definite article or pronoun

zeppo

Senior Member
USA
I would appreciate a translation of the following:
Por eso Joe y Mary buscaron una casa, y por eso nos cambiamos a la de Mango Street, muy lejos, del otro lado de la cuidad.
I find the use of "a la", highlighted in blue, interesting, and worth remembering. But I want to clarify how it would most commonly be understood.

Thanks!
 
  • rainy7

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    You can see the translation in the other post. ;)
    The "a la" refers to the house itself... "to the one" on Mango Street.
    Hope it helps... Saludos.
     

    zeppo

    Senior Member
    USA
    Actually, Rainy, judging by the translation you provide, it does not mean "the one." I did recognize that ("the one") as a logical possibility, but I also seemed to remember a grammatical point that might be at work here about not having to use the noun after the second referencing definite article. But my memory is vague as to whether that is the case. So I wanted to distinguish which it was. Is "la" a pronoun or an definite article here? Perhaps the point may be explained in how a native Spanish speaker would translate the following English into Spanish (as opposed to Spanish into English):
    • That's why Mama and Papa looked for a house, and that's why we moved into the one on Mango Street.
    and likewise, how would the following translate:
    • That's why Mama and Papa looked for a house, and that's why we moved into the house on Mango Street.
    -
    and furthermore, would it the following be bad grammar or seem awkward or to the native Spanish speaker?:
    • Por ese Mamá y Papá buscaron una casa, y por eso nos cambiamos a la casa de Mango Street.
    thanks

    PS: sorry for the hodge podge of text formats. I'm unable to get them to become uniform. For instance, I can highlight the italics and switch them to normal text, but upon saving they appear right back in italics again. Same goes with the other formating.
     

    rainy7

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hi, zeppo.

    It seems that the "la" in your sentence can be considered as a type of relative pronoun, so would be translated as "the one", as I'd thought.
    Maybe someone can give a better explanation about this, but check out this page to see a small article about this subject: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/qt/el_de.htm

    Saludos.
     

    zeppo

    Senior Member
    USA
    rainy7 said:
    Hi, zeppo.

    It seems that the "la" in your sentence can be considered as a type of relative pronoun, so would be translated as "the one", as I'd thought.
    Maybe someone can give a better explanation about this, but check out this page to see a small article about this subject: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/qt/el_de.htm

    Saludos.

    Thanks! Actually, I've seen that about.com page before and that's probably what I'm thinking of. I'm bookmarking it.

    I'd still like to hear from some native Spanish speakers as to why it was not translated to Spanish as it was written in English. Would it sound awkward that way (using the word "casa" twice instead of a pronoun) to a Spanish speaker? It could help me understand any subtleties and help engrain the proper use of pronouns into my mind.
     

    Rayines

    Senior Member
    Castellano/Argentina
    Hallo: I hope not to bring confussion:

    The phrase el de and related forms such as las de can be used to form possessives or as a translation of "that" or "those" under some circumstances. Note that while el in such a usage might be considered a type of relative pronoun, it is not used with a written accent.
    I've copied this text from the page rainy7 mentioned.
    I think this is correct. Then I would translate "......we moved into the one on Mango Street." as "....nos mudamos a ésa/aquélla de (en?) Mango Street". ("that" in the quotation). And, a little less specific, but not wrong (for me):"....nos mudamos a la de...."
    But, when the author says that "el" might be considered a type of relative pronoun, I think it might not in the sense of "relative pronouns". Maybe he should say "a sort of pronoun (because it replaces the noun)". I agree with Zeppo, when he says:"Would it sound awkward that way (using the word "casa" twice instead of a pronoun) to a Spanish speaker?" YES. Simply, it isn't necessary to repeat the noun.
    It's enough with the article.
     

    rainy7

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Rayines said:
    But, when the author says that "el" might be considered a type of relative pronoun, I think it might not in the sense of "relative pronouns". Maybe he should say "a sort of pronoun (because it replaces the noun)".
    I agree, it was a rather ambiguous way of explaining it, on behalf of the author, considering that "relative pronoun" has a distinct meaning to a pronoun that is simply relative.
     

    Rayines

    Senior Member
    Castellano/Argentina
    In any case, the article "el" or "la" + the noun (in this case "casa") might be considered a demonstrative pronoun (pronombre demostrativo), because the whole expression can be replaced by "that". Hmmm.....
     

    zeppo

    Senior Member
    USA
    Ok. In English, in the context presented, we can say it either way without thinking twice about it. So if I understand correctly, this is not the case in Spanish, and the redundancy is more glaring to the Spanish speaker's ear. Thus, rather than translating the English directly here,
    That's why Mama and Papa looked for a house, and that's why we moved into the house on Mango Street.
    becomes
    Por ese Mamá y Papá buscaron una casa, y por eso nos cambiamos a la de Mango Street.
     
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