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I used Google to translate "remember" and "remind". Both came out to be recordar. Why is there no distinction made? You can only remember something by youself, but you have to remind someone else of something. How can recordar represent two different actions?

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Related and beautiful – Dr. belisarius Jul 22 '13 at 2:49
Usually the verb hacer ("Recordé que tengo que devolver el libro" vs "La tarjeta de la biblioteca me hizo recordar que tengo que devolver el libro") makes the difference. – Dr. belisarius Jul 22 '13 at 2:51
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Recordar (and incidentally acordar) in Spanish works more like recall in English, than like remember or remind. In English, recall can be used in both senses as recordar, and context determines the meaning:

I don't remember his name / I don't recall his name. → No recuerdo su nombre.

Remind me of his name / Recall to me his name. → Recuérdeme su nombre.

In both cases, the words recordar and recall are more about the act of pulling something from memory (similar to remeber), than the act of communication (as in remind). In the case of recalling to someone, it's the "to someone" part that implies the communication, not the verb itself.

EDIT Remember in English can also work this way, although it's rather rare, archaic or used for artistic purposes. Consider the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

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In short, Recordar is a polysemic word that means both To Remember and To remind. – deStrangis Jul 22 '13 at 10:02
@deStrangis And also "to wake up" (en muchos lugares) – Dr. belisarius Jul 25 '13 at 3:33
@belisarius "Recuerde el alma dormida..." – deStrangis Jul 25 '13 at 9:24

When Spanish people learn English we have the same problem, why do you use two verbs ? For us recordar is used in both cases.

Recordar means Traer a la memoria algo.

Later if you want to share it with someone or no (by yourself) it is up to you, because before remind to somebody to do something you have to remember it ;).

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