HomeQ&Ahabíais quedado -- questions about reading and about tenses

habíais quedado -- questions about reading and about tenses

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Here are some sentences from the book I'm reading.

--Ya pensaba que te habías perdido por ahí --dijo--. Llamó Tomás Aguilar. Dice que habíais quedado. ¿Te olvidaste'

  1. Does anyone else (English speakers) have the problem I do when reading Spanish? I'm missing the markers that are usual in English, so I completely misinterpret sentences and have to keep going back and re-reading them. The most common example is where a verb, like "pensaba," could mean either "he thought" or I thought." Presumably this causes no problems to Spanish speakers, but it confuses me every time because there's no pronoun to "mark" it for me.

The other thing that caused me major problems here was that I thought quedado was the past participle of quedar, until finally in frustration I looked it up and found out that it is a noun meaning "appointment."

Finally, when reading a sentence with inverted order ("Llamó Tomás Aguilar), my mind interprets Tomás Aguilar as the direct object, not the subject.

Are all these things clear on a first reading to a native Spanish speaker? Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with these kinds of problems (misinterpreting the direction a sentence is going)?

2) Why does this paragraph change from imperfect (habíais) to preterite (olvidaste)? To me it makes it sound like having the appointment was ongoing, but forgetting was sudden. Why is
"dice" in present tense when nothing else is? Are there other ways the verbs could be conjugated here, without substantially changing the meaning'

3209 views
updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by Natasha

15 Answers

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James Santiago said:

It is my understanding that quedar can be used to mean "meet" (in the sense of having a meeting with someone, not meeting for the first time), or to come to an agreement on something. Since I wasn't sure of the overall context, I chose a word that could accommodate both senses. "To have an arrangement" can, in some contexts, mean "to have a meeting," although that wouldn't be explicitly clear without context. With full knowledge of the story, I might change my translation.

I interpret the sentence here to mean that the speaker is saying that Tomás called to ask where the other guy was, apparently because the other guy didn't show up for the meeting. In that situation, we could say arrangement, but if that is certainly the case, we might also say "Says you were supposed to get together."

In the story, "supposed to [have had an arrangement to] get together" is the right meaning.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Oh, I see, we would use then quedar en algo though.

Habíais quedado...cannot mean come to an agreement.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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It is my understanding that quedar can be used to mean "meet" (in the sense of having a meeting with someone, not meeting for the first time), or to come to an agreement on something. Since I wasn't sure of the overall context, I chose a word that could accommodate both senses. "To have an arrangement" can, in some contexts, mean "to have a meeting," although that wouldn't be explicitly clear without context. With full knowledge of the story, I might change my translation.

I interpret the sentence here to mean that the speaker is saying that Tomás called to ask where the other guy was, apparently because the other guy didn't show up for the meeting. In that situation, we could say arrangement, but if that is certainly the case, we might also say "Says you were supposed to get together."

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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James Santiago said:

Says you two had an arrangement.

James, can arrangement be used as "date, appointed meeting"'? I didnt' know that.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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:

Why is "dice" in present tense when nothing else is? Are there other ways the verbs could be conjugated here, without substantially changing the meaning?

It is in present tense, because it is one of the most commons ways to use the present. if you book simply says that the present tense is used to talk about the present, throw it to the bin, because it can used and combined with any past, present of future reference, given the right conditions.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Heidita said:

:

It does say: arrange to meet

Oops, sorry, looked right over it. I get the habíais quedado part now, thanks!

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
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:

The most common example is where a verb, like "pensaba," could mean either "he thought" or I thought." Presumably this causes no problems to Spanish speakers, but it confuses me every time because there's no pronoun to "mark" it for me.

I can't help you with that sentence unlike you give me the previous one (or the previous ones), Natasha, because in this case it is determined by context. For example, if you and I suddenly met in the street, and I said to you: "Hacía mucho que no te veía" (this is slightly colloquial), commons sense is enough to determine that I am talking about myself, and I am saying "I haven't seen you for a long time" (not a literal translation), and not "He hasn't seen you for a long time"; who would that "he" be anyway?

So, your sentence is perfectly clear within the given context, the order in which people speak in turns, previous references made to others, etc. Your sentence, like that, in isolation, would be interpreted as "I" by default, because we'd expect at least someone's name included in it if the verb was in the third person (e.g. "Julia ya pensaba..."). Of course, it could be referring to a third person, but it is impossible for me to know without the rest of the text.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Here's my translation.

"I was starting to think you'd gotten lost," he said. "Tomás Aguilar called. Says you two had an arrangement. Did you forget'"

The lack of pronoun markers doesn't bother me that much, because the context usually makes it clear. As for Tomás Aguilar being the object, that's why the personal A is so essential in Spanish. He can't be the object here because there is no A.

The only thing I have trouble with in reading such dialogs is the lack of quotation marks. I'm sure native readers have no trouble with this, but for me it's difficult.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Dice que habíais quedado. ¿Te olvidaste'

Here you could take the dictionary translation:

He said you had arranged to meet/you had a date. Did you forget'

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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lol...dont' go crazy, Nati...it does say: arrange to meet, but the fact is:

he quedado con Mario: I am meeting Mario/ I have a date with Mario

appointment: Tengo una cita con el médico.

We would not use quedar con médico, dentista, abogado...

¿Vamos a quedar esta noche? Are we going to meet tonight'

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
0
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lazarus1907 said:

:

Finally, when reading a sentence with inverted order ("Llamó Tomás Aguilar), my mind interprets Tomás Aguilar as the direct object, not the subject.

That's the easiest one to answer. Spanish can move the subject easily around, unlike English, which is why we signal the personal direct object with "a":

Llamó Tomás Aguilar = Tomás Aguilar called.

Llamó a Tomás Aguilar = He/she called Tomás Aguilar.

Oh, OK. Why am I always forgetting the easiest things?

Heidita, Lazarus, thank you for the pointers.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

:

Finally, when reading a sentence with inverted order ("Llamó Tomás Aguilar), my mind interprets Tomás Aguilar as the direct object, not the subject.

That's the easiest one to answer. Spanish can move the subject easily around, unlike English, which is why we signal the personal direct object with "a":

Llamó Tomás Aguilar = Tomás Aguilar called.
Llamó a Tomás Aguilar = He/she called Tomás Aguilar.

Now you know why the personal "a" is used: subjects never begin with "a".

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
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Heidita said:

The other thing that caused me major problems here was that I thought quedado was the past participle of quedar, until finally in frustration I looked it up and found out that it is a noun meaning "appointment."

quedar = meet, have a date.....

So here it is the participle of quedar.

Habíamos quedado...we had a date

quedado cannot be a noun, quedada can...

NO WAY! You don't mean it! That interpretation is not in my paper dictionary, or the one on this site. {gone crazy}

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
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Ya pensaba que te habías perdido por ahí --dijo--. Llamó Tomás Aguilar. Dice que habíais quedado. ¿Te olvidaste'

habíais quedado ...you had made the appointment...this takes place before the call by Tomás.

Dice: could be in past simple.

For more "scientific" explanations, let's wait for Lazarus.

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

The other thing that caused me major problems here was that I thought quedado was the past participle of quedar, until finally in frustration I looked it up and found out that it is a noun meaning "appointment."

quedar = meet, have a date.....

So here it is the participle of quedar.

Habíamos quedado...we had a date

quedado cannot be a noun, quedada can...

updated OCT 17, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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