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I have heard the following question in the Narcos TV series:

Te coges a todas tus informantes?

Context: a woman is an informant of a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) officer and asks him this question while they are in bed.

I am familiar with the colloquial sexual meaning of "coger" in Central America and some countries of South America, but what is the purpose of the reflexive pronoun "te" here?

The only sexual meaning of "coger" in DLE makes no reference to the pronominal form:

  1. intr. vulg. Am. Cen., Arg., Bol., Méx., Par., R. Dom., Ur. y Ven. Realizar el acto sexual.

I have already read All about datives, or: What's that funny "le" or "me" doing in there? , but I am still unable to grasp the meaning of the pronoun in this sentence.

  • You can strengthen your question by sharing what you have found in your preliminary research (e.g. dictionary definitions and usage examples), and any q-a's you may have found on this site that come close but don't quite answer your question. – aparente001 Dec 16 '19 at 19:36
  • @aparente001 Done – Alan Evangelista Dec 16 '19 at 20:24
  • DLE isn't always the most helpful resource for Americanisms. The quasi-textbook you have chosen has a lot of local expressions to Colombia, so even though DLE is quite popular on this site, maybe it's not the best place to start for understanding what you hear in Narcos. – aparente001 Dec 16 '19 at 20:54
  • I'm guessing this is similar to comer vs comerse. Perhaps you can search that one. Look at the section "emphasized verbs" here: itsnachotime.com/spanish_reflexive_verbs – aris Dec 17 '19 at 0:48
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    I wouldn't close this, since it doesn't fit the examples offered in the canonical answer. Instead of adding bloat to it, I'll try an answer. – pablodf76 Dec 19 '19 at 22:37
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Cogerse a alguien means "to have sex with someone". The pronominal form of the verb, as you see, works with a direct object (preceded by a because it's an animate being). It has a derogatory connotation, like English "to fuck someone". It doesn't imply force but it connotes one-sidedness: an agent (typically a male) performs an action on a passive patient (typically a female).

In its basic form coger can work intransitively, with a complement headed by con (coger con alguien), which is less one-sided and definitely less derogatory in tone, although it does still place an agent in charge and relegates the other participant. It can also be transitive with a plural agent, showing the (usually two) participants on the same level (A y B cogen), but this is less common.

Cogerse a alguien seems to me an aspectual dative, but since it's acting on a metaphorical level, it doesn't look immediately like one. In any case it's telling that in Argentina comerse a alguien (note the single letter of difference) means exactly the same (and it sounds even more casually derogatory).

The fact that in the example from Narcos there's a plural complement (a todas tus informantes) is irrelevant to the aspectual dative.

I think the mark of the aspectual dative here is that (metaphorically) we have people (women) being connoted as something to be consumed and discarded. With food or drink, the aspectual dative implies full consumption; in this case, with human beings, it suggest people being used and left aside like one leaves aside an empty pizza carton or an empty bottle of wine.

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  • Thanks for the answer! I had thought this could be a dative of aspect because the subject is benefited from having sex with all his informants. Is that a possibility? – Alan Evangelista Dec 19 '19 at 22:55
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    You mean a dative of interest? That could be, because if you remove the pronominal se, the verb still works, but nobody does that. The pronominal form has acquired a meaning in itself. Coger a alguien is simply not said, though for other dialects it would be OK (with the meaning of "to grab someone", for which we use agarrar). – pablodf76 Dec 19 '19 at 23:04
  • Yes, I meant "a dative of interest", despite typing something else. Thanks for making it clear! – Alan Evangelista Dec 19 '19 at 23:06
  • Re what you said in the last paragraph -- makes sense. I was thinking something similar but not exactly the same: that the attitude of the speaker was that the DEA officer was in control, the way a puppet master is in control of the puppet, but abusively. In other words, the speaker felt dehumanized. From her sentence, I sense she felt humiliated and somewhat bitter. – aparente001 Dec 20 '19 at 8:04
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In this case means:

Are you having sex with all your informants?

It assigns a certain behaviour so it's clear that this behaviour belongs to that person and it's repeated in time. I would say it's a possessive dative.

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  • IMHO "te" expressing a possession does not make much sense in this sentence because there is already a possessive pronoun (tus) in it. – Alan Evangelista Dec 20 '19 at 1:50
  • @AlanEvangelista - In this sentence, "tus" is necessary because without it, the pool of possible partners would include informants who are groomed by others. – aparente001 Dec 20 '19 at 8:06

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