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In the song Pequeño Amor by the Chiquitas, there is the following chorus:

Pequeño amor,
por siempre tú
pequeño amor,
dame tu luz

The song is a duet, and the above is sung by members of the opposite sex to one another. It is "Dame tu luz" which is confusing to me. I know that "dar la luz" is an idiomatic expression meaning "to give birth (to)", but what does "Dame tu luz" mean in the given context?

EDIT: The entire video can be found on YouTube. Hopefully that will guide the answers toward what I'm after. I know it literally translates to "Give me your light". What I'm looking for is an idiomatic translation for what that means in the context of the song.

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2  
+1 for the interesting question. But the song... wow. I guess I'm not really into teenage love songs. –  Richard Nov 28 '11 at 16:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The problem with translating phrases like this are that they are poetic, not idiomatic. Saying "dame tu luz" isn't an idiom, but a poetic saying.

With that in mind, we have to interpret what the artist is trying to say.

If we look at the lyrics to the song, we see from the first verse that the singer is looking at "pequño amor" as a star. In this case, the "star" giving light would be shining love down.

So while the literal translation is

"give me your light"

the poetic translation of this would be

"give me your love"

However, I must reinforce that this is poetic and not idiomatic. If you walk up to someone and say "dame tu luz", they may reach for a lamp.

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I don't know the song, but the translation of that sentence should simply be:

give me your light

It's not "give me birth/give birth to me", because in that case it should be "dame la luz", for example.

Remember that like él (personal pronoun) and el (masculine singular article), also (personal pronoun) and tu (possessive pronoun) has a subtle difference. You can see it yourself in the same chorus you provided, both and tu are there.

EDIT: The translation is that one, and the meaning is the same. The translation I provided is not meant as something along the lines of "give me your lamp", but rather something more like "give me your love" (just an example).

When you say something romantic such as "you are shining to me", you're not actually saying the other person is glowing, but it's a way of saying that the other person for you is glowing, since you love that person. It's not just intended in a romantic sense, as in the song "Give me your light". I'm not sure I was very clear on this one, but I hope it helps.

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This is what is confusing, and why I am looking for an idiomatic translation rather than a literal one, as you provide. This is a love song. Literally translating it doesn't seem to make much sense in context. It almost seems like "Bear me your children" would be a better translation for this usage. –  ssakl Nov 27 '11 at 15:09
    
The translation is that one, and the meaning is the same. The translation I provided is not meant as "give me your lamp", but rather something more like "give me your love" (just an example). When you say something romantic "you are shining to me", you're not actually saying the other person is glowing, but it's a way of saying that the other person for you is glowing, since you love that person. It's not just intended in a romantic sense, as in the song "Give me your light". I'm not sure I was very clear on this one, but I hope it helps. –  Alenanno Nov 27 '11 at 15:18
    
Perhaps your latest comment should be part of your original answer? –  ssakl Nov 27 '11 at 16:06
    
@ssakl Added. :) –  Alenanno Nov 27 '11 at 16:11
1  
@ssakl: I think Alenanno is saying that in this case the Spanish is not idiomatic but poetic or figurative so there is no idiomatic better than the literal translation this time since it's just as poetic and figurative in English as in Spanish. –  hippietrail Nov 28 '11 at 12:09

The biggest problem in translating Spanish to English is that the two languages are too dissimilar to always make use of direct translations, so I will try to explain the heartfelt meaning of the translations.

Pequeños amor,
por siempre tu.
Pequeño amor,
dame tu luz.

Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.

This song is about a mature man with sexual experience attempting to ensnare a young virgin (sounds a lot like the old Rod Stewart song). It is a song of passion and what it is like for a girl coming of age facing the temptations of feeling the passions of LOVE for the first time, and at the hands of an experienced romantic. You know what they say about Latin lovers and how passionate we are. This song exemplifies what it is really like.
I have also translated the entire song for those who have not heard the song and are wondering what this answer is all about. I feel you really have to hear or see the song in its entirety in order to understand, so I will first put it down in Spanish first, then in English so as to gain the full meaning. One more thing, online translation services fail to capture the true translation. The word luz means inner light as in ïnner self and in this case means something deeper than just the self. Here goes:

PEQUEÑO AMOR
Crece, busca, juega, gana.
Tengo miedo de perderte,
sin tus besos no soy nada.

