¿Qué tal el inglés de Fernando Torres?

 

Fernando Torres es la prueba viviente de que ir a vivir a un país de habla inglesa no te garantiza un inglés perfecto si no te lo curras. Para ser justos, no sabemos cómo era su inglés antes de que empezara a jugar en el Liverpool en 2007, puede que nos sorprenda con sus progresos más adelante. En este post vemos el camino que le queda por recorrer.

Aquí tenéis una transcripción parcial de una entrevista con Torres después de un partido de la selección española en Sudáfrica. Más abajo analizo algunos de sus errores.

. . . the pitch was very dry. That is maybe a difficult thing for us because we need a good pitch for try to play quickly and move the other team. But the football is like this. Not always has the best pitch. And we can to be happy for the victory. . .3 points, we’re in the next round, so we are happy.

We was expecting they play with five defense…defensive, so it was difficult to organize the team. But we play today with two wingers and try to open the pitch and play a lot of time with them and the fullbacks as well. The main thing is that Spain have a lot of different kind of players and different kind of systems, so is important for us as well. . .

Someone can beat Spain but we are in a fantastic position and in a fantastic moment. We was playing together a lot of time and winning games so it’s another record for us. It’s special to be the national time with more consecutive victories or don’t losing, so it’s fantastic and we will try to win this tournament and be a little bit better.

It’s amazing to see all the African fans enjoying with the tournament. . .

All the teams that are playing in this tournament are champions of different confederations, so are not a normal teams.

I hope to play against Australia. Will be a good news for you and me!

It’s amazing to see the football is going to other continents and everyone is enjoying with this sport.

Torres podría concentrarse en los siguientes puntos:

1. La traducción de para:

La preposición para no siempre se puede traducir como for, por ejemplo, en esta frase:

Necesitamos un buen campo para intentar jugar rápido y mover el otro equipo. –> We need a good pitch for try to play quickly and move the other team. X

Aquí usaríamos in order to:

We need a good pitch in order to play quickly and move the other team.

2. El uso de los artículos:

Cuando hablamos de las cosas en general, no usamos el artículo the (véase mi entrada “artículo sobre artículos”). Por ejemplo,

The football is like this. –> Football is like this.
It’s amazing to see that the football is going to other continents and everyone is enjoying with this sport.

También, a/an sólo se usan con sustantivos singulares:

They are not a normal teams. –> They are not normal teams.

3. La estructura báscia de las frases:

A veces se puede ver la mente hispana de Torres pensar mientras habla:

Boca de Torres:      Not   always     has      the      best       pitch.X
Cerebro de Torres: No    siempre   se tiene     el        mejor    campo.

Debería haberlo dicho así:

There isn’t always the best pitch. o
You don’t always have the best pitch.

4. El uso de los verbos modales:

Los verbos modales como can, could, must, etc., no van con to:

We can to be happy for the victory. . .

5. La conjugación y concordancia de los verbos:

Evidentemente, ¡para hablar del pasado se usa el pasado y no el presente! Este error le da un aire de cromañón al que lo comete:

We play today with two wingers and try to open the pitch. . .X –> We played today with two wingers and tried to open the pitch. . .

Con la tercera persona del singular siempre se le añade una s a los verbos en el presente:

Spain have has a lot of different kinds of players.

Nunca se dice “we was” X. Las formas del verbo to be en el pasado son estas:

I was
you were
he/she/it was
we were
they were
Entonces,

We was expecting. . . –> We were expecting. . .
We was playing together. . .–> We were playing together. . .

6. El uso del presente perfecto y del presente perfecto continuo:

Los tiempos perfectos resultan muy problemáticos para hispanohablantes porque muchas veces no se usan de la misma manera en inglés y en español. En inglés tenemos que usar un tiempo perfecto cuando se trata de cuánto tiempo lleva uno haciendo algo. Por ejemplo, cuando Torres quiere decir que los jugadores de la selección española llevan mucho tiempo jugando juntos, tendría que decirlo así:

We have been playing together for a long time.

