Un secreto vale lo que aquellos de quienes . . .

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Un secreto vale lo que aquellos de quienes tenemos que guardarlo.

This is the first sentence from the first chapter of La sombra del viento (madera labrada was from the introduction) -- probably not a good portent of my success in the chapter. I can't figure out what the construction means here.

A secret is worth that which they of who we have to keep it.
A secret is worth that which something of we who have to keep it.

That doesn't make sense. What's going on here? I need an explanation of how aquellos and quienes are functioning in the sentence.

4841 views
updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by Natasha

10 Answers

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James Santiago said:

*"More or less"? a) I did say that I thought it was elliptical.

b) Your rendering in Spanish is how I would be inclined to translate what I offered (in English).*

The only "less" part is that I would substitute "worth" for "importance," giving us "The worth of a secret depends on the worth of those from whom we wish to guard it." I like how you changed the verb valer into the noun worth, which makes the sentence much cleaner in English. Nice job!


Americans seem to always to want to reduce everything to "money". jeje

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by samdie
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"More or less"?
a) I did say that I thought it was elliptical.
b) Your rendering in Spanish is how I would be inclined to translate what I offered (in English).

The only "less" part is that I would substitute "worth" for "importance," giving us "The worth of a secret depends on the worth of those from whom we wish to guard it." I like how you changed the verb valer into the noun worth, which makes the sentence much cleaner in English. Nice job!

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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samdie said:

Natasha said:

lazarus1907 said:

The sentence does indeed suggests that there is a verb missing, but James' sharp intuition has come up with the only possible explanation... even before I could understand it myself. If it makes you feel better, the sentence made me confused too.

That frightens me beyond words . . .

Are you under the impression that we're running some sort of "tag-team" comedy routine for your amusement?

Ummm -- I have no idea what you're talking about, but as three of the experts on the forum have now answered my question, I'm happy as a pig in slop!

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Natasha said:

lazarus1907 said:

The sentence does indeed suggests that there is a verb missing, but James' sharp intuition has come up with the only possible explanation... even before I could understand it myself. If it makes you feel better, the sentence made me confused too.

That frightens me beyond words . . .


Are you under the impression that we're running some sort of "tag-team" comedy routine for your amusement? Just in case ("jeje").

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by samdie
0
votes

lazarus1907 said:

The sentence does indeed suggests that there is a verb missing, but James' sharp intuition has come up with the only possible explanation... even before I could understand it myself. If it makes you feel better, the sentence made me confused too.

That frightens me beyond words . . .

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

James Santiago said:

I think samdie has the meaning right, more or less, but there does seem to be a verb missing, which would go with the "lo que." I interpret it as if there were another verb implied in there. Un secreto vale lo que valen aquellos de quienes tenemos que guardarlo

With that added, you can probably see how it falls into place.


"More or less"?
a) I did say that I thought it was elliptical.
b) Your rendering in Spanish is how I would be inclined to translate what I offered (in English).
c) Somewhere in here I'd add a "smiley" for a supercilious {I know that this is redundant) "raised eyebrow" but I don't like "smileys".

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by samdie
0
votes

The sentence does indeed suggests that there is a verb missing, but James' sharp intuition has come up with the only possible explanation... even before I could understand it myself. If it makes you feel better, the sentence made me confused too.

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

James Santiago said:

I think samdie has the meaning right, more or less, but there does seem to be a verb missing, which would go with the "lo que." I interpret it as if there were another verb implied in there.

Un secreto vale lo que valen aquellos de quienes tenemos que guardarlo

With that added, you can probably see how it falls into place.

Thanks! That fixed it. I needed to think of de as "from," not "of."

A secret is worth that which they (are) from whom we have to keep it.

Now for the second sentence (ha ha).

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I think samdie has the meaning right, more or less, but there does seem to be a verb missing, which would go with the "lo que." I interpret it as if there were another verb implied in there.

Un secreto vale lo que valen aquellos de quienes tenemos que guardarlo

With that added, you can probably see how it falls into place.

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

I'm departing from the text a bit (but it seems to me to be rather elliptical); I'd offer "The worth of a secret depends on (the importance) of those from whom we wish to guard it."

Or "it's importance to those from..."

updated OCT 6, 2008
posted by samdie