Saturday 10 November 2012

Ser y Estar

In Spanish there are two different verbs for 'to be'.

Which, when you first hear that, might seem a little odd.  Being is just being isn't it? Why on earth would you need two different ways to say it?

But I think the Spanish are really on to something here.

Consider the difference between:

She is cold


She is cold.

You're right, not much. On the face of it.

What about this:

She is cold

She is a cold person.

Or this:

I am happy

I am a happy person.

One is state, one is trait. There's a big difference.

What's this got to do with my Spanish lesson?

Ser means 'to be', always, as a character trait, as part of your make up. Estar means to be, right now, right here, in this moment, as a state.

So what?

What I love about this is that the Spanish are able to express the difference between being happy right now, and being happy as a way of life in a way that the English just can't.  I'm not even sure half of us have even considered there might be a difference in the first place.

But what the Spanish or indeed the rest of us might not know, is that the more I can say "estoy feliz", the more I am able to say "soy feliz".

Regularly feeling happy in the moment, breeds happiness for life.

So, 'salud' to that!

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