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Distinguishing between "to wait" and "to hope"

Distinguishing between "to wait" and "to hope"

7
votes

I want to translate these two but the lack of contrast in Spanish is a problem. As the second is used in a religious sense, this must be esperar.

But what can I use for the first to make a meaningful distinction.

26019 views
updated DIC 19, 2011
posted by BigFrank
Welcome to the forum, yes that is a tricky one. - Kiwi-Girl, DIC 15, 2011
Why not give us the sentences you'd like to translate and we can see if we can show you the difference :) - Kiwi-Girl, DIC 15, 2011

22 Answers

9
votes

I think that esperar could be used in either case, and that any such distinction fails to take into consideration the full implication of both words. Consider that when you wait for something, you are essentially in a state of anticipation, expecting or hoping that something will occur. Conversely, when you hope for something, you are in a similar state of anticipation, wanting and waiting for something to occur.

In both instances, we are referring to the idea of one who remains in an anticipatory state. The subtle difference lies in the fact that "hope" carries a stronger implication of desire. This might be illustrated better by taking a few examples from the English translation of the bible in which the words "hope" and "wait" are used, respectively. Consider, for example, that both words could reasonably be substituted for an expression such as "remain in an anticipatory state" or "wait expectantly." Also consider the fact that in each case, the Spanish translation of the bible uses the word "esperar."

Job 6:11

—“What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?
—Cuál es mi fuerza para esperar aún? ¿Y cuál mi fin para que tenga aún paciencia?

1 Thessalonians 1:10

—and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
—y esperar de los cielos a su Hijo, al cual resucitó de los muertos, a Jesús, quien nos libra de la ira venidera.

Genesis 8:12

—So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
—Y esperó aún otros siete días, y envió la paloma, la cual no volvió ya más a él.

In any case, it is generally context which dictates whether or not we attach the idea of desire to the word esperanza. However, in many cases related to the bible, the two ideas are somewhat interchangeable. Notice, for example, that in both of the English translations in which "esperar" represents "waiting," it would not be unreasonable to infer that there was some degree of desire attached to the state of anticipation. For example, in 1 Thessalonians, it would not be strange to assert that the object of anticipation, "His Son from heaven," represents a desirable end. By the same token, in Genesis 8:12, we see Noah and his family waiting for seven days in a state of anticipation, that is, hoping (i.e. anticipating with desire) that the waters might have abated.

Likewise, if we wished to express the idea of someone remaining in some state without the implication desire, we might try a verb such as "permanecer (to remain)," "detenerse (to stay/linger)" or "reposar (to lie/rest)." We can see instances of this in passages such as follows:

Psalms 62:5

—My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
—Alma mía, en Dios solamente reposa; Porque de él es mi esperanza.

2 Samuel 15:28

—See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”
—Mirad, yo me detendré en los campos del desierto, hasta que venga respuesta de vosotros que me dé aviso.

Levitucus 12:4

—Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.
—Mas ella permanecerá treinta y tres días purificándose de su sangre; ninguna cosa santa tocará, ni vendrá al santuario, hasta cuando sean cumplidos los días de su purificación.

updated DIC 18, 2011
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
Moses? o Noah? - 00d7cd75, DIC 15, 2011
Hah! What did I put? Moses? ::shakes his head:: Editing.... - Izanoni1, DIC 15, 2011
This is one heck of an explanation. Thanks for all you put into this. - JoyceM, DIC 15, 2011
"Really?" - kmaakheru, DIC 18, 2011
4
votes

There are three distinct elements which I sense you are trying to convey here. First, it seems that you wish to link the verb "wait" with the earthly, to place this idea in the realm of the ordinary, focusing more heavily on the very mundane tedium and monotony that waiting implies. Second, it seems that you are seeking to counterbalance this thought with the more spiritual concepts of "belief," "hope" and "love." The final requirement, then, is to tie these ideas up with a nice bright ribbon by incorporating the same or similar parallel construction found in the original text. If my impressions are correct, then perhaps you might say something like:

?A pesar de pasar largas horas de soledad, en mi corazón aún tengo fe, aún tengo esperanza, aún tengo amor.

