The expression "leer las cartillas"
What does "leer las cartillas" mean ? A native speaker was trying to explain the expression, but he lost me completely. Please can anyone show an example of how it's used ?
I have been told this is an idiomatic expression. A native speaker would know it. This is roughly what happened: During a friendly game of tennis doubles, one player was coughing and spluttering throughout the game. Then someone from the opposite side started to remark about his coughing and spluttering ( I think in a light-hearted way, as the match was only a friendly). Then the expression "leer las cartillas" cropped up. When I said I didn't have a clue what "leer las cartillas" meant, he tried to explain it to me, but unfortunately I am none the wiser as I tend to have problems understanding native speakers talking rapidly.
I looked it up on "wikcionario" and the translation of their definition would have it "to severely reprimand someone". Would this make sense in the context of the tennis match? It occurs to me that it might be an equivalent of "to read someone the riot act".
Without further context we have no idea what a cartilla is. Look at our dictionary's definitions. It could be anything from a Dick and Jane primer to military discharge papers.
The verb infinitive is commonly used as a gerund in Spanish and translated as an "ing" verb form so your phrase could be:
Reading the ....and whichever definition of cartillas fits your context.
I echo the need for context Qfreed brings up. But my first thought was maybe it was similar to "the writing on the wall"
I googled the phrase "leer las cartillas" and the main context where it was used, in English, would be something like: "read the rules" or "read the fine print"
Leer las cartillas de las prepagas
se utiliza para revisar la visión en niños y adultos que no pueden leer las cartillas de visión
In the context of your tennis match, I bet someone was saying: "go read the rules"
That will be give somebody a warning, a reprimand. When the childs misbehave you "le lees la cartilla", is like give somebody a ticking off; remind somebody of their duties.
Not often used on adults though but on the context is pretty much safe to say that person was reprimanded for his awful conduct and reminded of the contest rules.
Collins gives "leer la cartilla a alguien", note the singular use, as "to take somebody to task" or "to give somebody a severe ticking off", just as bluedivas has said.
Efectively leer las cartillas doesn't exist, the expression is leer la cartilla, and it's a reprimenda to someone.
but don't forget, it's "leer la cartilla". leer las cartillas sound a bit funny. The reprimenda is one cartilla, you can imagine if it were several cartillas.
"to severely reprimand someone".
that is it!
The native speaker who used the phrase actually said "leer las cartillas" not "leer la cartilla". So either he made a mistake or the expression is more flexible than one imagines. - peterpierre2
HI Peter, where is the guy from? I would not know outside Spain, but the expression is definitely used in singular.
"La cartilla" may be "La cartilla del guardia civil", the booklet with the regulations every Civil Guard had in his pocket during the nineteenth century. It is funny to imagine a semi-literate Civil Guard reading the hunting regulations to a typical illiterate poacher