HomeQ&Aque tal

que tal

0
votes

if 'que' = 'what' then how come

que tal? means 'how is it going''

Besides why is it necessary to put an extra upside down question mark at the beginning of an interrogative sentence while the question mark at the end is sufficient to denote it as such'

12656 views
updated JUL 21, 2009
posted by amishera

24 Answers

1
vote

Amish, qué tal is however a strange sentence.

Exactly! Not like more logical sentences like "What's up'", where there is obviously something in a higher position (ie. "up").

"¿Qué tal'" is a short for "¿Qué tal van las cosas'" (or similar), meaning "How are things'"

updated MAY 30, 2013
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Wow!

......Nobody else has Heitor vs. Lazarus, and that free of charge!......

Right! Nothing like a good bit of "verbal-sparring" ¿is there?

For Round Two I propose - "Spanish pronouns vs. Portugese pronouns ¿Which are more difficult'"

Our referee for tonight is the beautiful Heidita. Gentlemen - let's have a clean fight, no punching below the belt.

LOL LOL HAHAHAHA!

Ding Ding!

And don't forget, boxing fans, that next week you're in for a real treat ... the Super Heavyweight title bout ... woajiaorobert vs. Lazarus!
Brought to you free of charge by, who else, SpanishDict.com!!

updated JUL 21, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

Wow!

......Nobody else has Heitor vs. Lazarus, and that free of charge!......

Right! Nothing like a good bit of "verbal-sparring" ¿is there?
For Round Two I propose - "Spanish pronouns vs. Portugese pronouns ¿Which are more difficult'"

Our referee for tonight is the beautiful Heidita. Gentlemen - let's have a clean fight, no punching below the belt.

updated JUL 21, 2009
posted by patch
0
votes

LOL Wow!

I regret having ignored this thread when it was first posted. Reading it now has made my evening. My wife has asked several times what I am laughing at.

SpanishDict.com, you're the best!! Nobody else has Heitor vs. Lazarus, and that free of charge! (¿Libre? Oops, wrong thread!) LOL

¡¡¡¡¡¡¡There go some electronic smiley precursors flyin' your way, Heitor!!!!!!! cool grin Jejejeje

updated JUL 21, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

You owe me for those laughs rocco, jeje cool smile

updated JUL 21, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

I had very few problems learning Scandinavian languages when living there, but when it comes to the Latin languages I have many more problems to overcome.

You had few problems because English was originally a Germanic language, and its grammar was heavily influenced by tribes from Germany, Denmark and Scandinavian countries. The Latin influence had more impact on the vocabulary. The closer the language, the easier it should be (in theory). I don't see anything surprising here: I find Italian or Portuguese 20 times easier than English.

Sometimes it seems to me that the Latin languages when compared to English or Danish for example were "designed" by a committee - a similar committee to the one that tried to design a horse and finished up with a camel.

Anyone care to comment? I am not suggesting any one language is "better" than any other language but just wonder if anyone else has had a similar thought.

All natural languages are very imperfect in many ways, but there is no perfect solution either, because they are all subject to cultural and subjective rules that change over time. A "perfectly logical language" would probably require hundreds of times longer to express the simplest sentence, because human languages rely on too many extralinguistic factors in order to achieve communication. English has simplified many superfluous parts of the grammar, but it has lost other things in the process, introducing newly created elements that didn't exist before, complicating things in different ways, just to keep the balance between simplicity and the ability to express complex ideas. All languages have advantages and disadvantages, but they all belong to their people and their cultures, so the further you go, the harder it gets if you want to learn it. Chinese grammar is one of the simplest in the world, much simpler than the English one, but speaking Chinese is not easy, because this language is not close to our European languages, so everything is different. Turkish is the language that children master to perfection at the earliest age, which suggest that Turkish could be the most logical or most brain-friendly language, but it is very hard to learn if your language is not related to Turkish.

