HomeQ&AWell just got in a fight with my Spanish teacher who is from Mexico over pretender, she says it just means fingir

Well just got in a fight with my Spanish teacher who is from Mexico over pretender, she says it just means fingir

5
votes

and nothing more. Never to aspire to , never to intend. Just to pretend. I wonder if it is different in Mexico because her Spanish seems really good. She is clearly native, I couldn't win so I didn't argue and just went with "Quiero ser profesor".

5090 views
updated JUL 23, 2010
edited by jeezzle
posted by jeezzle
hehe :) - mortonsalt, JUL 14, 2010

13 Answers

6
votes

If it makes you feel any better, my brother was sent to the principal's office for arguing with his high school Social Studies teacher. The teacher insisted that everyone in South America spoke Portuguese. My brother insisted that we had just lived in Venezuela for two years, and everyone there spoke Spanish. So she sent him to the principal's office.

I've taught school, and I can vouch for the fact that teachers are people, and fallible. Many of them are also very touchy about being proven wrong, especially in front of the whole class. In this case, it would also mean being proven wrong about your native language. Tread lightly.

updated JUL 14, 2010
edited by KevinB
posted by KevinB
My lovely wife is a native Spanish speaker and a Spanish teacher. Trust me, you would not want to try to prove her wrong at anything. - petersenkid2, JUL 13, 2010
5
votes

I tried to just walk from this post. But I can't. de corázon.

Find some way to turn your analytical brain off... AND WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T TELL HER YOU WANT AN "A" IN THE CLASS. ...and please don't start tutoring the other students and then giggle with them, tell jokes or smile in class while the teacher is talking. Don't ask the teacher if you can leave class or if there is a way for you to test out. Leave your cell phone, computer, iphone powered down and in your backpack or even better at home. Don't bring a dictionary.

Read the book. It is my guess the book defines pretender pretty close to the way she explained it. Hopefully, she will use the book test so that you can just rely on the book. If not, you'll have to deal with her whim in grading you and the class. Let the other students bargain/harass/negotiate for points. You stay out of it.

Tell yourself it is okay if you get a B. You won't. Teachers can spot A students a mile away. And believe me you are screaming it out even when you''re just sitting there. Somehow the A students can't see it in themselves and they want the teacher to validate it in class. But see, you are so far off the scale that she will loose the class trying to validate you. When the teacher doesn't give that validation the A student sometimes goes crazy, unnecessarily. What teacher will ever say to a student don't worry you have an A.

You did all your studying for this class years ago and if there was any justice to this world they'd have assessed your knowledge and placed you in a masters or doctoral program.

Relax, and let the other students carry the class, it is all about them.

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by aprender100
Don't worry I don't try to pretend I am good at Spanish compared to her. And I would never giggle at anyone. I intend to study hard and be a good student. The course actually seems really cool. We are watching "Como agua para chocolate" in 2 days, and - jeezzle, JUL 13, 2010
Volver after that. A bunch of great movies and doing projects on them. The great thing is that we only talk in Spanish, and she isn't letting any notes used on the projects. All off the cuff Spanish. I wonder if everyone in the class in gonna fail. - jeezzle, JUL 13, 2010
It's gonna be tough, it's no easy ace in the hole even if I am decent at Spanish, She already made me a team leader of the three teams that we split into. And I barely even opened my mouth. Still I am questioning lately if I am actually pretty good. - jeezzle, JUL 13, 2010
Ha. See pegged you as team leader already. I feel better after reading your response. You are going to have a blast!!! - aprender100, JUL 13, 2010
4
votes

Once again, the problem stems from an ignorance of English (or, at least, its history). The original meaning of "pretend" in English is exactly the same as it is in Spanish (not "fingir) but ""aspire" / "hold oneself forward as ..." The only modern usage (that I can think of) is in the phrase "the pretender to the throne". This, of course does not refer to someone who dresses up like the king and hopes to be mistaken for the king, but, rather, the person in line for succession.

Spanish dictionary makers can/should be excused for having been misled by an old usage of "pretend" (which parallels the current use in Spanish) when modern English has morphed the usage to refer to dissimulation.

updated AGO 31, 2010
posted by samdie
Now this is very interesting. Thanks! The example of "the pretender to the throne" really nails it. :-) - Delores--Lindsey, JUL 14, 2010
4
votes

Pretender is used to mean to intend to in all the newspapers I've been reading recently from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, not to mention the Spanish language version of El Prisionero de Azkaban I'm reading, published in Argentina. I would suggest that you search for a few instances of its use in this context in online Spanish language newspapers and politely show them to your teacher. Arguing/fighting with a teacher tends to be counterproductive, even if you're right.

