Averígüelo Vargas -> it is difficult to investigate

0
votes

This is from SpanishDict's dictionary (how's that for a pronunciation, Lazarus')

averiguar [ah-vay-re-goo-ar']
article & verb transitive
1. To inquire, to investigate, to find out.
Averiguarse con alguno -> to bring one to reason
Averígüelo Vargas -> it is difficult to investigate

Could someone explain the last example to me'

3999 views
updated JUL 26, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco

12 Answers

1
vote

This article has been approved by the 23 Academies of Spanish all over the world (included that in USA):

No existe en español diferencia alguna en la pronunciación de las letras b y v. Las dos representan hoy el sonido bilabial sonoro /b/. La ortografía española mantuvo por tradición ambas letras, que en latín representaban sonidos distintos. En el español medieval hay abundantes muestras de confusión entre una y otra grafía, prueba de su confluencia progresiva en la representación indistinta del mismo sonido, confluencia que era ya general en el siglo xvi. La pronunciación de la v como labiodental no ha existido nunca en español, y solo se da de forma espontánea en hablantes valencianos o mallorquines y en los de algunas zonas del sur de Cataluña, cuando hablan castellano, por influencia de su lengua regional. También se da espontáneamente en algunos puntos de América por influjo de las lenguas amerindias. En el resto de los casos, es un error que cometen algunas personas por un equivocado prurito de corrección, basado en recomendaciones del pasado, pues aunque la Academia reconoció ya desde el Diccionario de Autoridades (1726-1739) que «los españoles no hacemos distinción en la pronunciación de estas dos letras», varias ediciones de la Ortografía y de la Gramática académicas de los siglos xviii, xix y principios del xx describieron, e incluso recomendaron, la pronunciación de la v como labiodental. Se creyó entonces conveniente distinguirla de la b, como ocurría en varias de las grandes lenguas europeas, entre ellas el francés y el inglés, de tan notable influjo en esas épocas; pero ya desde la Gramática de 1911 la Academia dejó de recomendar explícitamente esta distinción. En resumen, la pronunciación correcta de la letra v en español es idéntica a la de la b, por lo que no existe oralmente ninguna diferencia en nuestro idioma entre palabras como baca y vaca, bello y vello, acerbo y acervo.

updated JUL 2, 2012
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Reading the responses to your query about Averígüelo Vargas: "it is difficult to investigate", or "Who knows" (the "who" being "Vargas"), I wondered why the phrase should have come to mean this and just who is/was Vargas? ...if even a real person...

My *Gran Diccionario Oxford *was no help:-(

But now having Internet access, I entered the phrase into a search engine to find several items of interest including multiple references to a play titled Averígüelo Vargas by Tirso de Molina. I got the impression that this must be a well-known play from Spanish literature.

I read a synopsis of the play in English, (the actual Spanish text being too long and difficult for me) but although I enjoyed the read, I was more confused after than before. What relationship did the Vargas in the play have to our phrase'...In the play Vargas is a dwarf - no, not really. Vargas is the disguised half-sister of the king...well, the illegitimate...oh never mind, it is all too confusing and, as I said, shed no light on why "Averígülo Vargas" should necessarily have come to mean to investigate something difficult.

And then I happened upon this: http://www.1de3.com/2004/12/12/averiguelo-vargas/
This thread was easy for me to follow in Spanish - maybe I have progressed from beginner to intermediate with that Gran Diccionario, shortcomings or not. Everything seems clear. Francisco de Vargas must be our man!
.
.
.
...and then I noticed a list of other related threads at the bottom of the entry. One reads: "Falsas etimologías (4)"....

Happy for the evening, I won't follow any of those until tomorrow.

updated JUL 26, 2009
posted by Janice
0
votes

Claro, por la prisa lo escribí sin pensar. No obstante, el sentimiento sigue siendo lo mismo ... Gracias.

updated JUL 26, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

Sí, lo eres.

Otra vez más, Gracias.

De nada, pero la frase suena incompleta sin el atributo (lo).

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Sí, eres.