You should hear what Chinese people think of English. For them, English is full of strict rules that make no sense for them, because they don't have anything similar. I can see them talking about a committee creating absurd rules about articles and tenses (that they don't have or need).

updated JUL 20, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

I am going to join in here and say something that may be contentious.
I had very few problems learning Scandinavian languages when living there, but when it comes to the Latin languages I have many more problems to overcome. Sometimes it seems to me that the Latin languages, when compared to English or Danish for example, were "designed" by a committee - a committee similar to the one that tried to design a horse and finished up with a camel.
Anyone care to comment? I am not suggesting any one language is "better" than any other language but just wonder if anyone else has had a similar thought.

updated JUL 20, 2009
posted by ian-hill
0
votes

In a perfect world (or even an imperfect world that had perfect communication) most/all of these things would be unnecessary (from the logical/information-theory point of view, they are redundancies).

Ah! Someone who speaks my language!

That was basically what I was trying to tell Lazarus: that from an information-theory point of view, one question mark is enough. But I suppose you need some background in computer science to understand that. No one seems to understand the nature of language so well as computer programmers (linguists certainly have no clue)

However human languages have evolved in world where normal communication is conducted in the presence of noise (in the technical sense).

I don't think the problem is noise, unless I'm misunderstanding you. But here we're getting into analytic philosophy.

With low-level computer languages, the problem is substantially worse. I once had occasion to write a fairly substantial program (by the measures of that time) in machine language. With machine language there is no translator/compiler to alert you to "errors" (or possibly suspicious instructions).

I know what you mean. Machine language is not a language in the strict definition (although Assembly is), because it has no syntax. Any "statement" (sequence of bytes) in machine language is a valid statement.

The remarkable thing about humans (and their languages) is their tolerance for "noisy communication". That different languages deal with the problem in different ways is hardly surprising. That different languages do, indeed, manage to address the problem might seem surprising until one considers the evolutionary consequences of not being able to communicate effectively in an imperfect world.

Well, I'm not so sure evolution has much to do with it. Most creatures have little or no communication skills and they survive just fine. Besides, statements about the natural world (eg, "there is a lion behind that tree") are the less problematic ones, less subject to "noise" as you put it. Things start to get complicated when we talk about abstract things, including language itself.

Back to Lazarus' point, I failed to communicate that I agree with him. The inverted question mark is important in Spanish because of Spanish intonation. And while Portuguese uses the same syntax as Spanish, it doesn't use the same intonation, which is probably why it doesn't need the symbol.

updated JUN 23, 2009
posted by 00719c95
0
votes

In a perfect world (or even an imperfect world that had perfect communication) most/all of these things would be unnecessary (from the logical/information-theory point of view, they are redundancies). However human languages have evolved in world where normal communication is conducted in the presence of noise (in the technical sense). My Chinese is not adequate for me to be able to list a number of redundant features but I am quite certain that they exist (and that they exist in all human languages).

Even in artificial languages (I'm thinking of programming languages not semi-artificial constructs such as Esperanto) the same holds true. The #2 problem that plagues programmers is the "unforgiving" nature of computer languages (despite the fact that "high-level" languages have a considerable amount of redundancy built in). With low-level computer languages, the problem is substantially worse. I once had occasion to write a fairly substantial program (by the measures of that time) in machine language. With machine language there is no translator/compiler to alert you to "errors" (or possibly suspicious instructions). One either gets the program 100% correct or it doesn't work (or produces garbage). One cannot mistype, mispronounce, make a grammatical lapse or use a less-than-appropriate word. One operates in a world of absolute black and white.

The remarkable thing about humans (and their languages) is their tolerance for "noisy communication". That different languages deal with the problem in different ways is hardly surprising. That different languages do, indeed, manage to address the problem might seem surprising until one considers the evolutionary consequences of not being able to communicate effectively in an imperfect world.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

No problem. Don't take me too seriously yourself; I sometimes talk like that.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

We don't have to! Thanks for telling me: I am going to write a few publishers and tell them to remove all those signs immediately!

Come on Lazarus, you are smarter than that. You asked me "how do you ...", so it should be obvious from my answer that by "we" I meant speakers of Portuguese.

My apologies if I misunderstood your question. But you definitely misunderstood my reply.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by 00719c95
0
votes

The simple answer to how we write those things is: we don't. And the reason we don't is because we don't have to.

