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No tengo nada

Rob-B23

Rob-B23

One of the flash cards indicated that " No tengo nada" means - "I have nothing". Why isn't it just "Tengo nada" ? No tengo nada would seem to translate as I don't have nothing in English.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Rob, That is exactly right, double negatives are improper in English but in Spanish it's improper to omit the no. Saludos, Ricardo.
Rob-B23

Rob-B23

Gracias Ricardo!
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Rob, De nada amigo. I might add that I would translate the sentence as: I don't have anything or I have nothing, which is what it means in Spanish. In my opinion, and this is stated by others, literal translation can actually impede learning. Saludos, Ricardo
Rob-B23

Rob-B23

I appreciate what you're saying Ricardo. I would add that everyone learns differently and is looking for their own unique path. So while I appreciate strongly the thought about not focusing on a literal translation, I truly enjoy hearing what it is. It makes me feel good to hear the literal as well as the true meaning. I use your method to understand but press for more because it makes me feel good to test the boundaries. Hopefully that makes some sense. If not, to each his own. Thank you very much for your commentary. Rob
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

I was watching a video just the other day that discussed this very issue. In a TED talk, the presenter was espousing his tactics for learning a new language "quickly, easily, and effectively," claiming that a person can become fluent in 6 months. I'm not sure about that, nor do I think that learning a new language is quick or easy. But he did make some good points, one of which is that those who can accept some ambiguity in the process will experience less frustration, be more relaxed, and will learn better. When I first started studying I experienced a lot of frustration when the English translation of a phrase was not literal. Over time I realized that, just like in English, some things are expressed a certain way just because they are, with little apparent reason. Having said that, I am like Rob: I too like to try to understand the literal translation of a Spanish phrase just to reconcile it in my mind. Even now, I find myself translating some phrases literally even though I know they mean something different. It is just how I have made the connection in my mind.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola a todos, Absolutely to each his own and I agree we all learn differently. In no way was my reply meant to be a judgement. I guess I should have said that for me, early on not trying to translate literally, helped me to internalize things that I no longer think about that are just in my "Spanish Mind". Saludos, Ricardo
Ava Dawn

Ava Dawn

I am open to whatever works as long as at the end I could express my thoughts in this beautiful language.
Rob-B23

Rob-B23

No worries Ricardo. I took your advice in the spirit given, as help to a struggling novice. I should explain that in personality tests I show up as "analytical". Perhaps with focus on the first part of that word, haha. Thank you and everyone else for the advice. It is sound, I'm sure. Rob

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