?Vivo una existencia apartada, una existencia que no provoca más que tedio, pero a pesar de todo todavía tengo fe, todavía tengo esperanza, todavía tengo amor.

?Tras largas horas de espera, aún tengo esperanza, aún tengo fe, aún tengo amor.

Unfortunately, these sentences do not convey these ideas with the same degree of simple elegance exhibited by the original. I do, however, think that the juxtaposition of "horas de espera" with "aún tengo esperanza" produces a nice contrast in the last sentence above.

In any case, I also have one more thought regarding the original text. To me, if the entire message is meant to be spiritual in nature, I'm not sure that one must necessarily disavow the idea of "waiting" as something wholly unrelated to ideas of faith and devotion. For example, there are passages in the bible such as Isaiah 40:31 which value waiting as a spiritual endeavor:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

In Spanish, depending on the version, this idea of waiting has been expressed by both the verb "confiar" (Reina-Valera contemporánea)" and "esperar (Reina-Valera 1960)." Taking this into consideration, one might come up with a slightly more parallel translation such as:

?(En Dios) Confio, (a Dios) creo, (a Dios) espero, (a Dios) amo.

or simply

?Confio, creo, espero, amo.

I don't know if this got you any closer to a resolution to your dilemma, but this is all I could come up with at the moment.

updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by Izanoni1
3
votes

There really is no distinction in just one word. Esperar means both. That's pretty common in languages. You have to determine the exact meaning by how it is used.

updated DIC 18, 2011
posted by KevinB
This is not true Kevin. They are absolutely two different words! One is a verb, the other is a virtue. Be careful with this teaching. - farallon7, DIC 15, 2011
2
votes

I try again: A rewrite:

Tengo LA fe, tengo LA esperanza, tengo LA paciencia , tengo EL amor..

I'm trying to convey the meaning rather than the exact expression...If we add the article, I think it changes the feeling. A native who believes in God will shoot me down, no doubt.

Sorry I changed the order, having real computer problems here..

updated DIC 19, 2011
edited by annierats
posted by annierats
fé → fe - Izanoni1, DIC 16, 2011
Thanks Iazoni. Two days without a computer is hard to bear! - annierats, DIC 19, 2011
2
votes

A suggestion:

Espero, creo, deseo, amo...

I''m using a bit of poetic licence. You could obviously say Tengo esperanza, but it ruins the format.

updated DIC 17, 2011
edited by annierats
posted by annierats
2
votes

The problem with giving context is that there is little or none. And what little there is is expressed in my original post, I believe where I stress the religious natue of the verb hope.

"I wait, I believe, I hope, I love" is the full and exact phrase which I wish to translate.

The source ?

It is embroidered on a handkerchief in a display cabinet in the Museum of Austrian Resistance located in the Old Town Hall in Vienna, Austria.

The handkerchief was owned by a Slovenian, Jurj Pasterk who was killeded by the Nazis in Klagenfurt Prison in 1943 and the words were embroidered on the handkerchief by his then cellmate (Dr) Anton Jelen. I believe the words are those of the executed man. No doubt they were originally in Slovene but I am starting from the English.

My dilemna remains.

I am not sure quite how "aguardar" might be fitted in though I very much appreciate the comment. "Aguardar silencio" is the phrase I know but this verb to my eyes at least fails to meet the temporal element of the first verb in the English phrase which I quote.

