right there!”
Megan: David, would you say “ven para acá”?
David: Maybe. I would say something like “ven para acá” or “ven ‘pa’ acá”, but you know, in Spain it’s not very common to say “acá” or “allá”, it’s more common to say “aquí” or “allí”.
Megan: Yes, I’ve noticed that. Well, now let’s hear what that dialogue sounds like in Iberian Spanish.
David: María, ¿puedes venir?
Megan: Dame un minuto, ¿dónde estás?
David: Estoy en la cocina. ¡Porfa, date prisa!
Megan: ¡Voy!
M3: Once again, slowly. Una vez más, esta vez lentamente.
David: María, ¿puedes venir?
Megan: Dame un minuto, ¿dónde estás?
David: Estoy en la cocina. ¡Porfa, date prisa!
Megan: ¡Voy!
M3: This time with the translation. Ahora incluiremos la traducción.
David: “María, ¿puedes venir?” - “Mary, can you come?”
Megan: “Dame un minuto, ¿dónde estás?” - “Give me a sec. Where are you?”
David: “Estoy en la cocina. ¡Porfa, date prisa!” - “I’m in the kitchen. Please, hurry up!”
Megan: “¡Voy!” - “I’m coming!”
Megan: How’s it going today, David?
David: It’s not being a very good day, a bit hard.
Megan: A little stressful, no?
David: Yes.
Megan: Well, what do we have today here, problems in the kitchen, people not getting along?
David: Well, not really. I’m just in a hurry, “tengo prisa”, but nothing serious.
Megan: What do you think? Do you think it’s normal for Spanish men to cook or, I don’t know, I know a lot of men who cook here in Spain, but what do you think of the normal in general?
David: Well, I couldn’t say what is then a normal situation. It’s hard to say, but I could say that new generations in Spain really believe in equality and we work and share duties at home on their quality point of view. But I’m sure there are still some people, maybe older people, who don’t.
Megan: Yes, definitely! Well, I think that’s true everywhere. But in your house it’s you who cooks at home, right?
David: Well, I think that’s what I make you believe. Yo cocino para las visitas, but it’s Shanti, my wife, who cooks everyday for both of us.
Megan: ¡Ajá! ¡No me digas! You’ve been fooling us all this time.
David: I have to admit.
Megan: Okay! Let’s get into today’s lesson. I think we should probably talk a little bit about the Imperative, or the “Imperativo”, don’t you think so?
David: Sí, yes. There are two examples in today’s conversation. Can you say the first one, Megan?
Megan: Right! In the Iberian version I said: “Dame un minuto”, literally “Give me a minute!”, though it has the meaning more of “Give me a sec!” or “Dame un segundo”.
David: That’s right! “Da” is the Imperative form for the verb “dar”, “to give”, so “da” means “give”, it’s a second person, singular. And we add the pronoun “me” which means “to me”. So, “dame” which is just one word means “give me”. When you use the Imperative, were you been demanding or bossy?
Megan: No, not in Spanish. I think it has the same meaning as in English, it’s just a command, but it’s not bossy. And were you being demanding when you used the Imperative with me?
David: Maybe. I said “¡Porfa, date prisa!” which means “Please, hurry up!”.
Megan: And “Porfa” is a short form for “Por favor”, right?
David: Yes.
Megan: And don’t you also or kids also say “Porfi” instead of “Porfa”, right?
David: Yes.
Megan: Sounds kind of whiny. “¡Porfi! ¡Porfi!”.
David: Yes, kids use that “Porfi”, but you know, I use “Porfa”. It’s not very serious, but you can use it in a casual situation.
Megan: So you probably wouldn’t use it at work, only with people in your immediate surroundings.
David: Yes.