7. El uso (obligatorio) de los pronombres:

Is important for us as well. X –> It’s important for us as well.

Are not normal teams. X –> They aren’t normal teams. : )

Will be good news for you and me! X –> That will be good news for you and me! : )

8. Otros errores:

No se dice enjoy with X:

Everyone is enjoying with this sport.

It’s amazing to see all the African fans enjoying with the tournament

News es singular e incontable, así que nunca lleva el artículo a delante.

a good news

En cuanto a la pronunciación, Torres tiene un acento muy marcado no sólo por la pronunciación de cada palabra, sino también por la entonación y la acentuación de sus frases. Suena algo robótico, un poco como éste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8I4zFSipKsTorres haría bien en usar las contracciones un poco más (en esto el Terminator le lleva ventaja con su “I’ll be back”), y también en fijarse en cómo los nativos conectamos las palabras de nuestras frases y en cómo damos más énfasis a unas sílabas que a otras.

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Posted by Zac on Jul 2, 2009 in Video |

23 Comments

Juan
Jul 3, 2009 at 7:42 am

Por lo menos entiende cuando de hablan.


 
Maria
Jul 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Soy española, y ahora mismo viviendo en Suecia desde hace poco tiempo. Tengo que decir que me veo reflejada en esos errores. Muchas gracias Zac por la ayuda. Un saludo


 
raquel
Jul 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Es cierto qe Torres no tiene una gran pronunciacion de ingles , pero y que? alomejor le cuesta como a todo el mundo, y al menos él lo intenta no? ! Que cuando vienen a España la mayoria de los ingleses no saben ni hablar el castellano, o se tiran mil años aqui y sin hablarlo bien como por ejemplo Beckham xD y luego , los que lo aprenden como nose brasileños y demás xD siempre hablan mal y ponen los verbos mal xd pero es normal que se equivoquen al igual que Torres! Y por mi parte tiene mucho merito que en lo poco que lleva alli , pueda mantener una conversacion en ingles , que otros no harian ;)!


 
RAE
Jul 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Raquel,hay gente a la que se le da mejor hablar inglés que a otra, eso está claro, como también hay gente que escribe en su propio idioma sin cometer ningún error (como poner todos los acentos bien, las comas y encima saber expresarse correctamente). Me parece que hay muchos hispanohablantes que no tienen ni idea de escribir en su propio idioma (y me está quedando cada vez más claro según voy leyendo la mayoría de los comentarios de este blog). ¿Que lo de Torres tiene mérito? Bueno, supongo que es cuestionable. Los futbolistas que para mí si tienen mérito hablando un idioma extranjero son aquellos que vienen de paises del Este de Europa, que teniendo muchos menos recursos de los que tenemos en España (va por Torres) e Inglaterra (va por Beckam) hablan un español envidiable a los pocos meses de llegar a España.


 
Dani
Jul 3, 2009 at 3:52 pm

La verdad es que el acento es horroroso pero no me quiero imaginar como fue desde aqui. Probablemente no sabia ni palabra.

Muy utiles las observaciones Zac. Todos nos vemos reflejados en ellas jejejeje


 

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Ismael
Jul 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

I think all depends on your peculiar interest in English language. Personally, I’d like to speak as well as possible in order to have a good grammar structure and, at the same time, a very good spoken English. You cannot reach a smart English style without any effort. So, if Torres had spent more time studying English, he wouldn’t probably have failed so terribly as we can see. I strongly suggest starting off with grammar and not forgetting how important phrasal verbs are. Cheers. Ismael


 
Ana
Jul 5, 2009 at 6:13 am

Creo que tiene muy mala pronunciación probablemente porque no estudio desde pequeño, porque si desde pequeño llevas practicas en el speaking, reading, listening and also grammar .. puedes conectar más facil tus conocimientos. Y ya que vive en inglaterra al escuchar las palabras trataría mas de copiarlas y de ver la manera en la cual se debe de pronunciar.Nuestro error es que queremos combinar el pasado con el presente.

