Allí lo toque

That's what the woman said as she left my pickup this morning. It was a clear reference to the people left in the truck and I understood exactly what she was saying. But, I asked Ana a question about it and her conclusion was that it was just bad Nicaraguan Spanish. Maybe it was but I am thinking it was not.

First, for those not in Nicaragua, what she was telling me was that when the folks got to where they wanted to be let off, they would tap on the roof of the truck. But, what she said was "There he (or she) may touch it".

What I asked was if this was the subjunctive? Every time I try to figure out the subjunctive I get the feeling I am the only person who even knows what the subjunctive is. And I don't understand enough just because the subjunctive is not that important in English. I am beginning to think it isn't that important for Nicaraguan campasinos as well.

My "guess" is that this expression was pretty much "When you get to where they want to get off, they might tap on the roof." If course, it wasn't they, it was he or she. And what was said was a lot shorter but that doubt must be in there for it to qualify as needing the subjunctive. But, maybe I just put the doubt in the wrong place. That is, maybe she was saying "Should you get to where they want to get off, they will tap on the roof". I think. Probably. Maybe. ...

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Seems to me...

that in general Nicaraguans try to use less words to say almost anything they want to say. For instance, I often here people giving directions by saying things like...."por donde Jose" instead of "por donde vive Jose"....and the use of the word "ahora" instead of giving an exact or approximate time for something.... drives me a bit crazy. But apparently, it comes from the fact that people are usually home or close to home or someone is home, so exact times are not that important! In books for learning spanish "ahora" always is translated as "now".. but in Nicaragua, at least, it means sometime today or within the next few hours. "Ahorita" means "probably within the hour or maybe sooner"... and "ya" means "right now" but "right now" could take a half hour or more!

As far as subjunctive is concerned... There is good info online about it like here..... http://spanish.about.com/od/verbmoods/a/when_to_use_subjunctive.htm

People who are native speakers of spanish will use the subjunctive without knowing that they are using it because, like those of us who are native speakers of english, you didn't really pay that much attention in english class since you already knew how to speak it and it all seemed pretty boring. I have found few Nicaraguans (even spanish teachers in Nicaragua) who can adequately explain the subjunctive to me when I question them. They almost always just tell me.."asi es"! (That's how it is!)

"Alli lo toque"....I had no idea when I read it what it meant but when I read how and when it was used, it makes perfect sense. Short, to the point and understood by everyone who needed to understand it , except the driver! haha

By the way, the use of the verb "tocar" still gives me fits sometimes, since it is not just used to express "to touch" in english but is very idiomatic, especially in Nicaraguan spanish! In the song "Cielito Lindo" for example.....

Ese lunar que tienes, Cielito lindo, junto a la boca, No se lo des a nadie, Cielito lindo, que a mí me TOCA

What the singer is say is.."keep that mole for me!" "It's yours but it's mine" In other words.. the singer wants to possess everything about the girl, even her mole! Also, tocar can be used when someone is "feeling" like they should or should not do something! If someone asks you a favor and you don't understand why they asked you in particular... you might say..."porque me toca a mi"... "why did you pick me"? Or also, like the engish expression "it strikes me"... it strikes me that I ought to clean the house"...."me tocaria limpiar la casa"! Or something like that!!!! In this sense, "tocar" expresses or gives someone the responsibility for doing something. Either the very same person doing the speaking or someone else. Interesting verb!

Hope this post shows up where it belongs. Still getting used to working this site!

Alli lo toque

I like your explanattion, but as a Nica like Ana I must also say that it is bad spanish or nica spanish. Alli lo toque literally means I touched it-you there. Now if she said Alli le toque then I could make out she meant that is where I want to get off and again if used in the right setting, as it was, I´m deducting, on fyl´s pick up, because if not it simply is the formal way of saying I touched it- you there . Remember we have the formal-usted- and informal-vos or tu. As for the verb Tocar I can see where it would drive you crazy. Tocar is to touch as in El me toco- he touched me. But that can also mean I got him, you know like when being assigned a partner as in Who did you get? Quien te toco? Me toco el or El me toco. I think that comes from the saying La suerte me toco a mi, luck striked me, whether bad or good luck. So I give you this one for you to play with La Mala Suerte, cuando te toca ni aunque te quites siempre te cae, y La Buena Suerte cuando no te toca ni aunque te pongas no te cae. Ahora me toca a mi decir adios, ahorita mismo y ya esta, adios.

Or it could mean

I'm Touched...as in "by your generosity"

Fine, and Fine

The post is where it belongs and your response is, to me, the kind of important information we need here. There are a lot of things said here over and over that don't really enlighten. On the other hand, your response is, to me, the kind of information we need to learn/understand if we really intend to live in Nicaragua vs. in a Gringo sub-culture.

Living here has inspired me to look at my idiomatic English a bit more. Usually I feel sorry for a Spanish speaker having to learn "strange English". So, it goes both ways.

As for answers in the minimum of words, sometimes it does seem excessive but I think you are right about context. If people seldom are more than a few kilometers from home, then the answer fits in that context. I remember when an Enitel person told me to "go to the door behind the mango tree". There are a lot of mango trees in Estelí but, for her, it make sense as it was the only mango tree you could see when you walked outside her office. It was not obvious to me because I was inside her office and my context was Estelí, not the one block where her office was located.