Otra vez más, Gracias.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

¡Gracias, Lazarus! Eres una fuente inagotable. ¿Serías tan amable de suplir un enlace a ese artículo?

http://buscon.rae.es/dpdI/SrvltGUIBusDPD'lema=v

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

A small addendum to Lazarus' post. As indicated by the passage that he quoted, if Spanish orthography were updated to provide a one-to-one correspondence between phonemes and the letters that represent them, there would be a single written symbol to represent them (what are now represented by two symbols). (By the same token, in English we would replace all the occurrences of "ph" by the letter "f" and all the "ck"s by "k".)

There are, however, two ways (allophones) to pronounce this phoneme. One occurs (mostly) between vowels) and is sometimes referred to as a "soft" "b"/"v". the other occurs when the sound occurs after a pause (or certain consonants) and is sometimes referred to as a "hard" "b"/"v" (and is quite similar to the sound of "b" in English, whereas the "soft v/b" has no corresponding sound in English).

In English we retain the "ph" spelling for words derived from Greek and use the "f" for words derived (mostly) from Latin. In Spanish, the difference in spelling is also reflects the origin of the word.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

¡Gracias, Lazarus! Eres una fuente inagotable. ¿Serías tan amable de suplir un enlace a ese artículo'

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

Thanks for the help on Averígüelo Vargas.

The "v" sound to us reminds us of an "f", rather than a "b".What is the proper distinction between the pronunciation of "v" and that of "b"? Is that different in Spain than in Latin America (not trying to lump them all together)?

I have noticed since I began to learn Spanish, that it seems that all native speakers from the Americas that I have met (unless I am forgetting about one) pronounce them the same, or very close to the same. Many of them also commonly misspell words, substituting one for the other, like they do with "s", "c", and "z". I have even seen proper names misspelled ("Bictor", "Vernardo"), although not by their owners, of course.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

What is the proper distinction between the pronunciation of "v" and that of "b"? Is that different in Spain than in Latin America (not trying to lump them all together)?

The difference? None, zero, nill, they are the same sound: "b". The words "Bictor" (made up) and "Victor" sound 100% the same in standard Spanish. We don't have a separate sound for "v". This "v" sound is used only in areas where they speak another language or dialect where the sound exists, and they mix it, plus poor areas with poor education with strong English influence, where they make efforts to pronounce the "v" sound, because not knowing much about Spanish, and listening to foreigners, they think they are mispronouncing.

My parents told me that they had some French teachers when they were at school, and they insisted that they had to pronounce the "v" sound (which exists in French). They did it in class, but all those students stopped doing it as soon as they exited the class. To speak Spanish with a "v" sound gives a very weird foreign sound to us.

I have noticed since I began to learn Spanish, that it seems that all native speakers from the Americas that I have met (unless I am forgetting about one) pronounce them the same.

As it should be, and has been for at least the last 8 centuries.

Many of them also commonly misspell words, substituting one for the other, like they do with "s", "c", and "z". I have even seen proper names misspelled ("Bictor", "Vernardo"), although not by their owners, of course.

The c/z/s confusion never ever happens in those areas of Spain where people do not "sesea", but they are common everywhere else, where people's written Spanish is not up to standard.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Yes Rocco, I belive that is how it sounds.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by eric_collins
0
votes

averiguar [ah-vay-re-goo-ar']

Hahahah! I put that aberration through a very good voice synthesiser (that sounds almost as good as a native), and I have to admit that it is "understandable", but it sounds so harsh..., so... foreign, so... bad. Frankly, they could have, at least, written "bay" instead of "vay", don't you think? The "v" sound to us reminds us of an "f", rather than a "b". It is simply rubbish! I find it appalling that they give people such crap, and people take it happily. I bet that those pseudo-phonetic transcriptions have been generated with a simple algorithm (since the Spanish rules are so simple), and whoever wrote it, didn't even know that in Spanish we don't pronounce the "v" like in English.

Averígüelo Vargas -> it is difficult to investigate

Could someone explain the last example to me?

I don't quite like the translation. It is an expression used in literature or simply rather formal, and I'd translate it as "Who knows!" (this time, that "who" is "Vargas", for whichever the reason), or "God knows!", intonated exactly like you would in English.

updated JUL 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907