And here’s the second in my series of short Spanish lessons where I teach vocabulary, expressions, and short phrases.  Today, as in the previous lesson, we’re going to be looking at words and phrases from the Spanish news program, Telediario.  The objective of these lessons is to be quick for you to read, quick for me to write, and last but least to teach you words, expressions, and grammar in common use in (primarily spoken) Spanish.  Let’s begin.

Reafirmarse (se reafirma, se reafirman, etc.)

The verb is pronominal, more specifically passive – when a verb is passive that just means that the subject (the person or thing performing the action) is not specified or is specified only tangentially (in our example below it’s not specified at all).  In this case “reafirmar” means to reaffirm just as we use it in English, so when you make it passive by adding “se”, that means that someone or something is reaffirmed but who or what is doing the reaffirming is not specified.  Here’s the context:

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por la derogación parcial de los aspectos, dice, más lesivos de la reforma laboral.

Translation:

On the other hand, the socialist minister is reaffirmed in this correction by the PSOE [Spanish political party, don’t worry about it] and is betting on the partial repeal of the aspects of the labor reform which, he says, are more harmful.

So the minister is “reaffirmed in this correction” (“se reafirma en esta rectificación”), meaning that the correction in question has confirmed some statement he made or position he took earlier, that is to say that it proved him right.  If you’d like to learn more about the passive voice in Spanish, here’s a good video on it:

Moving on!

Por otra parte

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista…

This just means, “moreover”, or “on the other hand”.  Look at the literal meaning of each word:

  • Por = “by”
  • Otra = “other”
  • Parte = “part”

See how that works?  Very simple.

If you’d like some more examples of this phrase being used in real-life contexts (mostly movie scripts, news stories, and government documents), check out the results for it on Reverso Context.

Rectificación

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación…

This is just a formal word for “correction” or “amendment” (though the really proper word for that is “enmienda”).  Here it just means a correction or modification of another political party’s stance on a particular issue.  Looking at the RAE definition for the related verb can give us a bit more insight:

1. tr. Reducir algo a la exactitud que debe tener.

2. tr. Dicho de una personaProcurar reducir a la conveniente exactitud y certeza los dichos o hechos que se le atribuyen.

3. tr. Contradecir a alguien en lo que ha dichopor considerarlo erróneo.

Translation:

  1. Reduce something by exactly how much it should be.
  2. Said about a person: Ensure the reduction, to the appropriate precision and certainty, of those statements and actions attributable to them.
  3. Contradict someone in what they have said, because it is considered erroneous.

Got it?  Next!

Apuesta por (apostar por)

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por…

“Apostar” just means “to bet”, literally, as in with money.  However, it is used metaphorically in Spanish exactly as we do in English, e.g. “I’ll bet that’s not going to happen”, “He’s betting on his political opponent being unwilling to support that measure”, etc.  “Por” means “by”, literally, and they use that instead of their equivalent for “on”.  It makes sense if you think about it: “by” can mean “through the agency or instrumentality of” (4th definition on Merriam-Webster), so he’s betting, taking a chance, because of something that he thinks is going to happen (the partial repeal of something we’ll get to in a moment).  Here are lots more examples in Reverso Context if you’d like to see.

So what it’s saying here is that the socialist minister is betting on, i.e. relying on or presuming that, something will/won’t occur.  Let’s see what that thing is!

Derogación

This just means a “repeal” of something.  Other synonyms include, “abrogation”, “revocation”, and “abolition”.  So the socialist minister is betting on the partial (that’s what “parcial” means) repeal of something:

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por la derogación parcial…

But the partial repeal of what?

Lesivo / Lesiva

apuesta por la derogación parcial de los aspectos

Well, “aspecto” just means “aspect”, we don’t need to really delve into that.  “Dice” means “he says”, from the verb decir, which means “to say”.  “Más” means “more”, but you probably knew that.  Now, how about “lesivo”?  That was a new one for me (when I first heard it a week ago), so I know this is not a common word.  Let’s look at the whole sentence again:

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por la derogación parcial de los aspectos, dice, más lesivos de la reforma laboral.

