To play cards?

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'Como se dice "to play cards"? gracias

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updated DIC 12, 2008
posted by Sarah-S

25 Answers

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Hmmm...just to complicate things further I used to play a game called Piquet which was played with a standard deck from which the 2's to 6's had been removed, there are many other games with non-standard decks such as bezique etc. but I would still call them 'playing cards' as they are hearts diamonds clubs and spades. Games that have Mr. Bun the Baker aren't playing cards. But of course we usually just say 'cards'.

updated DIC 12, 2008
posted by tad
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Natasha said:

This is a sentence from El refugio secreto: Aprendía con dificultad, puesto que no habíamos tenido cartas ni barajas de ninguna clase en la casa solariega.

It occasioned me some difficulty because the dictionary translates both cartas and barajas as cards. In this case, would cartas be playing cards and barajas any other kind of cards? (Skip-bo or Uno, perhaps')

"It occasioned me some difficulty" Please see Lazarus´s comment earlier, "too professional", hehe

updated DIC 12, 2008
posted by Eddy
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I, also, did a mental double-take after reading Natasha's reference to Uno (which I would refer to as being a card game/playing cards

I think most people would not call an Uno deck playing cards. Webster's says that playing cards are used for a variety of games, but that the term especially refers to the standard 52-card deck. Go to Google Images and search for "playing cards." The first 200 hits are all regular playing cards. I'm not saying that no one would ever, ever call other cards playing cards, but the definition for this term is pretty standard.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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lazarus1907 said:

As you said, there is a strong cultural component in the meaning of the words that is really hard to translate.
If it's any consolation to you, I, also, did a mental double-take after reading Natasha's reference to Uno (which I would refer to as being a card game/playing cards [albeit, with a peculiar deck]). There are, of course, hundreds of card games (that can be played with a "standard deck of cards"). Some, such as the various forms of solitaire (for obvious reasons), Go Fish!, and Old Maid never involve betting. Others, such as the numerous variants of poker, Black Jack and Chemin de Fer, almost always involve wagers (without betting, poker is a fairly stupid game and the other two are boring beyond words). There are also games like Bridge and Gin Rummy and Canasta which are sufficiently complex as to be interesting without wagers but which are also "played for stakes". Canasta is often played with multiple standard decks while Pinochle is played with reduced standard deck (or, maybe, decks. It's been a while...).

By the way:
We often speak of a standard "deck", refering to the number of cards (52) (with the usual 4 suits and 13 pip values). However, the standard "poker card" is considerably wider than the standard "bridge card" (the vertical dimensions are the same).

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by samdie
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I will be weird, believe me.

I not only believe you, I know it for a fact! (wink)

I agree, though, that this would be a very difficult translation problem.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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:

You could use a descriptive phrase such as "cartas con sota, reina, etcetera,"

In Spain that is called "baraja francesa", but if you say that, the reader will be wondering what does the person have against the French deck, since other decks, like the Spanish one, are just fine. I will be weird, believe me.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Just one more thing. Corrie ten Boom was from Holland (the Netherlands) -- I believe part of the Reformed Church there. But unless someone from that tradition shows up on the thread, we'll have to go with James' "American Protestant" explanation for the sentiment in the book.

This is fascinating -- I bet Sarah S never expected all this!!

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Hay gente que no quiere jugar a las cartas con apuestas, aunque sí jugaría a otros juegos (de cartas) sin dinero, como el Uno.

That's getting close, but as you say, it may be impossible to translate "playing cards" (which, by the way, does not refer to any game, but rather to the paper cards themselves). You could use a descriptive phrase such as "cartas con sota, reina, etcetera," but then you would encounter the problem of different decks of playing cards in different countries, and different names for the cards.

Coincidentally, I had to teach my boys this phrase just a couple of weeks ago. Completely on their own, they had been calling them "king cards," to distinguish them from the other types of cards that we have in the house. This shows that we English speakers, even when we aren't aware of the correct name, intuitively feel the need for some name to make a distinction. Interesting, isn't it'

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Thanks both for your explanations. Now it makes more sense.

:

You have to understand that the Protestant Church in America was (and, to a lesser extent, still is) very much against gambling or anything that smelled of gambling, and playing cards were considered one of the Devil's tools. There are therefore people who refuse to touch a regular pack of playing cards, but who don't mind at all playing a game such as Uno (which is just a family card game, not a manufacturer of playing cards).

As you said, there is a strong cultural component in the meaning of the words that is really hard to translate. I was completely unaware of that distinction, for example. In Spain, the only thing that determines whether a game is "suitable" or not, from a very conservative and excessive moral point of view, is the gambling itself, and not the name of the game, or the type of cards used. If a mother sees a rather young child playing cards, she might not even ask what game they are playing, but if she sees coins around... that's another story. So, "playing cards" could only be translated as "any game of cards which traditionally was considered to be evil, because there was betting involved", if you want anyone to understand what it means, and "other card games" as "any card game other than the playing cards", all this specified word by word.

