HomeQ&AThe crazy "se"

The crazy "se"

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I am a firefighter and a nurse. The other day I ask a co-worker how to say if someone was leaking urine. She told me to ask SE LE SALE LA ORINA? Can you give me a better understanding why you would us it and when? Also I love the web site.

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updated JUN 24, 2009
posted by Bombera

15 Answers

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In the U.S., he state of euphemisms is such that "incontinence" (unless qualified) would always be associated with "bladder-control". All of the more general meanings of being unable to control/contain oneself have been sacrificed to the (perceived) need for a euphemism.

Same thing in Spanish, incontinencia refers directly to bladdercontrol, very ellegantlt put by Sam

Eddy, not in England? gulp

Well it's not a subject into which I have delved but I can only speak for myself. When I hear someone is incontinent I immediately wonder which function they cannot control. As a matter of interest the Oxford dictionary lists incontinence as "unable to control movements of the bowels or bladder or both". As I have already said, I wouldn't assume it that it solely dealt with the bladder.

updated JUN 24, 2009
posted by Eddy
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In the U.S., he state of euphemisms is such that "incontinence" (unless qualified) would always be associated with "bladder-control". All of the more general meanings of being unable to control/contain oneself have been sacrificed to the (perceived) need for a euphemism.

Same thing in Spanish, incontinencia refers directly to bladdercontrol, very ellegantlt put by Sam

Eddy, not in England? gulp

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Claro y entiendo lo que dices. No sugiero que se usa una palabra como c'''r en medio de otras personas. Sólo indicaba que sin la palabra urinaria no se sabe que typo de incontinencia la persona padece.
In the U.S., he state of euphemisms is such that "incontinence" (unless qualified) would always be associated with "bladder-control". All of the more general meanings of being unable to control/contain oneself have been sacrificed to the (perceived) need for a euphemism.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by samdie
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Probablemente que sea más elegante pero sin la ultima palabra, no da ninguna idea lo que se sale del cuerpo.

En efecto, pero evitar hablar de ciertas partes y funciones del cuerpo es algo cultural y que se refleja en el lenguaje. Omitir estas está considerado aún para muchos un signo de buena educación. Yo, personalmente, prefiero llamar a las cosas por su nombre. En el otro extremo hay idiomas (y por tanto, culturas) en los que es perfectamente educado levantarse en la comida y decir que se va a cagar.

Cuando me dieron clases de educación de niño, me advirtieron que lo educado es decir que se va al cuarto de baño, aunque no haya baño, y que era mejor evitar términos como "servicio" o "retrete", por ser demasiado explícitos. Ya ves...

Claro y entiendo lo que dices. No sugiero que se usa una palabra como c'''r en medio de otras personas. Sólo indicaba que sin la palabra urinaria no se sabe que typo de incontinencia la persona padece.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by Eddy
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Eddy and bombera, we would actually preferably say that, incontinencia simplemente.

However, I do agree that if you are dealing with uneducated people, they might not know the word. In Spain it is widely understood, but I guess not by everybody.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Probablemente que sea más elegante pero sin la ultima palabra, no da ninguna idea lo que se sale del cuerpo.

En efecto, pero evitar hablar de ciertas partes y funciones del cuerpo es algo cultural y que se refleja en el lenguaje. Omitir estas está considerado aún para muchos un signo de buena educación. Yo, personalmente, prefiero llamar a las cosas por su nombre. En el otro extremo hay idiomas (y por tanto, culturas) en los que es perfectamente educado levantarse en la comida y decir que se va a cagar.

Cuando me dieron clases de educación de niño, me advirtieron que lo educado es decir que se va al cuarto de baño, aunque no haya baño, y que era mejor evitar términos como "servicio" o "retrete", por ser demasiado explícitos. Ya ves...

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Lo mejor y lo más elegante sería: ¿tiene usted incontinencia urinaria?

Lo más elegante para muchos sería evitar la última palabra, y preguntar "¿Tiene algún problema de incontinencia'"

Hola Lazarus
Es posible que sea más elegante pero sin la ultima palabra, no da ningúna idea lo que se sale del cuerpo.

This is a serious comment and with my limited anatomical Spanish I could not phrase it any other way.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by Eddy
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Lo mejor y lo más elegante sería: ¿tiene usted incontinencia urinaria?

Lo más elegante para muchos sería evitar la última palabra, y preguntar "¿Tiene algún problema de incontinencia'"

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Oh yeah your the first person to tell me that se means suddenly(in some situations). I'm very suspicious.

