HomeQ&ASe habla español

Se habla español

2
votes

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"?

60704 views
updated Apr 14, 2016
posted by SonrisaDelSol
Hi sonrisa, español always lowe case:) - 00494d19, Jun 6, 2011
Excellent question: :) - 0066c384, Jun 6, 2011
Sorry, Heidita. Bad habit! Thank you, dogwood! - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011

5 Answers

3
votes

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

updated Jun 6, 2011
posted by lazarus1907
Oh, alright that makes sense. Thanks for the quick response - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011
3
votes

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.

updated Apr 14, 2016
posted by BellaMargarita
Gracias! - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011
can you tell me which lesson it is? Thank you - chenyihsin, Apr 14, 2016
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.

updated Aug 10, 2011
edited by samdie
posted by lazarus1907
Ohhhh! The lightbulb just went off...thanks, Lazarus! - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011
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.

updated Jun 6, 2011
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
Ok, thanks! - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011
Jaja, about the politicians...:D - SonrisaDelSol, Jun 6, 2011
0
votes

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

updated Jun 6, 2011
posted by SonrisaDelSol
People dance here, without referring to anyone in particular. - lazarus1907, Jun 6, 2011
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