Es mi comentario:I) beszosz… desde argentina!!


 
celia miralles
Jul 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I think he has learnt the English that he speaks only by listening. He hasn´t open a grammar book so far. From my pint of view this is his biger mistake. Everybody has to study some grmmmar rules (the basic)
It is very difficult to have a good accent if you didn´t start as a child with the second language.
At least he gets by and make himself understood.
He is really a good example to correct our mistakes.
Thanks again, Zach
Celia


 
Rebecca
Jul 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm

As a native English speaker, I give Fernando Torres credit for even participating in an interview in English. I wouldn’t have the courage to do the same thing in Spanish. Correct grammar in English is important, but even with mistakes I can basically understand what someone is trying to say. But when a person has poor pronunciation, even if the grammar is perfect, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to understand. I found Torres’ pronunciation so problematic that in order to understand him, I needed to read Zach’s transcription while listening to the interview.


 
Zac
Jul 5, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Hi Mom,

I agree with you about the importance of pronunciation. But do you think that the fact that you’re not familiar with football/soccer terminology might have played a role in the trouble you had understanding him?


 
Rebecca (also known as Mom)
Jul 6, 2009 at 5:10 am

I don’t think lack of familiarity with terminology had anything to do with my difficulty understanding Torres. The only two words that I didn’t know were “pitch” and “wingers.” I looked up “pitch” which you translated in Spanish as “campo.” I think, in American English, it would be “playing field” or simply “field.” I assume that “wingers” is a position on the team. To understand the interview, I don’t need to know exactly what position that is, or even if it is a position. The content of the interview was not that technical. The problem for me was that he did not pronounce words clearly and, as you said, he also had a problem with his intonation and phrasing. Those three points — pronunciation, intonation, phrasing — are why I had difficulty understanding him.

In addition to enjoying this exchange with you, Zac, I hope my experience will be helpful to those who are working on improving their English.


 
Rebecca (also known as Mom)
Jul 6, 2009 at 6:01 am

To those who have come to Fernando Torres’ defense, I want to add that I am not being critical of him. Since this interview was presented as something to learn from, I told what my experience was listening to him. Criticizing his English is very different from criticizing him. I have no doubt that he is a good football/soccer player, probably a very nice guy, and I admire him for participating in an interview in English. I’m sure he did his best. I’m also sure he did not know that this interview would be used as an example of “How Not to Speak English.”


 
Dani
Jul 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Rebecca for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree. The way you pronounce words and the intonation is basic.

I have just had lunch with a German colleague and sometimes he didn’t understand me and the other way round, due to our differences in pronunciation. He speaks perfect English in terms of vocabulary and grammar and mine is only quite good (I’d say enough) and, even with easy sentences, messages don’t arrive to the other (Germans don’t pronounce vowels in the same way, they don’t open their mouths, their W are like V… just the opposite to Spanish speakers).

On the other hand, pronunciation is not a problem at all with my Latin colleagues (Portuguese, Italians and Greeks) which reinforces the idea that, in fact, it plays a key role.

I have also colleagues trying to improve their Spanish. Definitely the pronunciation + intonation is clearly key. Sometimes they split the words, they stop in the middle of a sentence to think or just to say words in a way that invites you to find in your brain something different.

I’m practising with Zac’s tips on “wordlinking” and I’m, now, much more understandable than before, especially for native speakers. But sometimes you don’t have enouh resources to take care of your grammar and, at the same time, to pronounce perfectly… so ofently a compromise is necessary.


 
zacht111
Jul 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Hi Dani,

I’m glad to know that you’re getting so much practice in Brussels! Talking with people with other accents might be a good way to imagine how you might sound to other people.