After all this, I stick to this translation, then:

Hay gente que no quiere jugar a las cartas con apuestas, aunque sí jugaría a otros juegos (de cartas) sin dinero, como el Uno.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Does "playing" here mean "betting"'

I think that would be a good bet. wink

Actually, it could just mean play/jugar in the normal sense, but here is the second definition of play:

  1. a. To take part in a game: No minors are eligible to play.
    b. To participate in betting; gamble.

I therefore think that "playing cards" means "gambling cards." After all, that was their original purpose for many years before they came to be used for family games.

You have to understand that the Protestant Church in America was (and, to a lesser extent, still is) very much against gambling or anything that smelled of gambling, and playing cards were considered one of the Devil's tools. There are therefore people who refuse to touch a regular pack of playing cards, but who don't mind at all playing a game such as Uno (which is just a family card game, not a manufacturer of playing cards).

I thought that that "él" was a typo. A typical relative reference should be like "...como el (juego) que se llama Uno". You can't use "él" here to refer to an object.

Huy, ahora que me lo explicas, es obvio. No sé en qué estaba pensando. Gracias.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Oh, wow. I'm sorry I even brought up the Bicycle cards. Clearly the manufacturer does not matter.

You've surely encountered the phrase "a standard deck of cards" in the sort of textbook examples commonly given to demonstrate elementary probability. For example:

What is the probability of drawing an ace OR a spade from a standard deck of cards?

It's the cards in the standard deck of cards (52, 13 of each kind: 1-10, jack, queen, king) that are called playing cards. Playing cards, as you mentioned, are used for lots of different games, including Poker and Solitaire.

Uno is a different game, played with different cards.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Ok, now you owe my an explanation, because I am more confused than before.

I know the Bicycle cards, because I have a friend who is a magician, and he imports these cards from USA. Everyone else in my city wouldn't even know what is the relationship between a "bicycle" and a pack of cards (a joke).

What you call the "standard deck of bicycle cards" is what in Spain we'd call "a deck of French cards manufactured by the company called Bicycle" (I don't want to open a debate now about the origins of the deck, please). In Spain we also have our own cards. In any case, there are other manufacturers other than Bicycle, even in USA, so I don't see the relevance of Bicycle here (maybe there is none).

Noe, what are Uno cards anyway? Is this a different cards with different symbols? Is it a deck identical to the Bicycle, but manufactured by Uno Ltd. or something like that? Why are Bicycle standard cards "playing cards", but not the others?

I am really confused, I promise.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Or, if you are referring to play gambling card games:

The game in question in the book was Solitaire (solitario), which is hardly a gambling game, but it is still played with the standard deck of cards -- which is presumably why Corrie's (the author's) father would have objected to it.

If you buy a deck of Bicycle cards in the store, what do you call it? And what do you call it if you buy a deck of Uno cards? the same thing? (I'm hoping the Bicycle brand isn't specific to the U.S. . . . who knows . . .)

Sorry if I'm over-complicating this.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Natasha
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:

The distinction being made here is "playing cards," which are poker cards, versus games that use cards with completely different graphics, numbers, etc., such as the game of Uno, which uses cards that are completely different from poker cards.

In Spain, if you mean poker, you have to say "póker", and not "cards", as there are hundreds of card games, and poker is not necessarily the most popular one, so the original sentence (for a translation for Spain, at least) should then say:

Hay gente que no quiere jugar al póker, aunque sí jugaría a otros juegos de cartas, como el Uno.

Or, if you are referring to play gambling card games:

Hay gente que no quiere jugar a las cartas con apuestas, aunque sí jugaría a otros juegos (de cartas) sin dinero, como el Uno.

If I'm still off-track, then I don't think that there is a term in Spanish to translated "playing cards" that I know of. Can you not play with the 52 cards deck without making bets, and therefore, without doing anything evil? Does "playing" here mean "betting"?

:

I don't understand the change you made to my "como él que se llama Uno." Why not él, meaning "the one" (the game)?

I thought that that "él" was a typo. A typical relative reference should be like "...como el (juego) que se llama Uno". You can't use "él" here to refer to an object.

In any case, I'd definitely just say "...como el (juego que se llama) Uno", omitting that bracket unless absolutely necessary.

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Thanks for explaining. Yes, "playing cards" means the standard deck of 52 cards (spades, clubs, etc.). Other cards are not called "playing cards" in English. Is it clear now?

Thank you for the help, James and Lazarus. I still think the sentence from the book was confusing.

James Santiago said:

I should add that there is probably a cultural difference here. Playing cards (the noun, not the action) were/are considered evil by some religious groups, because they often involve gambling. Using them would be a sin. Playing other card games, however, which do not involve gambling, and using cards that do not look like playing cards, is not considered a sin by these people. That is the distinction I think Natasha was trying to draw.

>

updated DIC 11, 2008
posted by Natasha