"Disculpar" - "Disculpen la tardanza" .

0
votes

**Hola a todos.

Tengo una pregunta de "disculpar).

When I checked the dictionary on this forum, I saw that it shows an example of "disculpar":

Disculpen la tardanza  -  I'm sorry for being late.

My questions is why the third person plural subjunctive tense is used here.

My thought was that "disculpen" refers to "you" plural formal way. But if there is only person, would it be "disculpe la tardanza"?

Gracias de antemano. tongue laugh

Marco**

10168 views
updated ABR 29, 2009
posted by Marco-T

18 Answers

0
votes

I've traveled all over the world, and everywhere I've gone I have learned at least a dozen or so of the local words (how much, thanks, where is, etc.) and have used them without much trouble, but not in China. No one understood me very well, either in the north (Mandarin) or in the south (Cantonese). I resorted to writing my questions in modified Japanese (pigeon Chinese)! Of course, that was just by learning from a simple guide book, and I'm sure I could learn the tones with proper instruction.

Hi James, I don't know what language you learned because we have too many local languages. I know that it's not easy to understand what you say without tones because there are too many possibilities. But if you learned Mandarin, what you say should be understood in most parts of China if you speak slowly because we know you are not Chinese and what you say is supposed to be like it without tones. smile That's not news for us.

But in Cantonese speaking area, I don't know because many people even don't know what we say in Mandarin even though Mandarin is the formal language in China. (For sure we don't understand each other if we speak different local languages. )

Marco

updated ABR 29, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

We have 5 tones. I think English doesn't have it, right? That's why it's hard for English speakers or other language speakers to pronounce Chinese words because these people are not used to pronouncing words with different tones.

Yes, the tones are the most difficult aspect of learning Chinese for speakers of European and other languages. In English we have a few words whose meaning varies with stress (similar, but not the same as, the tones in Chinese), an example of which is invalid, which can mean an unwell person (INvalid) or not valid (inVALid).

I've traveled all over the world, and everywhere I've gone I have learned at least a dozen or so of the local words (how much, thanks, where is, etc.) and have used them without much trouble, but not in China. No one understood me very well, either in the north (Mandarin) or in the south (Cantonese). I resorted to writing my questions in modified Japanese (pigeon Chinese)! Of course, that was just by learning from a simple guide book, and I'm sure I could learn the tones with proper instruction.

updated ABR 29, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

It's not that Spanish vowels and consonants are identical to Japanese - they are not even identical to Portuguese, which is just across the border and has an almost identical vocabulary. What happens is that both languages have very few sounds. As opposed to English, which has like 10,000, or Chinese, which has like a million or something smile

You seem to be confusing sounds with their written representations. The range of phonemes in natural languages (on this planet) is (roughly) 15-40. Chinese (depending on the dialect) can have 3-5 tones but in the usual phonetic descriptions, one speaks of the same phoneme with different tones, not, for example, five phonemes differing only in tone. Even if one counted phoneme+tone pairs, that would only give you about 200 "sounds" for Chinese. Similarly with English, unless you are trying to count,for example "two", "too" and "to" as three different sounds, there is no possible way to arrive at a figure of 10,000. The typically cited figure would be 30-40.

Even for vocabulary (which is not at all the same thing as sounds) your figures are wildly exaggerated. There is no dictionary for Chinese that contains million words (as main entries), much less a million sounds.

Samdie, you know much of Chinese. smile

I didn't think about what you said even though Chinese is my native language.
We have 5 tones. I think English doesn't have it, right? That's why it's hard for English speakers or other language speakers to pronounce Chinese words because these people are not used to pronouncing words with different tones.

Thank you,

Marco

updated ABR 29, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

**Hola a todos.

Tengo una pregunta de "disculpar).

When I checked the dictionary on this forum, I saw that it shows an example of "disculpar":

Disculpen la tardanza - I'm sorry for being late.

My questions is why the third person plural subjunctive tense is used here.

My thought was that "disculpen" refers to "you" plural formal way. But if there is only person, would it be "disculpe la tardanza"?

Gracias de antemano. tongue laugh

Marco**

If it's just an example, why would you expect all examples to be in singular form?

I would have been more curious as to why it is not Discúlpenme la tardanza or Disculpen mi tardanza.
If I had been accompanied by a friend would it be Discúlpennos la tardanza. or is it Disculpen nuestra tardazana?
The fact that we were inferring the "I" would have caught my attention more than how many people were being addressed.

updated ABR 29, 2009
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

It's not that Spanish vowels and consonants are identical to Japanese - they are not even identical to Portuguese, which is just across the border and has an almost identical vocabulary. What happens is that both languages have very few sounds. As opposed to English, which has like 10,000, or Chinese, which has like a million or something smile
You seem to be confusing sounds with their written representations. The range of phonemes in natural languages (on this planet) is (roughly) 15-40. Chinese (depending on the dialect) can have 3-5 tones but in the usual phonetic descriptions, one speaks of the same phoneme with different tones, not, for example, five phonemes differing only in tone. Even if one counted phoneme+tone pairs, that would only give you about 200 "sounds" for Chinese. Similarly with English, unless you are trying to count,for example "two", "too" and "to" as three different sounds, there is no possible way to arrive at a figure of 10,000. The typically cited figure would be 30-40.