Anyway, I would strongly recommend the book “English Pronunciation in Use” by Mark Hancock (and the CDs, too) to you are to anyone else who wants to get more into English Pronunciation. It has the same format as “English Grammar in Use” and is also published by Cambridge. It should really be called “English Pronunciation and Listening Comprehension in Use” , because the exercises are just as useful for improving your comprehension as they are for improving your pronunciation, and the two really go hand in hand.


 
julianna
Jul 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Yo siento un poco de contradicción, por una parte entiendo la finalidad de este post, que es mostrarlos que ni viviendo en un país de habla inglesa no te garantiza que lo hables a la perfección, pero por otro lado, creo que criticar la pronunciación o que se utilice mal la gramática de un idioma que no es el nuestro es lo que hace que muchas de las personas que estamos aprendiendo ingles no nos atrevamos a hablarlo, por temor a ser criticados y ridiculizados.
Ok si el chico no lo pronuncia bien, utilizó mal la gramática pero ¿y? el se dio a entender ¿no? creo que eso es lo principal.
Yo vivo en México y cuando los gringos vienen aqui no se esfuerzan ni tantito en hablar español, al contrario casi casi es obligación de uno saber “su” idioma, y cuando llegar a hablarlo lo hacen pésimamente y ellos tan quitados de la pena.
Creo que únicamente con la práctica podremos hablarlo mas fluidamente. Pero no me parece justo que se nos compare (a los que estamos aprendiendo) con alguien que su lengua nativa es el inglés.
Saludos desde México.


 
tracey
Aug 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

If you’ve ever heard English footballers speak you’ll know that “we was” and “them things” are in common use. So if Fernado is presumably copying them, it’s harsh to criticise things he’s getting from a native speaker! I don’t think it matters much as long as he’s comprehensible. I think he’s pretty good, if very basic.


 
zacht111
Aug 6, 2009 at 7:46 pm

That’s a good point, Tracey. In the US there are also plenty of athletes whose English isn’t very correct.

Actually–and this is in response to the other people who defended Torres in these comments as well–the point wasn’t so much to criticize him as it was to learn from mistakes. He probably speaks English exactly as well as he needs to in order to communicate with his team-mates, journalists, and the other people who he has to talk to. There’s really nothing wrong with speaking English badly if speaking it well isn’t something you are particularly interested in–sort of like how there’s nothing wrong with eating frozen pizzas and iceburg lettuce if you don’t particularly care about eating well.


 
Guillermo
Aug 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

Pues yo entiendo mejor a Fernando Torres que al entrevistador. ¿Podría alguien transcribir las preguntas para ir cogiendo oido? Gracias.


 
liloman
Sep 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Buenas

Me parece un video estupendo y un material muy interesante, aporte de Rebecca incluido. 😉

La verdad, no entiendo la actitud de intentar ocultar las carencias de una persona en un idioma, ¿A santo de que?.

Anoche estuve viendo videos de Antonio Banderas, a proposito de un post tuyo anterior, y como decia el entrevistador. “I haven’t complain so far”.

En resumen, me ha parecido un post muy util el cual me ha dado buenas ideas para mejorar mi ingles.

————————

Hello

It’s seemed to me a wonderful video and very interesting stuff, even Rebecca’s post. 😉

Truely, I can’t understand the behavior of try to hide failings of a person in an idiom. What’s the point?

Last night I was seeing Antonio Banderas’ videos, on purpose of a previous post yours, and such as the interviewer said. “No tengo queja alguna”.

In short, It’s seemed to me a very useful post which It gave me good ideas to improve my english.

——
PD: No se si poner seemed o seems. Creo que seems sería mas correcto en este caso (verdad general?). :S


 
Davide
Mar 10, 2010 at 2:58 am

El acento no es ni bueno ni malo, es diferente… unos tienen acento americano, otros británico, y este señor tiene acento de “Fuenla”, y es allí donde mejor le entienden..


 
Nayran
Jan 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

To me, I think he is a little be “lazy” to ry to talk in English correctly. From my point of view, he is a person who hasn´t have the emotion to do it, cuz plainly, he isn´t interesting on this matter. We are laerners and we want to achive high levels, but he is a rich sportman and he don´t need the English at all. That´s my view…


 
Nayran
Jan 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

To me, I think he is a little be “lazy” to try to talk in English correctly. From my point of view, he is a person who hasn´t have the emotion to do it, cuz plainly, he isn´t interesting in this matter. We are laerners and we want to achive high levels, but he is a rich sportman and he don´t need the English at all. That´s my view… (better)


 

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