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I only know "dar" in its literal sense of "to give".

And I know "conocer" in its literal sense of "to know" or "to get to know".

But in reading Cien años de soledad I came to this passage:

... y con un grande alboroto de pitos y timbales daban a conocer los nuevos inventos.

Literally "dar a conocer" would be "to give to know", which doesn't make much sense.

Not only do I not know what it means but I don't know how to parse it. Is "dar a" an idiom or set phrase? Or is "dar a conocer" an idiom or set phrase? Or is it some auxiliary usage of "dar" that I don't know about?

I've looked up both "dar" and "conocer" in my Gran Larouuse bilingual dictionary to no avail.

How should I parse and understand what's going on in "dar a conocer"?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I understand the difficulty.

Dar a conocer is actually an idiom or a figure of speech that is always interpreted as To make it known

This same figure can also be used as Dar a saber which has the same meaning.

So in this case the translation of your passage would be:

... y con un grande alboroto de pitos y timbales daban a conocer los nuevos inventos.

into

... and with great show and noise they made their new inventions known.

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