Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vos commands in Costa Rica

As I mentioned in a recent post, Costa Ricans use the same vos form as in other parts of Central America and in South America (most notably Argentina, but excluding the vos form in Chile).

I also gave a quick introduction to vos conjugations in the present tense, but I left out the imperative form. There's an easy way to fix this, because it's really quite simple.

For the verb hablar simply cut off the 'r' at the end. What you get is hablá, with the emphasis on the last syllable. If you read my last post on the voseo you'll note that this is simply the indicative form in the present tense without the 's' at the end.

When you're walking around downtown San José you'll notice that many advertisements will use vos commands. "Entrá y ahorrá", a store might say to entice you. "Jugá y ganá", might be a sales pitch to the foolhardy lottery player. (No offense to lottery players.)

Vos commands work the same for reflexive verbs, except that there's a spelling change when only one pronoun is attached to the end. For example, to tell someone to sit down you might say sentate, with the accent in its "natural" penultimate position, eliminating the need for the tilde. The same applies for commands with direct or indirect pronouns attached, provided there's only one. (When there are two pronouns attached the tilde will always show up, as the tonic syllable always requires a written accent mark when it is the thir-to-last--or antepenultimate--within the word.)

Let me know if you have any questions. As promised, I will soon address the issues of irregular vos forms and the history of the vos pronoun.


Greta said...

Thanks so much for posting all this great information! I am moving down to Costa Rica in July and it's nice to see what I'm getting into before I'm immersed in it. I've spent some time (a few months) in Chile and Argentina, but experiencing Costa Rica is going to be a whole new adventure! Anyway, thanks again.

Nancy A said...

Info on when to use vos would also be interesting.

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Anonymous said...

thanks for the info on vos conjugations/commands - very helpful! do you know of any IRREGULAR vos conjugations/commands? for example, i've heard that SER is conjugated "vos sos" but i do not know the command form. any info you have on irregular vos conjugations/commands would be much appreciated! thanks.

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excellent thanks for the conjugations, I really learn more about this difficult language and i need to practice it because i want to go someday to Costa Rica