Thursday, 7 June 2012

Tell Me, What Do Your Fellow Students Say?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are catching up with recent changes to your Spanish lessons. Perhaps you have been canvassing your fellow students about the changes. The other person wants a report and says to you something like: "tell me, what do your fellow students say?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué te dicen tus compañeros?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué le dicen (a usted) sus compañeros?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to report what other people say to you. When reporting what people say, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what people say. Perhaps you want to report that:
  • A single person says something - affirmative;
  • A single person says something – negative;
  • A single person says nothing;
  • Two or more people say something - affirmative;
  • Two or more people say something – negative;
  • Two or more people say nothing;


Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Pedro me dice que ahora aprende mucho más español* (Pedro tells me that he is now learning much more Spanish);
  • Pedro me dice que ahora no tiene tantos deberes* (Pedro tells me that he doesn't have as much homework now);
  • Pedro no dice nada (Pedro doesn't say anything);
  • Ann y Simon me dicen que ahora aprenden mucho más español* (Ann and Simon tell me that that they are now learning much more Spanish);
  • Ann y Simon me dicen que ahora no tienen tantos deberes* ( Ann and Simon tell me that now they don't have as much homework);
  • Ann y Simon no dicen nada ( Ann and Simon don't say anything );

Now you should practice further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué te dicen tus compañeros?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Indirect Speech
Indirect speech is a form of speech which helps express what people say but using our own words, not theirs. The situation above and the reply examples are typical of the use of indirect speech. In Spanish “decir” (to say/ to tell) is a verb commonly used to enable the speaker to report what people say. It should be noted that indirect speech subordinate/ dependent clauses do not require a subjunctive.

Some further examples of indirect speech are:
  • Digo que voy a estudiar español (I say that I will study Spanish);
  • ¿Me dices que vas a hacer los deberes? (are you telling me that you are going to do your homework?);
  • Ian nos dice que es fácil aprender español (Ian tells us that learning Spanish is easy);
  • Estamos diciendo que vamos a hacer los deberes (we are saying that we are going to do our homework);
  • ¿Decís que aprendéis español por internet? (are you saying that you are learning Spanish online?)
  • Ann y Simon dicen que les gusta aprender español por internet (Ann and Simon say they enjoy learning Spanish online);

Now you should practise the use of indirect speech with some more sentences of your own

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