Hello Spanish language community! I have always been troubled by some seemingly weird usage of "se le".
The scenario: the boss and the owner of a barber shop are trying to hire someone. They have just one candidate, but he demands too high a wage. So the owner and the boss are arguing about whether to hire him:
The boss says: "Que no se le contrata y para eso soy la jefa" ...
The owner says: "Y yo el dueño y se le contrata" ...
The owner says: "Si hace falta, se le contrata solamente para un corte" ...
I looked up in the dictionary which tells me that "contratar" is mostly used as a transitive verb. So I try to determine first what the usage of "se" is in here:
- A reflexive pronoun. I think it's unlikely, because usually it's "the owner/manager/boss 'contrata' a worker/employee". Ruled out.
- A pronoun required by a pronominal verb. But the dictionary has no such an entry on "contratarse", which I think makes sense. Not this usage.
- Passive, as in "Se venden las tartas en la calle"/"On the street cakes are being sold/someone is selling cakes on the street". If it is passive, then what is that "le" doing here? Wouldn't "se contrata él solamente para un corte" be more grammatical?
- Impersonal se. I have been informed by many blogs and books that the impersonal "se" always requires a verb conjugated in 3rd person singular form, like: "Se entrevistó a muchas personas hoy"/"Many people were inverviewed today". Might this be the usage here?
And as for the "le", is it an instance of "leismo"? I mean "se lo contrata..." would sound correct to most Spanish speakers?
Any help is appreciated! I wonder which usage that "se" is, and whether "le" is "leismo" in action here.
Another related question: Why is it that in impersonal constructions, "se" almost acts like a grammatical subject? From Diccionario Oxford, it has an entry like this:
se los acusa de subversión - they are accused of subversion
"they" is translated from "los". And if I am allowed to do something blasphemous to linguistics, "se" in its impersonal usage seems to act like a subject pronoun (in English, "one")! "One accused them of subversion" But "se" is an objective pronoun, be it a reflexive pronoun or indirect object. So now the questions is, what is the grammatical subject if you are forced to add one in impersonal constructions like(from Diccionario Oxford): "(What subject here?) se castigará a los culpables"/"those responsible will be punished"?
Thank you so much for any help!!!