“Lesivo” (or “lesiva” in this case because it’s an adjective that describes “reforma”, which is a feminine noun and adjectives describing feminine nouns almost always end in “a”) literally means harmful or injurious.  It’s a rather formal way of saying it and doesn’t mean “injurious” in the literal sense of causing physical injury, but instead means something more like “detrimental”.  If you look at the in-context examples in Reverso-Context you’ll see that all of them are from legal documents, diplomatic dispatches, news reports about law or diplomacy, or the occasional scientific document.  All formal, dry texts using the term in a general, somewhat abstract sense (i.e. “this thing is detrimental to this other thing but we’re not specifying precisely how or why”).

For example:

Por lo tanto, consideramos semejante acto lesivo de la soberanía venezolana.

“Therefore, we consider such an act harmful to Venezuelan sovereignty.”

Una denuncia es objeto de una investigación del Defensor del Pueblo si implica un acto lesivo para el denunciante o si se le retiene un beneficio.

“A complaint is subject to investigation by the Ombudsman if it involves an act that is injurious to or withholds a benefit from the complainant.”

And then to wrap it up quickly, “reforma” means “reform” and “laboral” is the adjective describing something related to labor (work), so “la reforma laboral” just means “the labor reform”.  The whole phrase, one more time:

Por otra parte, el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por la derogación parcial de los aspectos, dice, más lesivos de la reforma laboral.

Quiz!

I’ve put a short quiz (8 questions) below for you to take, should take about a minute, max, and it’ll really help you remember what you just learned by making you apply it right now, give it a shot.

Welcome to your Short Spanish Lesson #2 quiz.

1. When they say, "el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación", the phrase, "se reafirma en" means that the socialist minister was what?
2. "Por otra parte" means what?
3. "Rectificación", as it's used here, means .
4. "Apostar" literally means "to ".
5. "Apostar por", as it's used here when they say, "el ministro socialista se reafirma en esta rectificación del PSOE y apuesta por la derogación parcial de los aspectos...", means what?
6. "Derogación", as used here, means...
7. What does, "lesivo/lesiva" mean?
8. Last one's a tough one: how do you say "the labor reform" in Spanish?

Are you learning Spanish?

As you know and I’ve mentioned elsewhere, conversing with native speakers is crucial and has to be done sooner or later.  A great way to do this is via online classes where the native speaker is the teacher.  I personally can recommend a service called GoSpanish (this is my review of them), having tried it myself.  You can get unlimited classes with them (online, via a video call using a Skype-like system) for as little as $39 per month – that’s insane.  You could take multiple one-hour long classes every day and just pay $39 a month for it if you wanted.  They also guarantee you won’t have more than about five students per class, and in my experience it was less than that (sometimes it was just me and the teacher).

Also, I wrote a book about how to learn Spanish from popular media (movies, TV shows, music, etc.) that you can get on Amazon in Kindle or paperback format.  If that interests you and especially if you’d like to support my work, I’d really appreciate if you could check it out here on Amazon, it’s called The Telenovela Method.

Hope that helps, please consider subscribing to my emails (sidebar on the right) or at least push notifications for when I put up new blog posts.  My social media accounts are on the slidey thing on the left (I’m active on YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok, Pintrest, Facebook, and Twitter).  Also, you can check out the first short Spanish lesson I did here if you like: Short Spanish Lesson #1: La pradera, hacerse largo a alguien (se les hace largo), desligarse (se desliga).

Cheers,

Andrew

P.S. Future “short Spanish lessons” will actually be short.  This was quite a bit longer than I was planning, sorry (I picked a phrase that was really too advanced, I think, and so had to describe every other word in more detail than I wanted to).

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