¿Antes había mucho extranjero por esta zona de la ciudad?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by fedayn, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. fedayn Senior Member

    Spain Spanish
    Hola a todos,

    - Did there used to be many/a lot f foreigner in this part of the city?
    - Were there usually many/a lot of foreigner in this part of the city?

    Tengo serias dudas entre ambas, pero me quedo con la primera.

    Gracias.

    Saludos.
     
  2. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    En todo caso: foreignerS
     
  3. Conree New Member

    Castellano
    Hello,

    I think you can say:
    - Many foreigners, or
    - A lot of foreigners/foreign people.

    but never many foreigner...

    Personally i'd say: Did there used to be many foreigners around this part of the city?

    Expect confirmation,

    Conree.
     
  4. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Bien, pero también vale:
    Were there a lot of foreigners around this part of town before?
     
  5. kayokid

    kayokid Senior Member

    Chicago
    English, USA
    Hello.

    A couple of thoughts about your sentences...
    1. I agree completely with the use of the plural here. It must be 'foreigners.'
    2. Both of your attempts are okay otherwise although personally I prefer:

    Were/Weren't there a lot of foreigners in this part of the city previously?

    Somehow it just seems to flow better to my ear.
     
  6. fedayn Senior Member

    Spain Spanish
    Thanks a lot for the corrections and your opinions.
     
  7. Conree New Member

    Castellano
    Sure. And thanks for your contribution. I was just focusing in the "foreigner(s)" part.
     
  8. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    (focusing on)
    "Foreigners" sounds awfully harsh in English. What do you mean by "extranjero(s)"? Immigrants? Expatriates? Foreign-born residents?
     
  9. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    How about aliens? :p

    Immigrants is probably more neutral and is also common. When referring to those of my clients who are immigrants, I usually refer to them as "foreign-born clients."
     
  10. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    Sé que no todos estarán de acuerdo, pero yo usaría "Did there use to be...?" en lugar de "Did there used to be...?"
     
  11. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Hay que emplear "foreigners" porque lo abarca todo - turistas, estudiantes, hombres de negocios, inmigrantes, diplomáticos, periodistas, soldados de las fuerzas de ocupación, etc.

    No se puede emplear el singular con un sentido plural, como se puede en español. Otro ejemplo.
    An imaginary interview with the head of the employers' association of Spain (CEOE), Gerardo Díaz Ferrán:
    El empresario tiene claro que la forma de acabar con el paro es “obligando a la gente a trabajar, que mucho vago es lo que hay. Se coge a los parados y se les dice que para estar en el sofá tirados, os vais a la fábrica. Mantas, que sois unos mantas. Es lo que hice yo aquí en la galera”.
    En inglés: "there are a lot of lazy people/persons". Mucho vago = many lazy people
    Recuerda que "people" es plural. There are a lot of people who are lazy.
    "Aliens" is not readily understood by Britons (or rather they could mistake it for a reference to extraterrestrials) unless they paid close attention to the lyrics of Sting's song about Quentin Crisp, "Englishman in New York", with the refrain "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, I'm an Englishman in New York".
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  12. lospazio Senior Member

    Buenos Aires - Argentina
    Castellano - Argentina
    This surprises me. Until now I employed foreigner to name a person who is not a citizen of a given country, no matter if he or she is an immigrant, an expatriate, a tourist or whatever. Am I wrong? Is it necessary to be so specific about the poor guy?
     
  13. nwon Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Inglés canadiense
    No es necesario. La verdad es que se usa esa palabra siempre, y a la mayoría de la gente no le molesta. Siempre que la uses en una manera respetuosa, todo será bien.
     
  14. Gesnabe New Member

    Castelló
    Español y català-valencià
    Sé que no todos estarán de acuerdo, pero yo usaría "Did there use to be...?" en lugar de "Did there used to be...?"