Many thanks for all contributions, nonetheless. But further contributions are obviously welcome.

updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by BigFrank
The first phrase (I wait) surely is equivalent to "I abide" implying persistence, perseverence, continuence --- permanencer ?? As in Faulkner's description of the negroes, "they abide" - Lector_Constante, DIC 16, 2011
2
votes

Why has no one mentioned "aguardar"? Transitive verb, 'to wait for; to await; to expect; to wait.'

updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by ajaks
hmm, it even sounds like "be on the lookout for" which is a bit different from "wait for" 8-? - Lector_Constante, DIC 16, 2011
2
votes

ian-hill.

  1. The question was about those words in Spanish. Sorry I wasn't clear about that, but in Spanish.
  2. Esperar is a verb. You can conjugate in present, pass and future.
  3. Esperanza is a virtue. You cannot conjugate it! I know they sound very similar and can be confusing, but the context will tell you if you are talking about the verb, or the virtue.
  4. The fact that To wait and to hope are both verbs in English has nothing to do with the nature of this two words in Spanish.
updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by farallon7
Really ? Well you had better explain it then, There are 4 verbs in English A L L related to "esperar" in Spanish. - ian-hill, DIC 15, 2011
If they are both verbs in English then they must both be verbs in Spanish. Both can also be nouns in English - ian-hill, DIC 15, 2011
I never said "esperanza" was a verb - it is also used as a name for females. - ian-hill, DIC 15, 2011
Never mind Ian! - farallon7, DIC 16, 2011
2
votes

How exactly are you planning to use either or both of these words that the answers already given should add to your dilemma?

Could you please give an example sentence in English which could help us to understand why the answers already given are not sufficiently helpful? I do not ask this question defensively but simply to try to understand how you want/plan to use the word expect or hope.

eg: I expect him to arrive tomorrow

I will wait for him to arrive tomorrow

Providing a sentence gives us a context so we can better understand how you intend to use the words wait or hope.

We look foward to hearing from you again wink

updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by FELIZ77
2
votes

esperar = to wait, to expect, to hope, and to wish

Also remember that "esperar" is best equated to the English verb "to await"

updated DIC 17, 2011
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
2
votes

Playing around with these ideas and wracking my brains again, I have rejected both "persist" and "persevere" as English root alternatives as they both imply activity and so lack the passivity of wait.

Playing around with "abide" my printed dictionary (sorry, I am that old !) offered tolerar or soportar, neither of which quite seems correct. To me at least.

Then I had a flash of inspiration:

"Aguanto, creo, espero, amo"

I'll go with that myself I think. Unless someone can offer something better.

If not, many thanks for all the trouble.

updated DIC 16, 2011
posted by BigFrank
¡Perfecto! To bear; to stand; to hold up; to hold on; to endure; to ABIDE ;), and.... finally... to wait for (Mex Sp.)! - ajaks, DIC 16, 2011
Thank YOU, BigFrank. I always relish an opportunity to go rooting through the dictionary like a truffle hog in search of a delectable prize! :) - ajaks, DIC 16, 2011
2
votes

At risk of sounding ungrateful, which I certainly am not, these answers have tended to confirm my dilemna rather than helping to resolve it.

What exactly are you trying to translate? A little context might come in handy.

updated DIC 15, 2011
posted by Izanoni1
1
vote

"Confío" vs "aguanto"

Not an easy decision.

But many many many thanks for the excellent and sensitive posts I have received.

Muchísimas gracias a todos.

updated DIC 18, 2011
posted by BigFrank
1
vote

You have to understand that translation is close to interpretation, but they are not the same.

When you cannot translate you must resort to interpretation, not the other way around.

Esperar = hope/expect/wait

Anyway, it's my opinion. smile

updated DIC 18, 2011
posted by chileno
1
vote

Here's an article that you might find useful also if your sentence contains two clauses separated by que and your second clause is given in the subjunctive then esperar is more likely to mean 'hope'.

Espero que lo pases bien. I hope you have a good time.

or

espero que venga el autobus.

The lack of 'que' + the subjunctive and the context makes clear if you mean wait.

Estoy esperando el autobús.

updated DIC 17, 2011
posted by Kiwi-Girl
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