Llora, vive, sueña, alcanza.
Te regalo nuestra estrella,
y me visto con tus alas.

Pequeños amor,
por siempre tu.
Pequeño amor,
dame tu luz.
Pequeño amor quiero aprender,
junto a tus ojos verme mujer
Pequeño amor, verme mujer

Pequeño amor,
por siempre tu.
pequeño amor,
dame tu luz.
Pequeño amor quiero ser
el que te enseñe a ser mujer
El que te enseñe a ser mujer

Mira, toca, espera, llega
hasta mi con tu locura,
yo te atrapo en mi ternura.

Libre, vuela, ama, reina,
de mi mundo eres el sol,
de tu mundo soy tu amor.

Pequeños amor,
por siempre tu.
Pequeño amor,
dame tu luz.
Pequeño amor quiero aprender,
junto a tus ojos verme mujer
Pequeño amor, verme mujer

Pequeño amor,
por siempre tu.
pequeño amor,
dame tu luz.
Pequeño amor quiero ser
el que te enseñe a ser mujer
El que te enseñe a ser mujer

Now the translated song in the context of its full meaning.

Grow up, looks, plays, wins.
I have fear of losing you,
without your kisses I am nothing.

Cry, live, dream, reach.
We present our star,
and I have seen with your wings.

(chorus)
Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.
Small love I want to learn,
together, eye to eye, see me woman,
Small love, see me woman.

Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.
Little love I want to be
the one to teach you how to be a woman,
THE ONE to teach you how to be a woman.

Grow up, looks, plays, wins.
I have fear of losing you,
without your kisses I am nothing.

Cry, live, dream, reach.
I present to you our star,
and I have seen with your wings.

(chorus)
Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.
Small love I want to learn,
together, eye to eye, see me woman,
Small love, see me woman.

Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.
Little love I want to be
the one to teach you how to be a woman,
THE ONE to teach you how to be a woman.

see, touch, wait, come
to me with your madness,
I will ensnare you in my tenderness.

Free, fly, love, queen,
of my world, you are the sun,
of your world, I am your Love.

Small love
you forever.
Little love,
give me your light.
Little love I want to be
the one to teach you how to be a woman,
THE ONE to teach you how to be a woman.

Small love
you forever.
Little love, give me your light.
Little love I want to be
the one to teach you how to be a woman,
THE ONE to teach you how to be a woman.

Now I will show you how an online translation service interprets the song. so you will see just how the true meaning is really lost in translation.

Grow up, looks, plays, wins. I have fear of losing you, without your kisses I am nothing. Cry, live, dream, reach. We present our star, and I have seen with your wings. Small love you forever. Little love, give me your light. I love learning little, with your eyes see me Little women love Little Women love me, forever you. little love, give me your light. I want to be little love to teach you to be a woman who teaches a woman you see, touch, wait, come to me with your madness, I caught in my tenderness. Free, fly, love, queen of my world are the sun, your world I'm your love. Small love you forever. Little love, give me your light. I love learning little, with your eyes see me Little women love Little Women love me, forever you. little love, give me your light. I want to be little love to teach you to be a woman who teaches you to be a woman

NOW, don't you agree, you can't really grasp an exact meaning, as an exact translation ruins the true meaning of the words, and so can ruin a song as well.

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+1 for the translation of the entire song, but I disagree with your understanding about an older man and younger woman. (1) The voices appear to be the same age, roughly. (The male voice hasn't even gone through puberty!) (2) the same words are being sung by both the boy and girl. (3) turning a girl into a woman isn't exclusively done by an older man. Still, +1 for the full translation. –  Richard Dec 1 '11 at 16:38
    
Just another footnote (yeah, Iḿ back) in the first line, the word ¨busca¨ though means look can in this sense mean to search seeing that it is used in the poetic measure of the term. –  Roman LittleStork Apr 19 '12 at 23:57
    
To address the above question of the use of the word ¨dame¨, it is one of the first words learned by Mexican babies when taught to speak as babies always grab things. The use if the word here implies coercion to comply as this is an older man to a young girl. –  Roman LittleStork Apr 20 '12 at 0:21

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