Megan: So, we find the same Imperative form “Da”, which means “you give”, but here we also add the pronoun “te”, which means “to you”. “Date”, literally means “give to you”.
David: Right, though in this example it’s just the pronoun for the verb “darse prisa”, which means “to hurry up”.
Megan: Okay! So it’s just a set expression, “darse prisa”.
David: Yes.
Megan: And it’s interesting that the first Imperative form, “Dame un minuto”, is not demanding at all and we don’t have to add “Por favor”, but in the second example “¡Porfa, date prisa!” we add “please” in the phrase that sounds more demanding.
David: Yes. In fact, I’m being a bit bossy because I need your help.
Megan: It’s funny because I really just started to notice that I think that when you say “Por favor” it’s the complete opposite of English. It actually makes it sound rude, sometimes.
David: Yes.
Megan: Doesn’t it?
David: Maybe.
Megan: “Ponme un café, por favor”. That sounds bad, “Give me a coffee, please!”. It would be better to just say “Give me a coffee!”
David: Yes.
Megan: Isn’t that funny?
David: Maybe, yes.
Megan: Cultural thing.
David: You know, you are being a bit bossy and you try to make it softer by adding “please”. Okay, yes! So, could you review the standard version for this phrase.
Megan: Sure! In the standard version we heard:
F2: “¡Tomás, ven para acá!”
F3: “Tomas, come here!”
Megan: And this is really demanding, there’s no “por favor”, there are exclamation points in the Imperative. Do you think it sounds demanding?
David: Yes, it sounds a bit demanding.
F2: “¡Tomás, ven para acá!”
F3: “Tomas, come here!”
David: I changed a bit just my manners in the Iberian version. “María, ¿puedes venir?”.
Megan: “¿Puedes venir?”, which means “Can you come?”. So, you’re asking and you’re not using the Imperative Mood.
David: But I really need you to come.
Megan: Right! So, it’s basically a command in the form of a question.
David: Yes, right.
Megan: And I think we have here one of those patterns that can help us a lot in improving our Spanish. We have “puedes” plus an Infinitive which means “can you do something”, basically, plus a verb. Do you think that this is something that’s used a lot in Spanish?
David: Definitely. It’s a very good pattern for asking someone to do something. We can even use it to give other sounding nice.
Megan: You sound so Machiavellian.
David: Okay! Not always you use it, you’re ordering someone. For example, “¿Puedes comprar el pan?”.
Megan: “Can you buy bread?”. I think it’s sort of how we say in English “Would you mind buying some bread?” when we’re not really asking whether you would mind, we’re saying do it.
David: Yes. And, you know, you can say “¿Puedes apagar la luz?”.
Megan: “Can you turn the light off?” Maybe sort of indirect form of being bossy.
David: Yes.
Megan: “¿Puedes callarte?”.
David: “Can you shut up?” It really sounds Imperative although you’re asking.
Megan: Right! So, I don’t think we have to worry about it too much, because in English we have a lot of the same sort of subtleties, though I would say in Spanish you tend to be more direct about asking people to do things and some of our excessive politeness isn’t always necessary.
David: Yes. So, we change the Imperative Mood in the standard version:
F2: “¡Tomás, ven para acá!”.
F3: “Tomas, come here!”
David: Into the question in the Iberian version: “María, ¿puedes venir?”, and we may be so demanding. But remember that the intention and the tone itself say sometimes as much as the words themselves.
Megan: David?
David: Yes?
Megan: “¿Puedes terminar?”
David: Can you translate that?
Megan: “Can you finish up already?”
David: Okay!