I might be corrected but I don't think the se means "suddenly" here. I take Lazarus's explanation of "se cae" to mean it falls for "whatever" reason, suddenly, accidentally or for any other appropriate adverb.

Folks, Lazarus didn't say that "se" was defined or translated as "suddenly." He said it indicates that. He is talking about this construction in this situation. He is dealing with function here, how this pronoun affects the verb (although I guess technically the pronoun is part of the verb) and the sense it adds to it. It is an important nuance of Spanish of which it is good that we all take note.

This is not an equivalent example, but maybe from this you can see the principle ... the preposition/adverb "up," when added to a verb, gives an intensifying "effect," or gives the idea of completeness of action. I'm not saying that the word "up" translates or means "intense" or "complete," but that its function in this usage is to give this effect. Examples:

mess/mess up
blow/blow up
write/write up
cut/cut up
clean/clean up
beat/beat up
rest/rest up
fix/fix up
eat/eat up
use/use up (It is one thing to use the money, but using up the money takes it further.)
break/break up
soak/soak up

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Gracias por la repuesta. Mis amigas no pudieron explicarmela. Trabajo una clinica que cuida la genta pobre. El espanol que yo aprendi es muy diferente que hablan mis pacientes. Y muchas veces no puedo usar las palabras (proper). Porque cuidamos indocumentados, tenemos pacientes de otras paises. Usan palabras diferentes y a veces yo digo una palabra que significa otra cosas. Me gusta esta web site. Me ayuda muchisima.

Hi bombera, I get now what you were asking. this is a medical issue and we would ask:

¿Tiene usted pérdida de orina?

Lo mejor y lo más elegante sería: ¿tiene usted incontinencia urinaria?
Pero no todo el mundo entendería esto.

Welcome to the forum smile

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Gracias por la repuesta. Mis amigas no pudieron explicarmela. Trabajo una clinica que cuida la genta pobre. El espanol que yo aprendi es muy diferente que hablan mis pacientes. Y muchas veces no puedo usar las palabras (proper). Porque cuidamos indocumentados, tenemos pacientes de otras paises. Usan palabras diferentes y a veces yo digo una palabra que significa otra cosas. Me gusta esta web site. Me ayuda muchisima.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by bombera5567
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That's why I wrote "suddenly" in brackets. It does not necessarily mean that it happens like that. "Caer" is simply the action of moving down due to the gravitational attraction. Try to visualize it, and all you see is an object moving downwards (ie. towards the centre of mass of the object). Add "se", and "caerse" now focuses on the beginning of the action, and therefore, it is seen as a change from a stable position to a dynamic state, which is why sometimes is described as accidental "se". You can say that raindrops "caen", for you can think of them moving downwards (ie. falling) for some time, but you can't say "se caen", as if they were balls that were previously resting on top of a table, until they (suddenly) fell.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Well when you recieve your PhD maybe you should write a book on the spanish language. There is no doubt that you have enough knowledge for it. Plus, you could recommend it to people on this website who are having trouble with the dreaded subjunctive(not so dreaded for me any more) the crazy and or dreaded "se" etc..

Oh yeah your the first person to tell me that se means suddenly(in some situations). I'm very suspicious.

I might be corrected but I don't think the se means "suddenly" here. I take Lazarus's explanation of "se cae" to mean it falls for "whatever" reason, suddenly, accidentally or for any other appropriate adverb.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by Eddy
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Well when you recieve your PhD maybe you should write a book on the spanish language. There is no doubt that you have enough knowledge for it. Plus, you could recommend it to people on this website who are having trouble with the dreaded subjunctive(not so dreaded for me any more) the crazy and or dreaded "se" etc..

Oh yeah your the first person to tell me that se means suddenly(in some situations). I'm very suspicious.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by ravensty
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I am a Spanish teacher, and a Physics and Maths teacher, and I am about to become a doctor, but this SE is more than what most people can digest, I tell you.

"Se sale" means "It leaks", where this SE indicates this sudden, unexpected, violent outbreak (it actually signals the change in the verbal action). The "le" indicates who is being directly affected by the leak. That's how Spanish works; there are several thousand verbs that operate like that in Spanish.

Se le cae: "Se cae" means "it (suddenly) falls", and "le" indicates the person who is affected, i.e. the one who dropped it, or the one who suffered the consequences of an object that dropped despite his best intentions.

The "crazy SE" is a rather complex creature, but it is a lot more regular and logical than most people believe, but there are no books explaining this.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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