HomeQ&ACanten en una voz (What tense is this)

Canten en una voz (What tense is this)


In church tonight we sang Canten en una voz, and Vayan al mundo

Are these orders?

updated MAY 18, 2010
posted by Maria-Russell
In this case, what mood; not what tense. - 0074b507, MAY 16, 2010
o.k. consider the question asked, what mood is it? - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010

4 Answers


Yes. Canten is the plural imperative for cantar, and vayan is the plural command for ir. smile

updated MAY 18, 2010
posted by Delores--Lindsey
Sorry about using two words: command and imperative are the same thing (as I'm sure you know! :-) - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 16, 2010
Sing in one voice; Go to the world. - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 16, 2010
Delores, I am also confused about the English translation which read "Let us sing in one voice" - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010
because I thought canten would mean ellos and not nosotros - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010
It can also be "Canten ustedes"; Sing (All of you sing) You wouldn't give a command to "them" because the person/s have to be present to be commanded. Let us sing would be "camtemos." :-) - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 17, 2010
Oops...Cantmeos, not camtemos...lol mea culpa At any rate, it seems that someone was "liberal" with the translation to make it more personal. Let us sing in one voice would certainly be a good way to title it for a choir. - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 17, 2010
I accepted the answer although I don't think you have that spelled right. ┬┐cantmeos? - Maria-Russell, MAY 18, 2010

Antique second person plural imperatives preserved by the church where you will frequently be addressed by the priest as "vos" ("y'all" in the old form).

Also see subsidiary question about translation of "canten en una voz" as "let's sing in one voice" - the imperative in Spanish is not always translated - right or wrong - as a definitive command but often as a serious suggestion. Hence the "let us sing" rather than "y'all will sing (or else)" version.

As a minor detail, I'd like to see the English as "let's sing with one voice". It sounds marginally more English to me. "Speak with one voice" is used all over the place so why not "sing"?

updated MAY 16, 2010
edited by geofc
posted by geofc
isn't canten and vayan 3rd person plural? I do not understand how it could be 2nd person plural? - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010
Latin America uses 3rd person, plural for 2nd person plural (not vosotros) - 0074b507, MAY 16, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to answer, but I don't know what you mean by "see subsidiary question." - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010

I'll just concentrate on learning the language. I'm not ready for the art of translation.

updated MAY 16, 2010
posted by Maria-Russell

Delores, I am also confused about the English translation which read "Let us sing in one voice"- Maria-Russel

Sometimes translations are modified slightly in songs to make the words line up with the melody, so it is probably not a literal translation. Also remember that music is a form of poetry, and what sounds more poetic or fitting in the song might vary depending on the language.

updated MAY 16, 2010
edited by Delta33
posted by Delta33
I guess I'm not ready for the art of translation. I'm just trying to learn the language. - Maria-Russell, MAY 16, 2010
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