David: So, I think that will do it for today’s lesson.
Megan: See you soon!
David: ¡Nos vemos pronto!

Dialogue - Iberian

Dialogue - Standard


Please to leave a comment.
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SpanishPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:30 PM
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Thanks to Kevin Macleod for the music in today's lesson. Todays we learned how to give the informal command for someone to "hurry up!". In Spain, they usually say "date prisa". One other way to give this command is to say "apúrate".

SpanishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 01:46 PM
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Hola Jeff,

Thank you!


Let's keep praticing and let us know any question you have.



Team SpanishPod101.com

Friday at 02:17 PM
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Great stuff, you guys!

Thursday at 02:06 AM
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I noticed that they use mandatos very frequently in Spain. Saying "dame" or "dime" isn't considered rude. A waiter will come to your table and instead of saying hi and asking what you would like they just say "dime." Don't think they're being rude or hurried, it's just a part of their culture.

Tuesday at 05:13 AM
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Just going back to this one... I missed the responses. (and that should be "una caña" up there, not "un caña").

I think part of this is really situational. One thing here is that when you go to a busy cafe/bar, you literally get a split second to put in your order or you get passed over. So it's not possible to say "¿Me puedes traer un café por favor? " The barman will be halfway down the counter when you finish with puedes. He who hesitates is truly lost in these situations... If it's not busy, then the most polite thing is to go up to the bar and say "Hola, buenas"--nine times out of ten, the response will be "buenas tardes/buenos días, ¡qué te/os pongo?" To which the response is "ponme un cafe solo" (o lo que sea). Here, saying "hello" and acknowledging the presence of the people at the bar when you walk in is probably more important in establishing a polite interaction. But the formula for politeness could be quite different in a smaller town, different region, etc. Believe it or not, there are sociolinguists who eat this kind of stuff up and spend their whole lives studying it (I am not one of them!).

Saturday at 12:40 AM
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This is a great topic! Subtle as it may be, the connotations can be strong. I would say in Latin America, the rules are similar. However, much of it depends not only on the context, but also on the tone with which you say "por favor".

I've been trying to think of a good way to explain this in writing, which is difficult!!! In Peru, for example, you could say "por favor, me traes un cafecito", which would be the equivalent to "could you please bring me a coffee". To my ear, this is pretty standard. When you say "por favor" this way, you're following protocol. But, if you were to say "me traes un cafecito... por favor", it could come off as insisting, as if you had already asked the waiter/waitress once, and ¿now you have to ask them again because they still haven't brought you the coffee.

In my experience teaching English to Spanish-speakers, we've often discussed the placement of "please" in a sentence and the difference effects it can have on the meaning of the request. I tend to think that the most polite form is to place "please" as close to whatever it is that you're requesting. For example, "could you please bring me a coffee". If we say "please, could you bring me a coffee", it's almost like the "please" is used to get someone's attention; and if you say "could you bring me a coffee please", now again, it sounds like you're insisting.

So, how does this work in Spanish? How does the placement of "por favor" impact the connotation of the meaning of the request?

1) ¿Por favor, me puedes traer un café?

¿2) Me puedes traer un café por favor?

What is the difference in meaning between these two examples?



Friday at 11:57 PM
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Good point that slipped my mind during the lesson: Apúrate isn't used at all here to mean "hurry up." I think this is a strictly Latin American. "En apuros" means to be in a tight spot, in some kind of trouble or broke.

Bouks--It really depends on the context, but all of our incessant American "thank yous" and "pleases" can grate a little in some contexts. For example, if you are at a busy bar asking for coffee or a drink, people tend to be a lot more direct. It's perfectly fine to say: pónme un caña (cuando puedas) or póngame un caña or ¿me pones una caña?. If you just walk up and say quickly (trying to get a word in edgewise as you have to do here): "una caña, por favor", it could inadvertantly come across as rude, depending on your tone. This could also be because "¡por favor!" is also something that people sometimes say when they are trying to get someone to hurry up or do something.

But don't worry about stuff like this too much, Spaniards tend to appreciate any efforts foreigners make to speak the language and aren't at all hypercritical of our (many) missteps.

Friday at 02:21 AM
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"Por favor" sounds more demanding in Spanish in this case? I can see what you mean but I might not always be able to guess when it sounds like that. Is that only in Iberian Spanish? Please specify when "por favor" might sound insistent instead of polite.