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Das Verb contar und seine verschiedenen Bedeutungen

Kennst du das Verb contar und seine Bedeutungen im Spanischen? Abgesehen von den gebräuchlichsten Übersetzungen erfährst du hier, in welchen Kontexten das Verb verwendet wird.

 

 

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Contar für „erzählen“

Eine der häufigsten Bedeutungen von contar ist „erzählen“.

 

Abuelo, te voy a contar un secreto.

Großvater, ich werde dir ein Geheimnis erzählen (verraten).

Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Primer Tesoro

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Soy Rosa Chaparro y os voy a contar la historia de Mika.

Ich bin Rosa Chaparro und ich werde dir die Geschichte von Mika erzählen.

Caption 2, Rosa La perrita Mika

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Contar für „zählen“

Wir verwenden das Verb contar auch, wenn wir Dinge beziffern oder „zählen“ wollen:

 

Y vamos contando cuántas hierbas tenemos, ¿sí?

Und wir zählen, wie viele Kräuter wir haben, ja?

Caption 47, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 7

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Es ist also eine Sache, zu zählen (contar los números) und eine ganz andere Sache, Geschichten zu erzählen (contar historias). Der Kontext sollte jedoch deutlich machen, welche Bedeutung gemeint ist. Und die folgenden Clips mit Luis Guitarra veranschaulichen das sehr gut:

 

Para contar los números, podemos usar los dedos de nuestras manos.

Um zu zählen, können wir die Finger unserer Hände benutzen.

Captions 5-6, Luis Guitarra Aprendiendo a contar

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Con él, yo aprendí a contar historias.

Mit ihm habe ich gelernt, Geschichten zu erzählen.

Caption 71, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

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Contar con als Alternative für tener (haben)

Rafael, der Sprecher in den folgenden Clips, verwendet durchweg das Verb contar in Verbindung mit der Präposition con, wo man eigentlich tener (haben) erwarten würde.  Schau dir das mal an:

 

Cuando uno ya cuenta con familia...

Wenn man schon eine Familie hat...

Caption 11, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Yo cuento con una... con una farmacia, con una mini-farmacia.

Ich besitze eine... eine Apotheke, eine Mini-Apotheke.

Caption 18, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Obwohl die wörtliche Bedeutung mitzählen ist, meint Rafael mit contar con (wenn er über eine Familie spricht), dass man eine Familie „hat", während dasselbe Verb im Beispiel mit der Apotheke mit „besitzen" übersetzt wird. Schauen wir uns einen weiteren Clip von unserem Freund Fermín an:

 

Por supuesto, tenemos la suerte de contar con una señora británica que se encarga de controlar que los gatos callejeros que viven aquí

Natürlich haben wir das Glück, eine britische Dame zu haben, die sich darum kümmert, dass die Straßenkatzen, die hier leben …

Captions 20-21, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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Wir sehen also, dass „haben“ oder „besitzen“ beides mögliche Übersetzungen für contar con sind.

 

Contar con in einem anderen Kontext

Wenn jemand hingegen fragt "¿Puedo contar contigo?", will er nicht wissen, ob er dich „haben“ kann, sondern ob er „auf dich zählen“ kann. Schauen wir uns ein paar Beispiele für contar con mit dieser Bedeutung an.

 

cuente con mi apoyo y con la embajada para lo que se le ofrezca.

Zählen Sie auf meine Unterstützung und auf die Botschaft, wenn Sie etwas brauchen.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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sabes que puedes contar conmigo, ¿sí? -Bueno.

Du weißt, dass du dich auf mich verlassen kannst, OK? -OK.

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 6

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Sin contar con

Für sin contar oder sin contar con, ist die Übersetzung ins Deutsche immer abhängig vom Kontext. Zwei Möglichkeiten dafür wären zum Beispiel „nicht zu erwähnen“ oder „ohne zu berücksichtigen“.
Schauen wir uns ein paar Clips aus unserer Serie Confidencial an: Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Eso sin contar los lujos que te debes dar

Ganz zu schweigen von dem Luxus, den du dir gönnst

Caption 21, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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Eso, sin contar con la publicidad que vais a recibir

Das, ohne zu berücksichtigen, wieviel Publicity du bekommen wirst.

Captions 52-53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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Hoffentlich hat dir die Lektion geholfen das wunderbare und wichtige Wort „contar“ besser zu verstehen.  Und wir freuen uns sehr über deine Vorschläge und Kommentare

 

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Se Trata de Tratar [It's About Trying]

In one of our latest videos, Raquel tells us about a very traditional festival in Spain: The "Fallas." When she explains what these "Fallas" are, she uses an expression that is worth exploring:

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Se trata de unas figuras de gran tamaño hechas de cartón y de madera.

