Tuesday, May 14, 2013

¿Puedes Encontrar Al Gato?

I saw this funny picture on Pinterest yesterday with the comment, "Puedes encontrar al gato?"  And, I figured I'd just put a frame and a caption around it so I could make a mini game for my students at the start of class tomorrow.

Well . . . do you see him tucked in there?

Here is what I found interesting as a non-native speaker of Spanish.  I would not normally use the Personal A for a cat, but the Spanish speaker who left the comment did use it.  So I put it in when I made the caption, but I have to wonder if that represents a dynamic trend in the language?

About.com has the following to say on the matter:

"Many pet owners think of their animals as people, and so does Spanish grammar, so the personal a is used. But the a isn't used with ordinary animals.

Veo a mi perro, Ruff.
I see my dog, Ruff.  

Veo tres elefantes.
I see three elephants."

I suppose a similar trend in English occurred over the last 150 years or so.  In Victorian times, the correct pronoun for animals in English was always it - regardless of gender.  But over the years as we began to anthropomorphize animals more and more, we began to use personal gendered pronouns for themI looked around the Internet and found quite a bit of disagreement as to whether it is proper to refer to animals with gendered pronouns in English.  So I suppose the matter is still far from settled, though I'd say the handwriting is on the wall and it is just a matter of time before using it for an animal is considered an anachronism.  (Much the way whom is disappearing from the language, but don't get me started on that one.)

And, just in case you weren't able to find him, here is the solution to the puzzle:

Qué les vaya muy bien, amigos.  Hasta la próxima.



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