Even for vocabulary (which is not at all the same thing as sounds) your figures are wildly exaggerated. There is no dictionary for Chinese that contains million words (as main entries), much less a million sounds.

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

Lo que sí es muy parecida es la pronunciación. Las vocales son idénticas, y los consonantes también son iguales.

I can hear a Japanese sentence and repeat it without having a clue what is being said. And even though I've been living in an English-speaking country for 15 years, I still don't understand about 10% of what people say.

It's not that Spanish vowels and consonants are identical to Japanese - they are not even identical to Portuguese, which is just across the border and has an almost identical vocabulary. What happens is that both languages have very few sounds. As opposed to English, which has like 10,000, or Chinese, which has like a million or something smile

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00719c95
0
votes

I thought Japanese grammar is similar to Spanish grammar. No?

No, en absoluto. No podrían ser más diferentes. Lo que sí es muy parecida es la pronunciación. Las vocales son idénticas, y los consonantes también son iguales, con ciertas excepciones, como la D de español, o la TSU de japonés. Pero por lo general, los hispanohablantes pueden pronunciar el japonés bastante bien, y vice versa. O sea, mejor que los que hablan otros idiomas.

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Yes, Chinese grammar is much closer to English grammar than Japanese grammar is to either one.

A todo el mundo le gusta creer que su idioma es especial.

I do agree with you, James. Chinese grammar is much closer to English grammar than Japanese.

However, I don't know much Japanese, of course much less than you do. I thought Japanese grammar is similar to Spanish grammar. No?

Thank you,

Marco

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

One important thing that you need to know is that Chinese is a very special language. Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages are close or similar to European languages

I know some Japanese and don't think it has much to do with European languages, but that is of course a matter of perspective. But, in any case, from a Japanese perspective, European languages are quite barbaric smile

Hi Aurino.

The reason why I said that "Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages are close or similar to European languages" was because I was trying to mention the grammar, not the words.

**You are absolutely right. It's a matter of perspective.

From a Chinese perspective, Japanese is quite barbaric, too.** smile

Thank you,

Marco

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

Yes, Chinese grammar is much closer to English grammar than Japanese grammar is to either one.

A todo el mundo le gusta creer que su idioma es especial.

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

One important thing that you need to know is that Chinese is a very special language. Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages are close or similar to European languages

I know some Japanese and don't think it has much to do with European languages, but that is of course a matter of perspective. But, in any case, from a Japanese perspective, European languages are quite barbaric smile

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00719c95
0
votes

I thought "disculpen" is the subjunctive form and used on two or more peole, but now you told me that it's the imperative form.

As Lazarus has explained here before, the imperative in Spanish is often just a shortened version of a subjunctive sentence. For example, "disculpen" is an imperative, but it can also be thought of as being an abbreviation of "quiero que disculpen" or a similar subjunctive construction.

Thanks, James. This explanation makes sense to me.

Is "disculpen" in "quiero que disculpen" still imperative form or subjunctive form?

I think it's subjunctive form.

But there is nothing strange about using the imperative for forgiveness. In English we say things like "Excuse me" and "Forgive me," which are both imperative sentences. The same applies to Japanese. Is it not the same in Chinese?

Sorry, James. I can not answer this question because as a native Chinese speaker, I don't know much about the grammar. I was just growing up with my native language. Also I wasn't a good student in the school before. tongue laugh

However, I don't think imperative form is used in Chinese in order to ask for forgiving or "excuse me".

One important thing that you need to know is that Chinese is a very special language. Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages are close or similar to European languages in some parts even though they borrowed many things from Chinese. I don't know much about most Asian languages, but at least, Japanese grammar is completely different to Chinese.

Thank you, James.

Marco

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

I thought "disculpen" is the subjunctive form and used on two or more peole, but now you told me that it's the imperative form.

As Lazarus has explained here before, the imperative in Spanish is often just a shortened version of a subjunctive sentence. For example, "disculpen" is an imperative, but it can also be thought of as being an abbreviation of "quiero que disculpen" or a similar subjunctive construction.

But there is nothing strange about using the imperative for forgiveness. In English we say things like "Excuse me" and "Forgive me," which are both imperative sentences. The same applies to Japanese. Is it not the same in Chinese'

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Disculpen la tardanza - Im sorry for being late.

It is confusing you because the translation is not literal (but is good).

Literally:

Disculpen la tardanza = Forgive/excuse/pardon the lateness

I'm sorry for being late = Siento haber llegado tarde

I think you can see from the literal translations why the conjugation of disculpen was used. It is the imperative form and used on two or more people.

James, now I got confused again after I read your post.

I thought "disculpen" is the subjunctive form and used on two or more peole, but now you told me that it's the imperative form. How come the imperative form is used in this situation'?

When you are late, you would give the command to others to excuse you''?

Interesting. tongue laugh

Thanks, James.

Marco

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by Marco-T
0
votes

Disculpen la tardanza - Im sorry for being late.

It is confusing you because the translation is not literal (but is good).

Literally:

Disculpen la tardanza = Forgive/excuse/pardon the lateness
I'm sorry for being late = Siento haber llegado tarde

I think you can see from the literal translations why the conjugation of disculpen was used. It is the imperative form and used on two or more people.

updated ABR 28, 2009
posted by 00bacfba