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julianm

Mar 31, 2009, 9:15 PM

Post #1 of 10 (6121 views)

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..gente buena

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Hi All,

This should be a straightforward question(!):

Es buena gente.

or

Son buena gente.

Which of the two sentences is grammatically correct? I've always thought it was the former, but after watching a subtitled program tonight that used 'son', I'm now thinking otherwise. Or are both correct?

Mil gracias!



jerezano

Apr 1, 2009, 8:39 AM

Post #2 of 10 (6102 views)

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Re: [julianm] ..gente buena

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Hello julianm,

Straightforward questions often have complicated answers.

Son buena gente Es buena gente Which is correct? Both. True the word itself is singular but the idea is plural.

Let's take English for example. We in the United States say "The Government is....." In England they say "The Government are....."

So it all depends upon what you are thinking when you say gente which translates as people. Are you thinking collectively of the people as being one whole unified group or are you thinking of all those individuals going off in separate directions forming different groups?

If I were thinking of a family for example I would say Son buena gente. If I were thinking of the head of that family only I would say Es buena gente.

Perhaps there are other posters here who differ from me, but I have heard both on so many occasions that I am positive that both are correct.

jerezano


sergiogomez / Moderator

Apr 1, 2009, 12:47 PM

Post #3 of 10 (6091 views)

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Re: [julianm] ..gente buena

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Es buena gente if it's one person.

Son buenas gentes if it's two or more people.

It's like saying he/she is a good person, or they are good people. Sometimes TV announcers leave off the "s" at ends of words because of their accent, which can make it sound like it's singular, "buena(s) gente(s)."


julianm

Apr 1, 2009, 3:28 PM

Post #4 of 10 (6076 views)

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Re: [julianm] ..gente buena

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Thank you both for your input. Much appreciated.

It's odd because I've never come across 'son buenas gentes' before - and it never occurred to me that the plural existed in this form! Ok, I think know how to use the term properly now!

J


Carron

Apr 1, 2009, 6:09 PM

Post #5 of 10 (6063 views)

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Re: [julianm] ..gente buena

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When I taught English in Chiapas I did not agree with what the textbook said I was supposed to teach my students on lots of different things. One was the words "person" and "people". The text said very clearly that the plural of "person" is "people". I insisted that the plural of "person" is "persons" and the plural of "people" is "peoples". Gave lots of examples of the respective correct uses. Almost got myself fired over teaching it "wrong".


Oscar2

Apr 1, 2009, 6:54 PM

Post #6 of 10 (6054 views)

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Re: [julianm] ..gente buena

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We were having dinner and cocktails with a younger couple at a restaurant in San Miguel de Allende one evening, and the conversation of Morelia, their home town, led to overtures which spelled out the love they held for it. One thing led to another and we hit it off well. They invited us to go to one of their favorite haunts in SMA. I believe it was called something Mama’s or Mama something. We got there about 11 pm and yes the place was rocking.

Surprisingly, Sonia and Yermó both spoke some English but Sonia was much better at it. About close to 2 a.m., we were rocking and Sonia, I should say, was feeling pretty good… She was all smiles and loved to dance and at one point, she looked into my eyes and said, es mucho gusto conociendo ustedes porque son buena gente (she then grabbed my hand in both of hers and again looked me in the eyes again and said) eres firme. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant or how to take it but her look was one easy to understand, feel and appreciate. But I think the way it was said meant more..

Has anyone heard the words eres firme and it’s connotations under different circumstances?


jerezano

Apr 2, 2009, 8:46 AM

Post #7 of 10 (6036 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] ..gente buena

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Hello

Quote:>>>>>>>>> Es buena gente if it's one person.

Son buenas gentes if it's two or more people.<<<<<<<<<<

Hmmmmn. True many Mexicans have a habit of swallowing their s's. Many others do not. But Son buena gente is NOT a case of swallowed s's.

gente is both singular and plural just as fish is both singular and plural or money is both singular and plural. Es buena gente is just as correct grammaticaly as is Son buena gente. Son buena gente says They are good people. Es buena gente says He/she /(you are) is a good person.

