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Old 10-11-2007, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Brusssels
1,936 posts, read 3,646,488 times
Reputation: 1911

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Quote:
Originally Posted by boardmanite View Post
France was the only place that I'd ever seen anyone verbally chastized for using the "tu" form instead of "vous". The speaker was obviously a non-native speaker of French and the person she was talking to was not much older than her... Gotta love the French!

The Germans are the same way with Du and Sie. I find it to be just another cultural tool to stack everyone up in the pecking order during human interaction - and serve as a subtle brake on social mobility.
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Brusssels
1,936 posts, read 3,646,488 times
Reputation: 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by boardmanite View Post
France was the only place that I'd ever seen anyone verbally chastized for using the "tu" form instead of "vous". The speaker was obviously a non-native speaker of French and the person she was talking to was not much older than her... Gotta love the French!

The Germans are the same way with Du and Sie. I find it to be just another cultural tool to stack everyone up in the pecking order during human interaction. It serve as a subtle brake on social mobility and keeps the older, richer, and well placed people in a position where its harder to dislodge them from - nevermind that someone younger, less wealthy, and less well placed may have the better idea. I'll take our (eroding) meritocracy any day.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:39 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 20,410,238 times
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Xpat, I spent time in Germany and found the "Du" and Sie" a little ungainly. However, what I took away from the experience is that Germans have a distinct difference between "friend" and "acquaintenance". While not making friends as quickly as we U.S.-ers do, they tend to be more lasting and stronger than ours are. And that's not necessarily a dig on us. But after living in Germany for eight years then, upon returning to the states, having the Leasing Associate at our apartment immediately call us by our first names struck me a little funny. The young woman was a business associate, not our friend. Xpat, forgive me because I'm also handicapped by being used to the military's caste system during my 23 year career. But I think we've lost something in the U.S. by being a little TOO familiar with each other nowadays... I'm not always saying that the "experts" are always right and should never be questioned. But I sometimes think we've takn the "Question authority" mantra a little TOO far. It's definitely hard for me to call the two chairmen of my company by THEIR first names; I know my place in the pecking order of our company and I want to be right where I am in that order. Yes, I have lots of ideas and I know they will listen. But it doesn't matter that I don't address tham informally. I still enjoy working for them.

Getting back to "DU" and "Sie", I was also handicapped by mostly just learning the "Sie" form while I was thereand that just doesn't work with little kids...
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:56 AM
 
41 posts, read 139,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xpat View Post
The Germans are the same way with Du and Sie. I find it to be just another cultural tool to stack everyone up in the pecking order during human interaction. It serve as a subtle brake on social mobility and keeps the older, richer, and well placed people in a position where its harder to dislodge them from - nevermind that someone younger, less wealthy, and less well placed may have the better idea. I'll take our (eroding) meritocracy any day.
I don't know about Germany, but I know that in France, people will use the more formal, "vous" even when talking to someone "lower." Like in a restaurant you always call the waiter "vous" even though he is the one doing the serving. The only people I can think of who always get referred to as "tu" are kids (and that part does irk me a bit!) Just because we're young it doesn't mean we don't deserve repect. IMO...
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Old 10-13-2007, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Brusssels
1,936 posts, read 3,646,488 times
Reputation: 1911
CrewChief and Kipcc,

Great points from you both. I think the big difference for the Americans (and Australians) is that we are egalitarian to the core - and it often works up and down. Someone may be the head of the corporation but he'll probably ask us to call him Bill.

I agree that there is something to be said for some good old fashioned respect but you can show plenty of respect with your demeanor, regardless of whether you are using Sie/du, Vous/tous, or just you. The Italian formal case is actually even weirder for me since the formal case means just using the third person - an even wider gap than Sie/du.
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Old 10-13-2007, 06:35 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,272 times
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Hi, I am from Spain, and I would like to explain a bit the use of Tu and Usted in Spain.

As you have mentioned before, in every spanish-talking country they have a different use of the Tu and Usted personal pronouns.

But here in Spain I think it is easy:

If you are in a formal situation, you must use usted always (Unless the person you are talking to says that you can refer to him/her as tu)
If you are in an informal situation and:
a) You don't know the person you are talking to, you use Usted
b) You know the person you are talking to, then you use Tu

There is a little exception, and it is when you are in an informal situation with children or young people, then you should use tu, even if you haven't met who you are talking to before.

And also with old people, you should always use Usted (Unless he/she says otherwise)

Sorry for my mistakes
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:30 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 20,410,238 times
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Hi Xpat! Thanks for the reply. You're absolutely right. There are so many other ways to show respect besides the formal or informal form of a language. I think it's easier to be a little less formal like we are nowadays. And it, no doubt, has made interactions in the business world a lot easier.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:36 PM
 
41 posts, read 139,553 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xpat View Post
CrewChief and Kipcc,

Great points from you both. I think the big difference for the Americans (and Australians) is that we are egalitarian to the core - and it often works up and down. Someone may be the head of the corporation but he'll probably ask us to call him Bill.

I agree that there is something to be said for some good old fashioned respect but you can show plenty of respect with your demeanor, regardless of whether you are using Sie/du, Vous/tous, or just you. The Italian formal case is actually even weirder for me since the formal case means just using the third person - an even wider gap than Sie/du.
That is how I feel--there are other ways of showing respect aside from using the formal/informal. Like I always say please, thank you, how are you?, have a nice day, etc. Also, one could be addressing a person "respectfully" yet not be respectful, if ya know what I mean...
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:42 PM
 
41 posts, read 139,553 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedge View Post
Hi, I am from Spain, and I would like to explain a bit the use of Tu and Usted in Spain.

As you have mentioned before, in every spanish-talking country they have a different use of the Tu and Usted personal pronouns.

But here in Spain I think it is easy:

If you are in a formal situation, you must use usted always (Unless the person you are talking to says that you can refer to him/her as tu)
If you are in an informal situation and:
a) You don't know the person you are talking to, you use Usted
b) You know the person you are talking to, then you use Tu

There is a little exception, and it is when you are in an informal situation with children or young people, then you should use tu, even if you haven't met who you are talking to before.

And also with old people, you should always use Usted (Unless he/she says otherwise)

Sorry for my mistakes
Thanks so much for the advice! And your English is very good

So what is considered "old"? 30? 50? Just wondering.
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:15 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,272 times
Reputation: 12
I would consider old people people who is 50 and older.

In any case, if you want to be sure of being correct and don't offend anybody, use usted, and problem solved
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