más te quisiera, más te amo yo

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Hatha Yodel, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    I need help finding an idiomatic English translation of "mas te quisiera mas te amo yo", the refrain of the old song Yo vendo unos ojos negros, which seems to be sung throughout Latin America. I've sung it since I was a child in Mexico but was stumped when a friend asked me what this phrase meant. The best I could come up with was something like "The more I long for you the more I love you." I guess I'm not sure about the nuance of "quisiera".
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  2. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod Chicken

    Arizona
    American English
    Perhaps previous threads in the forum can help you understand the nuance. For example, if you search the forum (or the wordreference.com dictionary) for keywords like amar querer, you will see a list -- at the bottom of the dictionary entry -- a list of previous conversations in the forum with those words in the title. Another search that will be useful to you is amo quiero.

    Saludos.
     
  3. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    Thank you, Fenixpollo, but my search for an idiomatic English translation has to do with the mood of quisiera rather than with the relationship between querer and amar. "Mas te quiero mas te amo" is one thing: what then is "mas te quisiera mas te amo?"
     
  4. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod Chicken

    Arizona
    American English
    I'm confused by your posts, HY, because your profile information says that you're a native speaker of Spanish.
    I'm not sure... you tell me. In other words, if you can explain the nuance of "quisiera" to us (in Spanish or English), we can help you find the idiomatic translation you're looking for.
     
  5. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    I'm a native speaker of Spanish but like many of us who have lived in the USA for years (45 in my case) I'm sometimes stumped by trying to say in idiomatic English a simple Spanish phrase that comes naturally to my lips. The song "Yo vendo unos ojos negros" is well known and is sung in many Latin American countries. The refrain is "Mas te quisiera, mas te amo yo, y toda la noche la paso suspirando por tu amor." My embarassment is due to my weak grasp of formal Spanish grammar. Is quisiera here subjunctive? conditional? What follows from that?
    May I add that I have often found help from those who learned Spanish "not as natives" because of their deeper study of formal grammar.
    So I do hope that someone reading this can help resolve this duda of mine.
     
  6. Santiago Jorge

    Santiago Jorge Senior Member

    Washington
    English, USA
    Hatha,

    I was searching for something else, but got intrigued by your excellent question here. While I have studied Spanish grammar at an advanced level, I certainly would not dare suggest that I have arrived at an expert level, which is why I love using this website so much. Nevertheless, I would like to take a stab at this issue you raised. I will first give you a possible translation, and then I will give you the grammatical reasons why that translation would be fitting.

    One way to translate “Mas te quisiera, mas te amo yo” is: “The more I keep longing for you (desiring you), the more I love you.”

    Now, if you care to wade through the grammatical reasons, here they are:

    The "tense" used with the word "quisiera" is the imperfect subjunctive mood, where the key word here is "mood:" the focus is less on a raw fact, and more on a state of mind — a mental or emotional attitude. However, before we continue with this concept of mood specifically, perhaps we should talk about the subjunctive mood more generally first.

    The subjunctive mood is almost like a whole parallel way to speak, outside of the “normal” way of speaking (indeed, whole books have been written about the subjunctive). Like the indicative, the “normal, other,” way to conjugate verbs to express past, present, and future, the subjunctive has: the imperfect subjunctive (a type of past), present perfect subjunctive (another type of past: a.k.a. past subjunctive), past perfect subjunctive (a.k.a. pluperfect subjunctive), present subjunctive, future subjunctive (rarely used), and the future perfect subjunctive (also rarely used). I tell you all this to show you how we will also need to discuss the “imperfect” part of the imperfect subjunctive mood too.

    With that established, the subjunctive verb is often used in the dependent clause of a compound sentence [one having two subjects and, consequently, two corresponding verbs. For example: I hope that you can come. Where “I hope” is the principle clause, on which the dependent clause “you can come” depends, and which the both of them are usually “glued” together by a conjunction (normally the word “that” as you see here)]. When a verb is conjugated in one of the subjunctive forms the overall “feel” of the subjunctive verb is governed by the principle clause which often introduces: volition, causation, necessity, advisability, emotion, doubt, uncertainty, or denial. These all make up the basic subjunctive “attitude” or “feel” that layers over the top of the meaning of the actual verb in question. Where there is no principle clause that determines this, like in the phrase from the song you mentioned, the subjunctive attitude is presumed because of the subjunctive conjugation.

