writing or not the reflexive pron?

Magg

Senior Member
Spain / Spanish
Hi!

From the Spanish sentece Henry se cayó y se lastimó el tobillo, which would be the correct translation, if any, of the below:

1. Henry fell down and hurt himself his/the ankle
2. Henry fell down and hurt the/his ankle himself.
3. Henry fell down and hurt his ankle.

If you chose the third one, would you explain why you omit 'himself' if the verb I used is a reflexive one?

Thanks a lot,
Magg
 
  • Rebecca Hendry

    Senior Member
    United Kingdom - English
    The third sentence is correct.

    If you want to say "se lastimó" it would translate into english as "he hurt himself".

    There is no mention of the part of the body he hurt so you must add the object "himself" here. You cannot just say "he hurt".

    To say "se lastimó el tobillo" however, it would translate as "he hurt his ankle".

    There is no need for the reflexive "himself" in the second sentence in english as the object here is "ankle".
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Magg said:
    Hi!

    From the Spanish sentece Henry se cayó y se lastimó el tobillo, which would be the correct translation, if any, of the below:

    1. Henry fell down and hurt himself his/the ankle
    2. Henry fell down and hurt the/his ankle himself.
    3. Henry fell down and hurt his ankle.

    If you chose the third one, would you explain why you omit 'himself' if the verb I used is a reflexive one?

    Thanks a lot,
    Magg
    Technically, the verb is not truly reflexive, but pronominal. Reflexivity is merely conventional for such verbs; it carries no semantic value. "Henry se lastimó el tobillo" does not normally mean that Henry actively harmed his own ankle.
    In other words, a verb can be "reflexive" in Spanish, but not reflexive in English.
     

    Magg

    Senior Member
    Spain / Spanish
    Thanks both for your help!!

    Rebecca, your explanation was great. I got it.
    Outsider, thanks for the remark. In my notes I have it as a reflexive verb, but what you say is far logical. Thinking of it, 'afeitarse' (to shave) in Spanish is reflexive but not in English.

    Cheers,
    Magg
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Magg said:
    Outsider, thanks for the remark. In my notes I have it as a reflexive verb, but what you say is far logical. Thinking of it, 'afeitarse' (to shave) in Spanish is reflexive but not in English.
    To be quite clear, it's not incorrect to call such verbs "reflexive". Many authors do.
    It really comes down to the fact that the same verb may be reflexive in one language, but not be reflexive in another, as you said. ;)
     

    webmagnets

    Member
    English - United States
    If it was "lastimó el tobillo", without the se, it would mean "he hurt the ankle". The "se" makes "the ankle" be "his ankle".

    There is an example of this that I saw on the metro in Chile. "No dejes que te rayen el metro." Translated: "Don't let them scratch on YOUR metro."

    It means this even though it doesn't say "tu metro". It could say it a different way without the "te". It could say, "No dejes que rayen tu metro." This would mean the same thing.

    And back to the ankle. It could also be said, "lastimó su tobillo". In other words the "se" or the "te" gives ownership to the direct object.

    Does this make sense?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top