It's about some large-sized figures made of cardboard and wood.

Captions 26-27, Raquel - Fiestas de España

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The verb tratar means "to treat," "to try" or "attempt," but also "to deal with" and, like in the previous example, "to be about." Let's review some examples to master this useful verb.

 When tratar means "to treat," is used the same way as in English:
 

¿Podrías tratarlo un poco mejor a tu hijo, no?

You could treat your son a little better, no?

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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In Spanish, however, this verb has many different applications. For example:
 

Necesitamos tratarnos.

We need to get to know each other.

Caption 18, El Ausente - Acto 3

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Bueno, a Felipe he tenido el privilegio de tratarlo.

Well, I have had the privilege to know Felipe.

Caption 38, Felipe Calderón - Publicidad

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Encerrarlos y maltratarlos es una cosa muy cruel.

To lock them up and abuse them is a very cruel thing.

Caption 33, Kikirikí - Animales

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Para tratar a alguien de "tú", tienes que tener una cierta cercanía...

To address someone with "tú," you have to have a certain closeness...

Captions 22-23, Fundamentos del Español - 6 - Tú y Usted

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Me gusta tratar con... con el público, con las personas que vienen.

I like dealing with... with the public, with the people who come.

Captions 22-23, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de biblioteca

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Just as, in English, you can't use the verb "to treat" to translate the previous examples, in Spanish you can't use the verb tratar to express an idea such as "to treat someone to something." Instead you have to use the verbs invitar or convidar (to invite, to share):
 

Ni siquiera te convidé un café.

I didn't even treat you to a cup of coffee.

Caption 55, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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Additionally, tratar can also mean "to try or attempt":
 

Pero en Andalucía varias iniciativas tratan de protegerlo.

But in Andalucia several initiatives attempt to protect it.

Caption 26, Club de las ideas - Batería de breves

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But don't ever try to use the verb tratar in the same way we use "to try" in expressions such as "try the food" or "try on the jeans." For that, Spanish uses another verb: probar. So, you must say prueba el pastel ("try the cake"), and me probé los pantalones ("I tried on the jeans") but never ever: trata el pastel or me traté los pantalones.

Tratar de (to try to) looks like tratarse de (to be about) but has a different meaning and it's not reflexive. Here is another example of tratarse de, using negation:
 

Ya ves que el juego no se trata de vestir mejor

You see that this game is not about dressing better

Caption 24, Hector Montaner - Apariencias

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These two examples are interesting. The same expression is used in Spanish, but English requires the use of different wording:
 

Es posible que alguna vez haya pensado usted, al escuchar el nombre del famoso arqueólogo Federico Kauffman Doig, que se trata de un investigador extranjero.

It's possible that some time you have thought, when hearing the name of the famous archeologist Federico Kauffman Doig, that he is a foreign researcher.

Captions 9-11, Federico Kauffman Doig - Arqueólogo

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Y más aún si se trata de ti

And even more so when it's related to you

Caption 7, Gloria Trevi - Cinco minutos

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Do you want to find more examples of the verb tratar in our catalog? You can use the search tool at the top of the screen in the Videos tab of our site to do so. Maybe you can find a use of tratar that we haven't discussed here. ¡Todo se trata de tratar, verdad?! (It's all about trying, right?). If you find some, tweet us @yabla or share them with us at support@yabla.com.

Dreaming with Meanings

As you head off to bed in Spain or Latin America, you may hear "Dulces sueños" ("Sweet dreams"). But note that the noun "sueño" isn't just for dreamers. From our online dictionary:

Sueño (masc.)
shut-eye, light sleep; sleep, unconscious state entered into by the body for the purpose of rest and rejuvenation (in humans and animals); dream, series of thoughts and visions which occur during sleep; delusion

                                                   --Babylon Spanish-English

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Here are a few more examples of "sueño" for sleep and dreams:

¿Cuántas horas de sueño necesitas?
"How many hours of sleep do you need?"
" Yo tengo un sueño"
"I have a dream" (as Martin Luther King famously declared)

Tengo sueño
"I'm sleepy
"

Es el hombre de mis sueños
"He's the man of my dreams"

Naturally enough, "sueño(s)" make their way into many songs. Search Yabla's music directory and you'll find it in song titles like "Bienvenido al sueño" ("Welcome to the Dream") by SiZu Yantra and "Por El Boulevar De Los Sueños Rotos" ("Along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams") by Joaquín Sabina.  In our latest batch of new videos, sueño pops up within two musical numbers.
 