    Now, back to the phrase from the song, “Mas te quisiera, mas te amo yo” the focus of “quisiera” is on the emotion, an issue of the heart (as distinct from a raw fact), and the “imperfect past” part of it is that it is an uncompleted action. So, one way you could translate this is: “The more I keep longing for you (desiring you), the more I love you,” where the “keep longing/desiring” refers to an uncompleted action that started at some point in the past, but continues to fall short of closure.

    I hope all this helps, but maybe it was simply too much and confusing . . .. :eek:

    Saludos.
     
  7. riscman Senior Member

    Warwick England
    English-English
    Thanks to Santiago for the explanation of the subjunctive. It is a whole world expression that is vestigial at best now in English.

    I think the key to this phrase is in the two occurrences of the word "mas".

    "te quisiera" expresses doubt - "I think I might want you". The addition of "mas" puts the emotion on a scale moving towards certainty. Ie. pushing the subjunctive towards the indicative. "te quisiera" moves closer to "te quiero". "The more certain I am that I want you the more sure I am that I love you.

    Or as Elvis Presley put it: "I want you I need you I love you"
     
  8. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    Many thanks to both Santiago Jorge, for a brilliant translation and lucid explication, and to ricsman for illuminating what makes this an intriguing question. Mas X, mas y is idiomatic, and the change from quisiera to amo makes this lyrical and memorable. You've helped me understand why this song, and especially this line, has grown along with me since my childhood. I once read in an excellent book, on how to teach English to advanced learners, that the hardest thing for a foreigner to learn /understand is why one says "What would you do if you won the lottery?" The answer is usually along the lines of "If I will win the lottery ... ", possibly "If I would win the lottery ..." but there's a strong resistance to using what looks like a past tense, won, but is 'really' a subjunctive, vestigial in English. When I tried this out with an advanced group of Spanish speakers we ended up having a lively argument about el subjuntivo en español: it ended with half the group shouting at the other half (they were all Dominicanos) "No wonder you voted for so and so if you speak cervantino!" That's when I realised there is also a, well, sociolinguistic dimension to the use of the subjunctive in certain contexts.
    Again many thanks for resolving this duda of mine.
     
  9. stumerr Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Hatha wrote: "I need help finding an idiomatic English translation of "mas te quisiera mas te amo yo", the refrain of the old song ..."

    Hi Hatha,

    I like the sensitivity of, first, your question and, second, your subsequent explanation to fenixpollo.

    Your own "The more I long for you, the more I love you," is probably a good semi-direct translation, but perhaps "The more I can't have you, the more I want/love you," better captures the dramatic tension intended by the songwriter.

    I know it's far from a direct translation, and I don't know the rest of the song. Furthermore, I am only an intermediate Spanish speaker, but I know that writers love and need tension.

    There's the obvious tension/confusion in the "apparent" redundancy of "te quisiera" and "te amo." Then there’s this secondary tension with the songwriter’s use of “te quisiera” itself.

    I believe that in the old usage of “quisiera,” (with all of subjunctive’s inherent doubtfulness) substituted as it was for “querria,” (in order to give EVEN MORE emphasis to the lack of presumption and deference OVER AND ABOVE what was already the highly conditional and uncertain-of-outcome “querria”) you wound up with a meaning of “quisiera” which was so polite it meant an incredibly tentative and timid wish for something likely as not to be out of reach. And of course the modern meaning is just "I would please like...(eg, french fries)" So there’s a big tension between the original and the modern meaning.

    So, maybe the songwriter’s longing for this woman is completely in vain b/c she doesn't love him back, and he knows it. Hence, “Quisiera.” That would resolve the enigmatic lack of coherence of "the more I long for you the more I love you," and it would explain why the lyric has resonated with you all these years as a native speaker, even though you can't say exactly why: it doesn't seem to make sense on a literal, surface level, but in a deeper, subtle way it does.

    So, perhaps the song does make sense after all. You knew it all along.
     
  10. Martintxo Senior Member

    Spain-UK
    Spanish, Spain
    As a native speaker of Spanish I have known that song since I was a child and that specific sentence has NEVER made sense to me or anyone I know.

    Just in case it helps.

    As you know, many songs' lyrics are not always logical (some lyrics writers get away with BIG mistakes some times).
     
