Las once dan


New Member
English – USA
Estaba leyendo el poema "Calle del Arrabal" por Dámaso Alonso cuando me encontré con la frase "Las once dan." ¿Qué quiere decir esto? Mi primer pensamiento era algo como las campanas sonaban para indicar que eran las once, pero no estoy seguro.


los chicos de una escuela la lección.
Las once dan.
Por el arroyo pasa
un viejo cojitranco
que empuja su carrito de naranjas.
  • gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think your hunch is right. The verb dar is used when the subject is a clock, to refer to striking the hour. They might not be bells in the traditional sense, and instead might be the bell of a clock tower, the chime of a school clock, etc.

    Cerros de Úbeda

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain (Galicia)

    It's a poetic way of just saying "it's eleven".
    (In this poem, that has something of the tone of a haiku, I guess).

    There are two / three uncommon usages in this sentence;

    1- The use of the verb "Dar", instead of the more colloquial "ser", for telling the time.
    2- The arrangement of the syntactical elements in the sentence, with "S + verb"
    (*) More subtly, on a phonetical level:
    Notice the sound of that "dan", itself. Itself ringing like a bell, taking centre stage, as the protagonist of the action; becoming the focus point of the poem... Its sound, somehow, turning into the scene itself... like a metonymy of the landscape.

    In Spanish, the common way of saying this would be "Son las once". Or, more formally - as well as in a more archaic way - "dan las once".

    Notice the syntactical structure, with the verb before the subject, which would be the standard way of telling the hours.

    This a very common feature of Spanish; the inversion of the syntactical elements in the sentence.

    The common syntactical pattern of Spanish is "Subject + verb + predicate", as in English. But with the difference that Spanish allows for the common inversion of its elements.

    Therefore, the subject is often after the verb, like here (or in any other position, for example, at the end of the sentence). Other times, the subject is omitted.
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