History or Story?


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How can we differentiate the terms “history” and “story”? In Spanish only one word, historia, is used to encompass both of these concepts.

LET’S START WITH HISTORY:

  • History describes important events that occured in the past. It objectively narrates what took place, when and where it took place, who participated, and potentially why it happened.

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  • History is a subject we study in school to learn about the past.

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  • We can learn about the history of a place, a person or group of persons, a philosophy or religion, etc.

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He Said, She Said

Practice makes perfect when it comes to gender-specific pronouns. Although Spanish has grammatical gender, Spanish personal pronouns can be gender-neutral (su, le, se, etc.).

Moreover, given that the subject pronoun isn’t obligatory, a sentence in the 3rd person could be referrering to a man (él) or a woman (ella).

The following sentences exemplify this ambiguity.

  • Le invitó a su casa. He or she invited him or her to his or her house.
  • Se defendió. He or she defended himself or herself.

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Now, let’s take a closer look at English personal pronouns. Remember, “it” is gender neutral and refers to objects, abstractions, and most animals.

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Knock Knock. Who’s There? It’s Me!

Let’s imagine that you live in a tiny apartment with killer built-ins in the heart of Madrid…

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…and someone knocks on your door. The following exchange could take place in Spanish:

–¿Quién es?

–Soy yo.

Clearly, no one would ever reply saying “es yo” or “es nosotros.”

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However in your cozy apartment in New York City, the same conversation would go something like this in English: Continue reading