2 Vote

I just saw a commercial for a lawyer, and it said "se habla Español". Why do they say it that way -- what does it even mean? Why can't they just put, "We speak Spanish" or "Hablamos Español"?

  • Posted Jun 6, 2011
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5 Answers

3 Vote

It is the equivalent of the English "Spanish is spoken here", where you are not specifically mentioning who speaks it.

  • Oh, alright that makes sense. Thanks for the quick response - SonrisaDelSo Jun 6, 2011 flag
3 Vote

Se+ verb in the third person is a way of forming the passive voice that is quite commion so literally it means Spanish is spoken. There is a lesson on this on Spanishdict.

1 Vote

Even "Spanish spoken here" the passive "is" is often left out in English.

The passive is used when you don't know who is doing something or do not want to say who is doing it.

It is used a lot by politicians, diplomats and lawyers for obvious reasons.

1 Vote

So...se + baila. What would that mean?

The "se" in your examples basically conceals the agent, the one who perform the action, thus indicating that the action is performed, but who or what does it is not presented as relevant.

Aquí se come bien. = You can eat well here. (not specifically "you", but anyone)

Se ve mucho fútbol. = People watch a lot of soccer.

Se lee menos que antes = People read less than before.

Se compran libros usados = We buy second hand books.

  • Ohhhh! The lightbulb just went off...thanks, Lazarus! - SonrisaDelSo Jun 6, 2011 flag
0 Vote

So...se + baila. What would that mean?

  • People dance here, without referring to anyone in particular. - lazarus1907 Jun 6, 2011 flag
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