    I agree inib about this

    Regards
     
  15. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I was making that suggestion tongue in cheek. I was not seriously suggesting that the term "aliens" was less harsh than foreigners.
     
  16. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I would certainly write used but in speaking I might be less careful and say use. I believe that there are threads arguing this issue back and forth, which I commend to anyone interested in the argument.
     
  17. srb62 Senior Member

    Scotland
    British English
    An interesting discussion.
    For me, as a British speaker, I think I find 'immigrant' to have the potential to sound more negative than 'foreigner' - and the comments about it not being precise enough are well made. I would probably use 'foreign people'.
    To describe the idea of 'previously', I'd employ 'in the past', giving something like:

    Did many foreign people (used to) live in this part of the city in the past?
    In the past were there many foreign people living in this part of the city?
     
  18. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    I agree that sometimes you have to use "foreigners," but Spanish speakers seem to be unaware of the unpleasant connotations. When possible, alternatives are usually preferable.
     
  19. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I agree that "foreigner" can have a negative connotation. I also agree that saying "foreign people" (or otherwise modifying "foreign" with a word or phrase (such as "foreign-born clients") removes it.

    I am not surprised that "immigrant" has a negative connotation in the UK (and probably in many other countries). But in the US, it's part of our DNA.
     
  20. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    Modifying it does usually sound better, but "foreign people" sounds awkward.
     
  21. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    I agree with k-in-sc.
    "Foreigners" sounds bad, kind of demeaning. "Foreign people" isn't any better. So what to use? it's a mistery. They all sound despective. And 'people born in foreign lands' is great for Disneyland.
     
  22. srb62 Senior Member

    Scotland
    British English
    I know, it's funny isn't it? - and very interesting!

    Sorry, you're wrong - 'foreign people' can sound much better, and said in the proper way would be perfectly acceptable!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2013
  23. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Not here.
     
  24. srb62 Senior Member

    Scotland
    British English
    .

    Well, exactly!! That was the whole point - and why I qualified my post with the fact that I opined 'as a British speaker'. :D So, I'm afraid you're.......wrong? ;):D
     
  25. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Hell yeah!
     
  26. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    Personally, I don't see anything unpleasant about the word at all. It simply means non-native and has no pejorative connotations at all except in the minds of people who don't like foreigners, and substituting new, more-convoluted but less-precise terms won't cure that. Sorry for the rant.
     
  27. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I thought that hay and its variants (e.g., había) were invariable and did not change to match number. Typo? Or do I have more to learn?
     
  28. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    I thought that too ... looks like duvija has some 'splaining to do :D
     
  29. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    The denotation of the term is, of course, neutral. Here's my guess why some people think that the term "foreigner" has a negative connotation. When we Americans read about ourselves being referred to as "foreigners" in the press and public statements of people in foreign countries, it very often has a negative connotation. A lot of the time "foreigner" is associated with trouble-maker in those statements (foreign spy agencies, foreign governments interfering in local affairs, etc.). And it is sometimes used by native speakers to speak disparagingly about foreigners (or as it usually rendered when quoting suspicious rural folk in the US, "them furriners").
     
  30. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    I do believe that using the singular for a group, has some added values (or lack of them). '¿Habían muchos extranjeros...?' sounds to me much better than 'Había mucho extranjero...'
    Does anyone agree? (or I'm nuts? don't answer!)
     
  31. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    @ Duvija. Well, even in plural the verb would be "había", not "habían" as Ricardo and K-in-sc pointed out, but I see your point about the Spanish, "mucho extranjero" vs "muchos extranjeros". It's common to hear it expressed that way here, but you might be right that there is a critical tone about it, as in "Hay mucho listo/mucho mangui etc por aquí".
     
  32. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    How can "foreigners" be considered "harsh"? Every single person on the planet is a "foreigner" in the eyes of the vast majority of the rest of humanity.
    And "alien" is just "foreigner" expressed in legalistic jargon.
     

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