  11. macame

    macame Senior Member

    Half a mile to heaven
    Spanish & Galician
    Creo que aquí no es la misma persona "la que quiere" y "la que ama", me explico:
    A lo largo de toda la letra de la canción se habla de una traición o un engaño amoroso. Con lo cual la comparación se hace entre los rivales: más te quisiera (el otro/la otra) más te amo yo.
    Por lo menos así lo entiendo yo.
     
  12. Martintxo Senior Member

    Spain-UK
    Spanish, Spain
    En este caso tiene sentido pero pillado por los pelos. De todas formas "quisiera" no es la forma verbal correcta (ni la forma de decirlo) y parece que se eligió para que suene musicalmente bien en vez de decir "más te quiere él, más te amo yo", que sería lo apropiado.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  13. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England

    As for the idiomatic English...

    We have a song

    "The More I See You"

    The more I see you
    The more I want you

    Somehow this feeling
    Just grows and grows
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2009
  14. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    I agree, It was trying simply to give some kind of translation, not to be exact. In the English song, the usage is correct but of course I do not know the subtleties of the Spanish phrase, if indeed, as people have said, it has any real meaning.

    Thanks for pointing that out though! Good point. :)

    Note "the more one does something the more one does something else" fixed phrase
    Ejemplo
    "The more I learn Spanish the more I realise that I cannot understand the subjunctive"
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  15. rafajuntoalmar

    rafajuntoalmar Senior Member

    Barcelooooonaaaa
    Castellano (tanto argentino como peninsu
    Hola:

    Yo también conozco esta canción desde pequeño y la he cantado innumerables veces. Siempre me ha parecido que ese "más te quisiera" es una forma algo arcaica y local (pero no incorrecta) de decir "te querría más" y que se trata de una suerte de condicional en la que el subjuntivo reemplaza la forma condicional habitual: te querría más si no me hubieses traicionado. El "más te amo yo" significa que a pesar de la traición, el amor persiste.

    Por ejemplo, en Argentina he oído innumerables veces y durante gran parte de mi juventud usé "pareciera" por "parecería", "quisiera" por "querría", etc. En alguna parte del sitio web de la Real Academia Española hay una nota sobre este uso, tal vez ayudaría echarle un vistazo.
    Aquí hay una pequeña nota que dice más o menos lo que he explicado, pero mejor (el apartado es el de Uso del condicional).

    Saludos,
     
  16. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    Otro ejemplo en Inglés

    Wichita Lineman

    And I need you more than want you. Chorus 2
    And I want you for all time.
    And the Wichita Lineman,
    is still on the line.

    Pero, como he dicho, No tengo ningún idea de que quiere decir el original en Español.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2009
  17. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    The sudden quickening of this thread is fascinating -- and charming. I'm glad I had the nerve to launch the thread two years ago, expressing my dudita.
    Stumerr -- gracias por tus palabras lindas. It's a lovely song -- you (and Spodulike) may enjoy browsing it on YouTube and/or iTunes etc. Los Chalchaleros do a classic version, chilenísimo. But you can also hear paraguayos, peruanos, y mexicanos, singing it, each with a different lilt.
    Martintxo and Rafajuntoalmar -- yes, it does help to know others have carried this song in their heart, each of us with a dudita and a private explanation of our own for mas te quisiera mas te amo yo.
    Spodulike -- thanks for the English lyrics! Lo mucho que te quiero y el mal pago que me das is surely ubiquitous not only in Mexican rancheras and norteños but also in Country Western songs, and many many other traditions. So it's a bit of a stretcher to claim ningún idea de lo que quiere decir la cancioncita!
    Thanks and best wishes to all who have moved this thread along its twists and turns.
     
  18. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England

    JeJe!
    No, lo que yo digo es que no tengo idea de lo que qiere decir "mas te quisiera mas te amo yo"

    I´m glad you enjoyed the thread!

    Cheers!

    spodulike
     
  19. flljob

    flljob Senior Member

    México
    México español
    Como ya te lo dijeron antes, ese quisiera debería ir en potencial: querría. También creo que querría está en el sentido de amar, no de desear, y que hay una oración elidida:
    Más te quisiera (si me lo pidieras), más te amo yo (creo que aquí el sentido es claro).


    Saludos
     
  20. stumerr Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Estoy seguro de que hay alguien que seria aun mas encantado con este hilo que lo de Hatha y yo, el compositor!

    I’m sure that there’s someone who would be even more charmed by this thread than Hatha and I, the songwriter! (Please correct my Spanish)

    I found the lyrics!

