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Old 10-10-2007, 01:18 PM
 
41 posts, read 139,158 times
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Heyy everyone...I take Spanish, and I've always been taught that you use "tu" (the familiar) tense when speaking to either kids, or your friends. And that you use "usted" (the more formal tense) when speaking to an adult, a boss, etc. I remember having that drilled into our brains to the point where my teacher would take points off our participation grade if we used "tu" instead of "usted" with her. Well...now I'm hearing otherwise. I have two friends who used to live in Spain and they both told me that they NEVER use usted unless it's an extremely formal situation. They said the usage of "usted" is getting outdated.

So...is this just something unique to Spain? Is "usted" still used in other countries? Outside of Spanish class, I'm stuck as to whether I should use it or not. On the one hand, I don't want to seem disrespectful, but on the other, I don't want to seem outdated. Opinions?
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 3,579,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipcc View Post
Heyy everyone...I take Spanish, and I've always been taught that you use "tu" (the familiar) tense when speaking to either kids, or your friends. And that you use "usted" (the more formal tense) when speaking to an adult, a boss, etc. I remember having that drilled into our brains to the point where my teacher would take points off our participation grade if we used "tu" instead of "usted" with her. Well...now I'm hearing otherwise. I have two friends who used to live in Spain and they both told me that they NEVER use usted unless it's an extremely formal situation. They said the usage of "usted" is getting outdated.

So...is this just something unique to Spain? Is "usted" still used in other countries? Outside of Spanish class, I'm stuck as to whether I should use it or not. On the one hand, I don't want to seem disrespectful, but on the other, I don't want to seem outdated. Opinions?
It's better to be outdated than disrespectful. Use usted unless asked not to.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
104 posts, read 430,117 times
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In many countries "usted" is still the norm and is considered quite rude to use "tu."
Besides, what's wrong with being more polite than expected?
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:02 PM
 
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,240,400 times
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The "tu" vs "usted" concept is vastly more complicated than what students are taught in high school. In many countries, one or more of the pronouns are eliminated in favor of "vos". In Argentina, the vast majority use "vos". In parts of Ecuador, "vos" is used among friends, and parents use "usted" with their children. Weird, I know.... In Colombia, "usted" is used among friends and family. (Just watch Maria llena de gracia) In Spain, "tu" is used much more than "usted", as was already pointed out on this thread.

So with all these crazy exceptions, which are nearly impossible to memorize and use appropriately, your best bet is to use "usted" with older people and "tu" with people your own age. Just like you learned in high school! People will see that you aren't a native speaker and they'll be so happy that you're even trying to speak their language that they could care less if you're using "tu", "usted" or "vos". HOWEVER, once you get to know them better, you better believe they will let you know which one to use. I have been told numerous times "use tu with me", "use usted with me", "use vos with me"... But they will be very polite about it. (Not so with French... we won't even go there!)
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:12 PM
 
41 posts, read 139,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boardmanite View Post
The "tu" vs "usted" concept is vastly more complicated than what students are taught in high school. In many countries, one or more of the pronouns are eliminated in favor of "vos". In Argentina, the vast majority use "vos". In parts of Ecuador, "vos" is used among friends, and parents use "usted" with their children. Weird, I know.... In Colombia, "usted" is used among friends and family. (Just watch Maria llena de gracia) In Spain, "tu" is used much more than "usted", as was already pointed out on this thread.

So with all these crazy exceptions, which are nearly impossible to memorize and use appropriately, your best bet is to use "usted" with older people and "tu" with people your own age. Just like you learned in high school! People will see that you aren't a native speaker and they'll be so happy that you're even trying to speak their language that they could care less if you're using "tu", "usted" or "vos". HOWEVER, once you get to know them better, you better believe they will let you know which one to use. I have been told numerous times "use tu with me", "use usted with me", "use vos with me"... But they will be very polite about it. (Not so with French... we won't even go there!)
I had a tiny idea that it was complicated, as I had begun to google the whole tu vs ud thing and got TONS of conflicting ideas as to which is proper (and didn't know what was accurate), so I decided to bring it up on here. Guess google never fails, huh? Anyway, thanks for your input--that is complicated!

I speak French as well, and are you saying they're a bit rude about it? If so, I hear ya...one time I got scolded for using "tu" instead of "vous" with my friend's older sister. Yes I was 15 and the sister was about 22, but to me it seemed like an informal situation. Guess not! ooops! I'm glad to hear that Spanish is a little more lenient.
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:15 PM
 
41 posts, read 139,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Othon View Post
In many countries "usted" is still the norm and is considered quite rude to use "tu."
Besides, what's wrong with being more polite than expected?
Nothing I agree that being overly polite is better than being rude. I had just been wondering exactly how outdated "usted" is. Based on what my friend said, he was making it sound as if I would get laughed at for using "usted," and nobody wants that.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:01 PM
 
Location: California
3,432 posts, read 2,558,696 times
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I come from a Mexican Family. You should Address your Parents, uncles, aunts as Usted.
However, with my aunts and uncles who are younger than 25 I use "tu". They say that Usted makes them sound old.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:27 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
8,471 posts, read 12,377,595 times
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I can concur with the experiences in Spain and parts of Ecuador.

In Spain, it seems that the use of "Usted" is falling out of fashion, at least among the younger generations, while in parts of Ecuador there is what I would call total confusion among "tu", "Usted", and "vos", native speakers even mix up the conjugation endings. For example, a mother will use vos with a child but, when giving a command, use the Usted verb ending.

For what it's worth, in Italy, at least a few years ago, some attempted a trend to eliminate Lei (similar to Usted) and use tu (same as in Spanish).

It all depends on what one is used to. Perhaps I'm a bit old now (everything right with growing old, even dying), but the use of tu where Lei or Usted should be sounds horrible, at least to me, especially in public situations.

I hope these trends in Europe do not become the norm in future. But the majority will rule, we'll see.

As mentioned, if in doubt, stick with the traditional rule you have been taught in class, nothing wrong with tradition, then pick up on whatever the trend is in the local situation.

Remember that the Spanish-speaking world spans scores of regions, many countries, and several continents, and there are variations among them at each level geographically, culturally, and socially.

Good luck!
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:00 AM
 
220 posts, read 1,056,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProLogic View Post
I come from a Mexican Family. You should Address your Parents, uncles, aunts as Usted.
However, with my aunts and uncles who are younger than 25 I use "tu". They say that Usted makes them sound old.
I use usted with my mother-in-law and my husband's older relatives. However I use tu with all my uncles and aunts. I always use usted with strangers, except with children. We spent time in Spain a couple of years ago visiting my husband's relatives and no one complained or corrected our use of usted.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:36 PM
 
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,240,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipcc View Post
I speak French as well, and are you saying they're a bit rude about it? If so, I hear ya...one time I got scolded for using "tu" instead of "vous" with my friend's older sister. Yes I was 15 and the sister was about 22, but to me it seemed like an informal situation. Guess not! ooops! I'm glad to hear that Spanish is a little more lenient.
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!
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