We don't have to! Thanks for telling me: I am going to write a few publishers and tell them to remove all those signs immediately! Until you came, some "naive" people like me thought they could use them to accurately transcribe speech, but maybe we should have not even tried... It must be against the law, or something, I don't know.

Anyway, I'll keep using them whenever I need them to suit my needs, if you don't mind, of course. I know that "we don't have to", but at least we can use them if we "need to", and so far, I haven't found an alternative method to achieve this, all due to my naive and stupid intentions.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

So, how do you write

Pero ¿qué quieres?

so one can read the question exactly as shown, without further pauses? Or:

Estoy ¡harto! de que me digas eso.

I'm surprised you asked those questions, as they seem rather naive (emphasis on seem; I'm not sure what your point is). The simple answer to how we write those things is: we don't. And the reason we don't is because we don't have to.

I find that the small effort required to add these symbols (in my case, about 120 milliseconds) is not such a burden, but lacking this symbol limits the possibilities when it comes to sentences like the ones above. So, in my opinion, other languages have a limitation that we don't.

I'm sorry to be blunt but that is another incredibly naive statement. You are judging other languages based on their ability to express the Spanish way of thinking and talking. It makes no sense at all.

The argument of "other languages don't need it" can lead to funny results, if you push it. English does not even have a "vosotros" or "ustedes", and they manage, so why don't we remove it from Spanish, and we say "tú" for both one person and several people?

Indeed, why not? (that is a rhetorical question)

Chinese does not have articles or gender, does not differentiate (in speech) between he and she, does not have plural,... Chinese understand each other perfectly without all that stuff, so surely they are not necessary, right?

Absolutely right. If the Chinese understand each other without all that stuff, then it necessarily follows that all that stuff is not necessary. A simple matter of logic.

While we are comparing languages, I must say there is a marked difference between Spanish and English: Spanish is full of "frills", things unnecessary for expression but necessary because of convention. I'm not criticizing Spanish, quite the contrary, Portuguese is even more unnecessarily complicated than Spanish but I love the complications, they beautify the language. But that is all it is about, beauty, not expression.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by 00719c95
0
votes

So, how do you write

Pero ¿qué quieres?

so one can read the question exactly as shown, without further pauses? Or:

Estoy ¡harto! de que me digas eso.

I find that the small effort required to add these symbols (in my case, about 120 milliseconds) is not such a burden, but lacking this symbol limits the possibilities when it comes to sentences like the ones above. So, in my opinion, other languages have a limitation that we don't.

The argument of "other languages don't need it" can lead to funny results, if you push it. English does not even have a "vosotros" or "ustedes", and they manage, so why don't we remove it from Spanish, and we say "tú" for both one person and several people? "¿Quieren tú venir'". Chinese does not have articles or gender, does not differentiate (in speech) between he and she, does not have plural,... Why don't we write sentences like this one:

El niño que vino ayer me trajo dos paquetes

without all the unnecessary stuff that Chinese does not need, and we just say:

Niño venir ayer traer dos paquete.

Chinese understand each other perfectly without all that stuff, so surely they are not necessary, right'

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

Think about it more carefully, because those languages are different from Spanish.

OK, I don't know much Italian and only had two years of French in grade school. But I can assure you that Portuguese grammar is practically identical to Spanish, and we still don't need those inverted question marks. Look at those two Portuguese sentences:

Estás enfermo.
Estás enfermo'

And their "translation" to Spanish:

Estás enfermo.
¿Estás enfermo'

I rest my case.

I guess you don't read aloud then, because I've found myself often reading things aloud to others, and when the question mark was on the next line, or far from the beginning of the sentence, I read the whole sentence as if it was a statement... just to find that funny question mark at the end, and then I had to re-read it again.

People who are good at reading aloud actually read a few sentences ahead. It takes some practice but it's not that difficult. Questions are not the only things that can surprise you if you don't read ahead.

Anyway, I'm not trying to say inverted question marks are not necessary in Spanish; they certainly are necessary because people are used to them. But it's just a habit, not a logical requirement, otherwise other languages would employ them. Well, at least Portuguese would.

updated JUN 22, 2009
posted by 00719c95
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