This verb is making me crazy. It seems to work like gustar in addition to being reflexive.
cuando se me antoja = when I feel like it. Which is the reflexive pronoun, I think it's me, but then again me might be an object pronoun.
se le antojó un helado = he wanted ice cream, querer is looking better all the time.
3.se me antoja que va a llover = it seems to me that it is going to rain.
no hace más que lo que se le antoja = he does only what he feels like.
se nos antojó ir al cine = we fancied going to the cinema.
The nos helps some, but I need someone to decode these sentences for me & try to explain.
Let me try again: that 'se' is not reflexive; this is the best way to understand it.
Verbs like "arrepentirse", "gangrenarse" or "acuclillarse" only exist with that pronoun; you cannot omit it, and there is no point in trying to undertand why is there. It appears to have no meaning, but it can not be removed either (I won't go into details about why this is here - trust me on this).
Other verbs can be modified by adding this 'se', so that you alter their meaning and the way you use them, ending up with a completely new dfiferent verb (almost like "give" and "give in"). In other words, this 'se' is sometimes just part of the verb, and plays no reflexive role whatsoever, and Spanish has probably at least 1000 verbs where this 'se' can be applied. Examples: "acordar" means "to agree" and it is transitive; "acordarse" means "to remember", it is intransitive and it needs the preposition 'de'.
On the other hand, indirect objects are often used to indicate to whom does the action of the verb concern, and in some cases the sentence sounds incomplete or unacceptable without it. Examples: "perder (algo)" means "to lose (something)", but "perderse algo" means "something gets lost" (it has another meaning, but that's another story). The second meaning does not involve any agent, but if you are involved in the loss (or you actually lost it yourself), you can add an indirect object: "Se perdió" (it got lost)", "Se me perdió" (it got lost "to me" -> I lost it). Verbs that are practically incomplete without this indirect object are the likes of "gustar", which sound unusual (or wrong) without it.
A small number of verbs actually exhibit -or can exhibit, depending of the meaning- both features simultaenously: they need this 'se' to exist, and they are incomplete wihout a reference to someone. "Antojarsele (algo a alguien)", "ocurrírsele", "olvidársele", "apañárselas", and "arreglárselas" are other examples.
Does this help'
Antojo is what got all this started. I see a word, look for it's meaning & then look for the verb
You give me a lot more credit than I deserve, All the sentences & translations were provided as examples in the dictionaries.
Yes, it helps a lot & thank you very much for your time and patience. I just have to mull this over for awhile. Some things I have no problem with, others, it just won't penetrate. I'm printing your response.
Seems to me you know more than you think.
Are you familiar with the noun antojo which means craving'
"Se me antoja que va a llover" was more common a few generations ago, but nowadays is rare probably everywhere, and it sounds almost literary. You can find it every now and then, though.
Your examples are correct... As a native spanish speaker I've never heard the third example. In Argentina we say instead: "Se me hace que va a llover" meaning I think or it seems to me. The other examples you posted are quite common, but you seem to understand them!! Very Good!
This cannot be "decoded" (as you say) unless you use technical grammatical terms:
cuando se me antoja: "se" is an indirect object, and the verb can be regarded as "antojarse", where this "se" has no function whatsoever (pronominal verb). So yes, it is similar to "gustar", but it requires this extra reflexive pronoun with no meaning, and without which it cannot be used. This verb should appear in the dictionary as "antojarse".
se le antojó un helado: Same thing
3.se me antoja que va a llover: Same construction as the other one, but meaning "It seems to me that". In English the construction is identical here, funny enough.
4 and 5 are like 1 and 2.