Is "comprar un argumento" an anglicism derived from "I (don't) buy it"?

Spanish Language Asked on December 28, 2021

Yesterday listening to a podcast I heard the expression "No compro ese argumento" something that I think I have heard before from the person in that video, but I don’t think I have heard it only from him.

This person was from Spain. If he had been from an American Spanish-speaking country I would had assumed that "(No) compar ese/un argumento" was a literal translation of "(I don’t) Buy that argument" and thus an anglicism. But I keep hearing that expression more and more and there is something slightly odd about it.

I don’t recall using "comprar ese/un argumento" at all while I was living in Spain. I would have favored "no me lo creo", "no creo que sea cierto" o even the more plain "No estoy de acuerdo". Nevertheless, I see Spaniards using more and more this expression and I wonder if it’s due to the influence of the English "I don’t buy that argument" or if it actually has been widely used and I never noticed (or even used before, though not widely).

Is "comprar un/ese argumento" and anglicism derived from "I (don’t) buy that argument"? Can we see it being used in old texts or the like, to prove it was used in Spanish since long ago, though maybe not often?

One Answer

I can't say for certain where they got it. In Chile, however, we've always used no lo compro or no compro eso; saying no compro ese argumento sounds unidiomatic and we're unlikely to use it. The main use of comprar, with this sense, is to believe.

Literally speaking, on the other hand, we can say that it's taken from buy, used informally in this case. In addition, Spanish-speaking people are used to taking English words and translating them deliberately, so it doesn't come as a surprise they use it in this way.

Answered by Schwale on December 28, 2021

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