Transposed Grammars

I’m currently in the process of learning Spanish and it amazes me how different the structure of the two languages are.

First off, of course, we have the masculine and feminine nouns. It’s weird to think of objects being assigned a male or female role from an American perspective, because we’re so culturally caught up in the equal rights movement. It’s interesting to see how culture affects our language.

Almost everything in English is gender neutral. There are some feminine/masculine words, like waiter/waitress, master/mistress, sir/ma’am, he/she. But they generally refer to a specific person. And it’s considered grammatically¬†neutral when you use ‘he’ to refer to an unknown person (there’s a lesser known grammatical fact for you!).

But in Spanish, every noun is masculine or feminine. And you *have* to use the article el/la to denote that, with a few rare exceptions. Exceptions I know exist, but can’t name, because my knowledge of the Spanish language is limited.

Another difference is the way sentences are constructed. Considering the following sentence:

In English: Do you want me to do it?

In Spanish: Me quieres hacerlo? This literally translates as “Me you want to do it?”

It sounds silly in English, of course, because part of the grammar structure is flip-flopped. So think about that the next time someone who speaks Spanish as their first language says something to you in English that sounds like “broken English.”¬†

 

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