Gente is used as fish is used or as money is used. We say the Monies of the world are varied or the Fishes of the sea are innumerable or Las Gentes del mundo son de muchas razas when we wish to speak of different types of those fish or money or gente. So far as I have been able to listen and determine, that is the only time that gente is used in the plural gentes.

The point at which we can quibble is that dictionaries say gente means people. They usually don't say that gente can also mean one person. But in reading Spanish from both the present and the past I have encountered the use of gente to mean one person many, many times. So, no matter what the dictionary says, that is the way it is used. Moreover definition 5 of the word gente in the Real Academia Española says: >>>>>>>>>>5. f. Am. persona (&#8214; individuo) which confirms what I have just said.

Now that doesn't say you won't possibly hear Son buenas gentes. It's just that I, personally, have never heard it.

jerezano


sergiogomez / Moderator

Apr 2, 2009, 10:35 AM

Post #8 of 10 (6025 views)

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Re: [jerezano] ..gente buena

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Son buena gente if you're referring to a group collectively. Like if you want to talk about all the members of the PRI collectively as being nice people, you would say son buena gente. Sorry, bad example, I guess I have politics on my mind. That said, son buena gente is an expression that more educated speakers tend to use. To speak from personal experience, it's much more common to hear the average Mexican, with a 6th grade education or less, say son buenas gentes when talking about a group of people he just met, (most) all of whom he thinks are nice people.

Does that make sense?


sergiogomez / Moderator

Apr 2, 2009, 10:51 AM

Post #9 of 10 (6021 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] ..gente buena

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In Reply To
She was all smiles and loved to dance and at one point, she looked into my eyes and said, es mucho gusto conociendo ustedes porque son buena gente (she then grabbed my hand in both of hers and again looked me in the eyes again and said) eres firme.

In a situation like this, I take "eres firme" to mean something along the lines of eres sincero, and eres de confianza. Firme would be like firm, deep-rooted in your convictions. You can think of it as an explanation of why she says eres buena gente. You're a good person because she notices that you are firme (consistent, sincere) in what you say and do, and therefore de confianza (likeable, trustworthy).

A deeply personal comment like eres firme, eres sincero, or eres de confianza is a true compliment coming from a Spanish speaker. Simply because it usually comes after a considerable amount of observing and reflecting on someone's actions, and coming to the conclusion that "yes, I really do like so-and-so because..." In other words, you probably won't hear a compliment like this after a brief first meeting. It's something that's hard to explain with words, but when you notice how Spanish speakers interact with you, you can see and hear the significance of a simple compliment like "You seem like a nice person."

It's like finally noticing how some people widen their eyes when they see you and like you, and narrow their eyes when they see you and don't like you. Once you notice it, you never forget it.


Oscar2

Apr 2, 2009, 6:05 PM

Post #10 of 10 (6003 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] ..gente buena

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Olivia, I agree, that’s a toughie and I apologize for asking a question, which really taps-into some soul searching to come up with possible answers in line with situational conditions, which says so much more. The words themselves, although poignant, are only but abbreviations coupled with meaningful innuendo, which gives it the life one “feels.” How does one describe love, amor or anything else, which tries to connect to an indescribable emotion? Body language, facial features, lips, eyes, gesticulations, in reality, is all apiece of the language we try our best to touch with words and more to make us understood.


And why is this? Well, we know that the complete English language is made up of only five vowels. (Not sure of Spanish) Understanding, communication, emotions and more is at the mercy of trying to emit the only sounds we know to explain, what this moment means with such vastly limited “verbal short hand.” You pointed out “so well,” the eyes at times can say so much more without uttering a word. Poets have said, “The eyes are to windows to the soul.”

What ever Sonia meant when she said this to me, not only carries with it very deep meaning but worse, it means she seen something in me which sets the bar for me to live up too and sheees……..sometimes I just struggle along trying to keep dancing and remember what I initially went into the garage to find……. Laugh Gracias, buen dicho.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Apr 2, 2009, 6:08 PM)
 
 
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