    Mas te quisiera, mas te amo yo

    y todas las noches las paso 
suspirando por tu amor.

    yo... mas te quisiera, mas te amo yo

    y todas las noches las paso 
suspirando por tu amor.



    The more I longingly love you, the more I love you
    (The more I can’t have you, the more I must)
    (Or, "The move in vain my love, the stronger it becomes)
    and I spend every night sighing for your love

    (Please correct my English!)

    Hey, maybe she died! Maybe that's why "quisiera" and the call for sorcerers to bring her back, and asking the waves! Selling black eyes sounds like some kind of black magic? Anyone recognize the reference?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2009
  21. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    Gracias stumerr

    "to long for someone" ... "to wish avidly you could be with someone"
    "to long for something" ... "to desperately want something"

    "Since she died I have longed for her embrace every day"

    Mi intento (en Inglés)

    "The more I long for you, the more I love you"
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  22. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    Excellent! "The more I long for you, the more I love you" is about as idiomatic as one could want. And it does capture the original nuance. Thanks!
     
  23. stumerr Senior Member

    US
    US English
    fenixpollo,

    Hi,
    Sorry, I didn't mean to do anything wrong by translating the lyrics myself. I was wondering if you could tell me why only 4 lines of song lyrics can be translated? Is it a copyright issue? If so, does not the personal use for educational purpose exception apply? Furthermore, I made a serious first attempt at translating them myself before asking for input from others.

    Also, why did you have to delete the original Spanish lyrics in addition to my translation of them? Do they not help us to better understand the context of the song so that we may have a better chance at answering the question of the mysterious meaning of "mas te quisiera, mas te amo?"

    Respectfully,
    Stumerr

    By the way, Hatha, it was nice to have this exchange and what we came up with was exactly what you said yourself in your first post, "The more I long for you, the more I love you." I hope it's ok that I provide a link to the rest of the Spanish lyrics I found on the web. http://www.lyricstime.com/soledad-yo-vendo-unos-ojos-negros-lyrics.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  24. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    JaJa! Sí.
     
  25. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    That is really funny, that the idiomatic translation I first offered two years ago, and then forgot, turns up at the end of the thread and now I applaud it as excellent and just what I was looking for! Food for thought.
     
  26. macame

    macame Senior Member

    Half a mile to heaven
    Spanish & Galician
    Yo pienso que si hay algo eledido es:
    (Por) más (que él/ella) te quisiera, más te amo yo.
    Que significa lo mismo que aunque él/ella te quisiera, yo te amo más que él/ella.
    Es la única forma que le veo sentido al uso de los tiempos verbales.

    El imperfecto de subjuntivo puede expresar presente, pasado o futuro. En las proposiciones concesivas, que sería el caso que nos atañe, puede alternarse con el presente de subjuntivo para expresar acción futura; pero el imperfecto implica una eventualidad más remota que el presente:
    Aunque me lo supliques de rodillas, no te perdono.
    Aunque me lo suplicases de rodillas, no te perdono.
     
  27. Bandama Senior Member

    Spanish
    Dejando de lado la dificultad de traducir una frase como ésta, que no resulta fácil de interpretar para los propios hablantes nativos, lo que sí me gustaría decir es que hay en este hilo una versión que no comparto en absoluto. Se trata de la interpretación de esta frase como si siguiera la estructura inglesa "the more... the more". No he oído que nunca se elimine en español "cuánto" (ni su versión local "contra", o incluso "entre") para este tipo de frases. Por eso:

    "Más te quisiera , más te amo yo" = "The more..., the more..." :cross:

    En cualquier caso, no se trata de esto sino más bien de lo que apuntan flijob y macame. Yo me inclino personalmente por considerar el imperfecto de subjuntivo como una versión del condicional, y el sentido lírico de la frase como una especie de aliteración:

    "Más te querría yo (si pudiera), más te quiero yo (que él)"

    Por lo tanto:

    "I would love you more (If I could), I love you more" (than him)

    Sin embargo, encuentro la opción de macame de los dos sujetos plausible también.
     
  28. rafajuntoalmar

    rafajuntoalmar Senior Member

    Barcelooooonaaaa
    Castellano (tanto argentino como peninsu
    Cheers,
     
  29. Santiago Jorge

    Santiago Jorge Senior Member

    Washington
    English, USA
    There is no good way to translate "mas te quisiera mas te amo yo" into English without having to add something to explain it in some way.

    Reviewing what we have and keeping each part in mind as we compound them into layers, we must end up with something that in English communicates all these elements:

    1. "Querer" includes the general meaning of "love."
    2. The subjunctive mood incorporates the emotional element.
    3. The "imperfect" part of the imperfect subjunctive form of querer (quisiera) adds the idea of lack of closure and of doubtfulness making the whole proposition an ongoing "pipe dream."

    And so, this all leaves us with something like:

    “The more I suffer unrealized desire for you, the more I love you.”

    Another possibility could be, though admittedly a much looser translation:

    “As I suffer ongoing and sure rejection of my desire for you, the more I love you.”

    This last one underscores how one often desires all the more what one can't have.

    What is interesting about this desperate, even pitiful, tension, enflamed by an imagination gone wild, is how it would all go away should the object of this "love" suddenly have a change of heart. Like the car-chasing dog that quickly loses interest in the parked car, the emotional energy is spurred on by the chase. No chase, no interest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  30. stumerr Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Good stuff Santiago, but we must respect that most of the native speakers seem to think that the only way the line makes sense is that if the "te quisiera" is third-person singular, despite how lovely we find it if it were first-person singular.

    macame now makes sense to me, especially now that I have extended lyrics to the song. Sorry for my extended barking up the wrong tree, and I certainly didn't mean to step on anyone's toes.

    I think the rest of the song may indeed aid us in our query. After all, context is everything. This time I won't translate, but I will ask if “mas te quisiera, mas te amo” could mean something like,

    "the more another would have/love you, the more I love you"

    That is, the 3rd person singular is "one" or "another" instead of a specific "he" or "she?"

    sorry badama, what you say makes good sense, but I'm continuing with the convention b/c I just can't find something that works in english.


    Más te quisiera,
    más te amo yo,
    y todas las noches lo paso
    suspirando por tu amor!

    ps I will start a new thread to ask a tangential question about whether "mi negra" could be a slave girl who he is literally selling b/c she doesn't love him. This is evidently a very old chilean folksong.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2009
  31. Hatha Yodel Junior Member

    Ajo, AZ, USA
    Mexico
    Some sing los vendo por traicioneros (instead of hechiceros) which may lend a modicum of support to the notion that a love triangle is implied, and that a rival is the subject of quisiera. But this still seems, as Martintxo put it yesterday, pillado por los pelos (i.e. catching at straws by the skin of one's teeth!) The conceit of the song is that this is the call of a street peddler ("Black eyes for sale!"), and I can't quite square that with the idea of a shadowy rival off-stage. If pushed, I would now favor the notion that this is a touch of archaism, of sureño colloquialism. I believe the song began life in the south of Peru. (By the way, Los Chalchaleros are, indeed, argentinísimo, but their version of this song still strikes me as chilenísimo -- unlike, say, their zambas.)

    Looking back on the whole thread I'm left feeling this has been an interesting little case study of how various alternative hermeneutic strategies can be invoked to make sense of a short, seemingly simple and idiomatic phrase. I am grateful to all who have joined this conversation.
     
  32. Santiago Jorge

    Santiago Jorge Senior Member

    Washington
    English, USA
    Oops! I have to admit I just jumped back into this thread without reading all the input in between.

    If the phrase does refer to a third person, and I am not entirely sure it does, isn't it like the human heart to love what we percieve others to love, and by extension, hate what we percieve others hate?

    I agree with Hatha, this has been a very interesting case study.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  33. Scalpel72 Senior Member

    Español (Colombia)

    The sense of 'love´is quite different from quisiera (want, like). The whole lyrics implies someone else is behind his loved person, and despite this other person wanting his beloved woman, he, himself loves her more. Love is a magic but painful feeling with huge dose of forgiveness and sublimated passion.

    Regards

    Scalpel72
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  34. macame

    macame Senior Member

    Half a mile to heaven
    Spanish & Galician
    I think it could be this way:
    However much he wanted you, I love you more than he.
     
  35. stumerr Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Ok, I get it now, I shall not post more than 4 lines of lyrics again. I found the expanded lyrics at http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=61125&messages=21
    about half-way down that thread. Earlier posts in this mudcat.org thread have different "Ojos Negros" songs and abridged versions of our song "Yo Vendo Unos Ojos Negros," so keep scrolling till you see, "Here is the "complete" song with the correct title."
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009

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