In Gardi's Leña apagada, if you aren't too distracted by the Cuban singer's hirsute axila
, you might grapple with lyrics like this line:

 

Dicen que su sueño respiraba moribundo

They say that her dream breathed as if dying

Caption 32, Gardi - Leña apagada

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Ok. It's figurative. Chalk it up to poetic license.

Moving right along... Within the documentary of
Alejandro Fernández's music, we hear the singer belt out:

 

Sueño contigo.

I dream of you.

Caption 6, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor

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Aha. This "sueño" is a verb, not a noun. It's is the first-person (present tense) form of the verb "soñar" ("to dream"). "Soñar" is a stem-changing verb (o -> ue), as is "dormir" ("to sleep").  Here are a few examples of dream and sleep as verbs:

 

Hola. -¿Papá, no dormiste anoche acá?

Hello. -Dad, didn't you sleep here last night?

Caption 27, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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Que sueñes con los angelitos
May you dream of little angels (an expression meaning, basically, "Sweet dreams")

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While in English,  you "dream of" or "dream about" someone or something, in Spanish, the preposition to use to get the same point across is "con" (which, as you probably know, usually takes the meaning "with" -- but not in this situation).  Here are two more examples:

¿Sueñas conmigo?
Do you dream about me?

Juan sueña con Jeannie.
Juan dreams of Jeannie.

"Soñar con" is just one of those verb-preposition pairings you must memorize to speak like a native. Sleep on that one, ok?

 

Vocabulary

The Verb Contar in Spanish

Are you familiar with the verb contar and its meanings in Spanish? Beyond its most common translations, which we'll be sure to reveal, this extremely useful verb is used in many additional ways. Let's take a look at some of them. 

 

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Contar for Telling 

One of the most common meanings of contar is "to tell." Let's see this in action:

 

Abuelo, te voy a contar un secreto.

Grandpa, I'm going to tell you a secret.

Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Primer Tesoro

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Soy Rosa Chaparro y os voy a contar la historia de Mika.

I'm Rosa Chaparro, and I'm going to tell you the story of Mika.

Caption 2, Rosa La perrita Mika

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Contar for Counting 

We also use the verb contar when we want to quantify, or "count," things:

 

Y vamos contando cuántas hierbas tenemos, ¿sí?

And we're counting how many herbs we have, right?

Caption 47, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 7

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That said, we hope it is now clear that it's one thing contar los números (to count numbers) and another, very different thing contar historias (to tell stories). Context, however, should make it perfectly clear which meaning is meant, which we can see in these two clips from our friend Luis Guitarra:

 

Para contar los números, podemos usar los dedos de nuestras manos.

To count the numbers, we can use the fingers on our hands.

Captions 5-6, Luis Guitarra Aprendiendo a contar

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Con él, yo aprendí a contar historias.

With him, I learned to tell stories.

Caption 71, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

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Contar con as an Alternative toTener (to Have)

Rafael, the speaker in the following clips, consistently uses the verb contar coupled with the preposition con where we might have expected to hear tener (to have). Let's take a look:

 

Cuando uno ya cuenta con familia...

When you already have a family...

Caption 11, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Yo cuento con una... con una farmacia, con una mini-farmacia.

I own a... a pharmacy, one mini-pharmacy.

Caption 18, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Although its literal meaning is "to count with," when Rafael uses contar con to talk about a family, he means when one "has" a family, while this same verb has been translated as "own" in the example regarding the pharmacy. Let's check out another clip from our friend Fermín:

 

Por supuesto, tenemos la suerte de contar con una señora británica que se encarga de controlar que los gatos callejeros que viven aquí

Of course, we are lucky enough to have a British lady who's in charge of making sure that the alley cats who live here

Captions 20-21, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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So, we see that "to have" or "to own" are both acceptable translations for contar con.  

 

Contar con in a Different Context

On the other hand, if someone asks "¿Puedo contar contigo?" they don't want to know if they can "have" you, but rather whether they can "count on" you. Let's look at a couple of examples of contar con with this meaning.

 

cuente con mi apoyo y con la embajada para lo que se le ofrezca.

count on my support and on the embassy for whatever you need.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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sabes que puedes contar conmigo, ¿sí? -Bueno.

you know that you can count on me, OK? -OK.

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 6

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Sin Contar con (Something)

And finally, sin contar or sin contar con, which literally mean "without counting (with)," can be utilized to express the idea of "not to mention" or "without taking into account." Let's look at a couple of clips from our series Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Eso sin contar los lujos que te debes dar

That's not to mention the luxuries you must give yourself

Caption 21, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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Eso, sin contar con la publicidad que vais a recibir

That, without taking into account the publicity that you're going to get

Captions 52-53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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That's all for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on some of the many uses of the Spanish verb contar, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

 

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