Saturday, 30 April 2011

Please, like, and dodgy translators

When first learning Spanish I put the simple word 'please' into the translation app I had on the old Nokia I had at the time (I don't think they were called apps back then, but I can't remember what we called them). The translator popped up with the anwser 'gustar'. Now this is technically correct but definitely not what I was looking for, nor what anybody would be likely to be looking for as a translation for 'please'.

As any beginner student of Spanish knows, 'please' is 'por favor', meaning 'for favor'. However in English there is also a verb 'to please' which translates as 'gustar'. It isn't that common a verb in English but in Spanish it is used all the time to express liking. If I like something then I can say it pleases me, and in Spanish that is the only way to say it.

For example -

me gusta pan = I like bread (bread pleases me)
nos gusta bailar = they like to dance
le gustan las montañas = he likes the mountains
¿que te gusta comer? = what do you like to eat?
no me gusta la comida = I don't like the food
me gustas = I really like you

Be careful with the last one - this implies being attracted to someone. If that isn't what you want to say then use 'me caes bien' instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment