¿Necesitan (a) testigo?

Emiliana de Lunares

Senior Member
English-American
¡Hola a todos!


One guy is telling another that he is going to take his girlfriend to the courthouse to get married. The friend says: Do you need a witness?

So, in Spanish, would you need the impersonal a here?

Or is this translation perfectly fine as is?: ¿Necesitan testigo?

Does that sounds natural?

Muchas gracias de antemano por su ayuda.
 
  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    ¡Hola a todos!


    One guy is telling another that he is going to take his girlfriend to the courthouse to get married. The friend says: Do you need a witness?

    So, in Spanish, would you need the impersonal personal a here?

    Or is this translation perfectly fine as is?: ¿Necesitan testigo?

    Does that sounds natural?

    Muchas gracias de antemano por su ayuda.
    ¿Necesitan testigo?:tick:
    ¿Necesitan un testigo?:tick:
     

    Aviador

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Chile
    Although it is about a person, it is not about a particular person, so the personal a is not needed. Compare:
    • Necesito un testigo que pueda declarar a mi favor. (Any witness)
    • Necesito ubicar a un testigo que vi allí cuando todo sucedió. (One particular witness)
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    ¡Hola a todos!


    One guy is telling another that he is going to take his girlfriend to the courthouse to get married. The friend says: Do you need a witness?

    So, in Spanish, would you need the impersonal a here?

    Or is this translation perfectly fine as is?: ¿Necesitan testigo?

    Does that sounds natural?

    Muchas gracias de antemano por su ayuda.
    And another thought: "testigo" is a noun, and thus naturally the direct object in ¿Necesitan testigo? "Witness" can be a verb or noun, and saying "Do you need a witness?" clearly marks "witness" as noun. It would be unusual, at least to my non-native eyes, to say "Do you need witness?" because it's not clear if you mean the noun (a witness) or the verb (to witness). We don't have that problem in the Spanish phrasing because of the noun nature of "testigo." Now, it's true that in linguistics we have the concept of nominalization, where a lexical element becomes functionally a noun simply by appearing in a slot typically occupied by a noun. So, in Do you need witness? "witness" becomes a noun just by appearing as the direct object of "need." Still, nominalization can't quite trump pragmatics/semantics, and i'm not sure that "Do you need witness?" would be widely accepted (unlike its Spanish counterpart ¿Necesitan testigo?).
     

    Silvia Dee

    Senior Member
    spanish
    Testigo here is a legal figure with certain characteristics established and certain function given in the civil marriage contract, that´s why is a Noun and, being singular here, not preceded by "a" as referring to the "concept/object" and not the person itself, i would be like asking: Do you need legal advice? Necesita asesoramiento legal?/Necesita asesor legal? If you were talking about the person itself, you would say: Necesito encontrar un testigo: i need to find a witness... Necesitamos un testigo cada uno para casarnos: We need one witness each to get married...

    And another thought: "testigo" is a noun, and thus naturally the direct object in ¿Necesitan testigo? "Witness" can be a verb or noun, and saying "Do you need a witness?" clearly marks "witness" as noun. It would be unusual, at least to my non-native eyes, to say "Do you need witness?" because it's not clear if you mean the noun (a witness) or the verb (to witness). We don't have that problem in the Spanish phrasing because of the noun nature of "testigo." Now, it's true that in linguistics we have the concept of nominalization, where a lexical element becomes functionally a noun simply by appearing in a slot typically occupied by a noun. So, in Do you need witness? "witness" becomes a noun just by appearing as the direct object of "need." Still, nominalization can't quite trump pragmatics/semantics, and i'm not sure that "Do you need witness?" would be widely accepted (unlike its Spanish counterpart ¿Necesitan testigo?).
     
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