1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)
  1. MrPrezident Junior Member

    English
    In the following setence, why is "al" used? Why not just "a"? What does the "el" part of the "a + el" refer to in this case?

     
  2. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    The use of the contraction al followed by an infinitive is a very common way of indicating when something happens.
    Al followed by an infinitive is usually the approximate equivalent of "upon," "on" or "when" followed by the gerund (the "-ing" form of a verb) in English.

    Here are some examples of this usage:

    El diagnóstico se hace al encontrar que hay dolor. (The diagnosis is done upon finding that there is pain.)
    Hay error al enviar mensajes desde mi programa de correo. (There is an error when sending messages from my email program.)
    Lea en la mañana al despertarse; lea en la noche al acostarse. (Read in the morning on getting up; read in the evening when going to bed.)
    Al comprar una empresa, la consideración más importante es sus aspectos económicos. (When buying a business, the most important consideration is its economic aspects.)
    Me puse nervioso al ver la osa con su cría. (I became nervous upon seeing the bear with her cub.)
    Al escuchar el himno nacional todas las personas quitarán el sombrero. (On hearing the national anthem, all the people will take off their hats.)

    The translations given above are all fairly literal. If you were translating such sentences in real life, you'd probably rephrase in some cases in order to get more natural English:
    Hay error al enviar mensajes desde mi programa de correo. (I get an error when I send messages from my email program.)
    Me puse nervioso al ver la osa con su cría. (I became nervous when I saw the bear with her cub.)

    http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/qt/al_infinitive.htm
     
  3. MrPrezident Junior Member

    English
    Thanks k-in-sc!!!
     
  4. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Yup, that "al" before an infinitive indicates simultaneity between the actions depicted by the infinitive and that of another verb, here "está violando."
    Cheers
     
  5. manxo Senior Member

    Pontevedra
    Galego y Castellano de España
    In the following setence, why is "al" used? Why not just "a"? What does the "el" part of the "a + el" refer to in this case? Intentaré responder a tu porqué concreto. Los verbos en infitivo pueden funcionar como sustantivos y, como tales, llevar un artículo antepuesto. Por otro lado, hay un tipo de oración causal que viene introducida por "al" donde ese "el" que forma parte de la contracción se refiere al hecho de que el verbo en infinitivo funciona como sustantivo, aunque está absolumamente está absolutamente gramaticalizado y ya no se aprecia su prodecencia. "Al" se convierte así en una partçicula gramatical propia deste tipo de oraciones. No sé si conseguí explicarme; por supuesto, ni lo intento en inglés. :)
     
  6. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I don't understand prodecencia. It's not in the WordReference dictionary or my uanbridged dictionary. A typo perhaps.

    And I am confused by the concept of something being "grammaticalized."
     
  7. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    Manxo meant to write "procedencia" (origin).

    "gramaticalizar"(verb), "gramaticalización" (noun) : "Is the process by which a word loses its original significant content and becomes a grammatical element"

    -Taken from the DRAE. Whether the word exists in English or not, I don't know..:). But it should..;)
     
  8. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Here is my effort at translating the foregoing:

    I'll try to respond specifically. Verbs in the infinitive can operate as nouns, and as such, are preceded by the [definite] article. On the other hand, there is a type of clause of reason [a clause that defines the reason behind a statement or action given in the main clause] that is introduced by "al" where the "el" that forms part of the contraction ["al"] operates as a noun, though it is absolutely grammaticalized and loses its original meaning. "Al" thus becomes strictly a grammatical particle in this kind of clause. I don't know if I managed to explain it; of course, I won't try to do so in English.

    Assuming my translation is correct (or close enough), I would then try to simplify the foregoing to say that in this setting "el" is simply a marker that the infinitive is functioning as a noun and does not have independent meaning. In that, it is like the personal "a" which is also a marker and does not get translated into English.

    Correct?



     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  9. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    As it turns out, it does exist in English.

    But I would bet that it is not in common usage among those who are not linguists. I first learned about it in this thread. Google shows 61,800 hits for "grammaticalized"; the word "grammatical" shows over 18 million hits. And the spell checker on WordReference marks "grammaticalized" as a misspelling, though it is not a misspelling if the technical meaning is intended.

    But a useful word to know, and more important, a useful concept to understand.
     
  10. manxo Senior Member

    Pontevedra
    Galego y Castellano de España
    Ricardo, thank you very much for your accurate translation; I agree with it and with your abstract.
    Only a little thing in your text. When you say
    I think it's something (not very important) mising: where the "el" that forms part of the contraction ["al"] indicates that the infinitive operates as a noun. Thnaks again
     
  11. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Sí, manxo, tiene toda la razón.
     

Share This Page