Come to think of it, you should just be able to show her the definition in a dictionary. Try to find it in a printed paper dictionary. Teachers tend to give these more credence.

updated JUL 15, 2010
edited by KevinB
posted by KevinB
I would recommend that you do this in private and not in the classroom in front of the other students! - Pajaro44, JUL 14, 2010
Ditto! - 005faa61, JUL 14, 2010
4
votes

Hrm. Good advice from Kevin. Also, I looked up pretender in the RAE and the first entry read "Querer ser o conseguir algo," which sounds about perfect for your example of "Quiero ser profesor." I don't know anything about this usage being unknown in Mexico.

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by MacFadden
This is exactly how "Pretender" is used in Mexico - it's not unknown. "Fingir" is the common usage for "Pretend." This appears to be a case of a misinformed teacher - 005faa61, JUL 14, 2010
3
votes

The word can be used both ways, for example:

"No pretendas saber de lo que hablo" = "Don't pretend you know what I'm talking about"

and

"Pretendo descubrir qué trama" = "I intend to know what he's up to".

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by MadderSky
3
votes

I would go with copying this from RAE,

pretender.

(Del lat. praetend?re).

  1. tr. Querer ser o conseguir algo.

  2. tr. Hacer diligencias para conseguir algo.

  3. tr. Dicho de una persona: Cortejar a otra.

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by 00494d19
3
votes

I agree that you are right.

I am one of those students that is not afraid to correct teachers if I believe they are mistaken, and not only that, but I am also very passionate (avoiding to use "stubborn" haha) when it comes to making them see why they are wrong. However I feel blessed that I have open minded teachers and I feel confident in asking any type or question, making any kind of comment and whatnot.

But yes: sometimes is better to just acknowledge their point of view, keep in mind that teachers also make mistakes and not accept it or be conscious about it. Sometimes it also helps if you keep quiet for the rest of the class, and when you get home look up the information from an official source (RAE is the "law", so it's best to bring any information from that site (or book) ) and next class say something like "Teacher, our discussion made me feel very curious about the meaning of the word, so I looked it up, and RAE says this about it." And do not enter any kind of argument again. Just give them the paper and walk away. More like: "look what I found. Care to read?"

On another note, I have learned that correcting teachers can earn you future resentments... so I've toned it down, too.

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by MadderSky
2
votes

I agree with you both, but sometimes it's better for your grade to just go "hmmm. hm.... you are right, I am a good student, I am not troublesome...."... Gotta get that A at all costs.

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by jeezzle
Ha. True, true. - MacFadden, JUL 13, 2010
There's that. Sometimes I wish I'd thought that way when I was in school. Not really. I enjoyed arguing, and I hated having someone tell me I was wrong when I knew I was right. I still do. I've just learned discretion and the value of silence. - KevinB, JUL 13, 2010
Learning something about diplomacy (and women) are you? - 0074b507, JUL 14, 2010
Married for 25 years this week, to an ex-teacher. I've had to learn a little bit. - KevinB, JUL 14, 2010
2
votes

Could it perhaps be a case of she knows what she's saying in Spanish and you know what you're saying in English but there's a bit of a misunderstanding somewhere in the middle?

Just looking for another possibility that either you or she are saying one thing and being understood as something else.

Now I've probably confused everyone - but I know what I mean lol smile

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
Actually, I understand what you are saying. Now, should I be worried? je je je Just kidding, Marie Claire. :-) - Delores--Lindsey, JUL 14, 2010
lol :) in answer to your question Delores - 'yes probably' jeje - Kiwi-Girl, JUL 14, 2010
2
votes

Pretenderé hacer lo que me manda la maestra. Es mucho mas fácil! I will try to do what the teacher tells me to do! It's easier that way!

updated JUL 14, 2010
edited by 002262dd
posted by 002262dd
Ah! Un hombre inteligente por supuesto! :-) - Delores--Lindsey, JUL 14, 2010
1
vote

Just a note:

Pretender cannot be used sinonomously with the English pretend - yes in some cases they can be translated as the other but only in a limited sense. Many dictionaries actually carry an aviso 'no confundir pretender con 'to pretend' smile -

So for those learning to use the verb it is probably better to stick to 'pretender' to mean intend or expect etc and use 'fingir' for the pretend that you are used to in English smile

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
0
votes

jeezle,
Come on!! You are definitely knowledgeable in the Spanish language. I know you know that! Not to say you can't learn more but... As a teacher, I am infallible and don't always know what to say or do but I know how to find the answers and that is the most important skill a person can have. Knowing how to learn, this teacher sees something great in you (yes, I know you know) and hopefully she won't be too much of a hard case in grading, it's the journey we take to attaining knowledge not the end result. The journey leads us there, you and I both know you'll get to the end so that is set, it's the how that is exciting!! smile Good luck and keep your head up!!

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by Jason7R
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