Mesdames, perhaps, the plural of "madam".
"Meine Damen,..." is rather formal, so perhaps 'My ladies' might indeed be preferable if you don't mind sounding a bit stilted.
I can't vouch for British or other varieties of English, but to me, "My ladies" sounds not only stilted, but a bit creepy. (If the speaker is a pimp, or maybe 80, then maybe?) If the speaker is, say, a hotel worker, they would say "Ladies this way," not "My ladies," because "My.." would be presumptuous. Note that the English equivalent of "Meine Damen und Herren..." is "Ladies and gentlemen." We never say "My ladies and gentleman."
OK. I'm not a native speaker of English, so I guess you're right ;-) What about 'my dear lady'? Isn't it used any more? (Admittedly, it might have a British Archduke vibe ;-) )
"My dear lady" or "My dear sir" sound very British, aristocratic old-fashioned. But, they also imply a certain level of familiarity (people who are on your same level of class/status, and you know fairly well.) Whereas "Meine Damen, hierher." sounds to me like something an employee would say to customers of some sort, not to friends (except ironically, as a sort of joke? I'm not a native German speaker, so I may be wrong!) So, "my dear lady" or "my ladies" sounds presumptuous, as if an employee is pretending to be a friend or "equal" of customers.
"My dear lady" is, I think, very rarely used these days. Even in a historical context, it can only be used in certain cases: the "dear" adds a strong emphasis, implying that you are saying something you feel very strongly, or expresing delight, offence, surprise, etc.; here's an example from Boswell's Life of Johnson:
Mrs. Thrale stood to her gun [i.e. argued for her opinion] with great courage, in defence of amorous ditties, which Johnson despised, till he at last silenced her by saying, 'My dear Lady, talk no more of this. Nonsense can be defended but by nonsense.'
You're totally correct. even a Brit would only use the possessive if the adressee was singular ("My Lord/Lady"), and even then only in addressing a senior judge or a member of the aristocracy.
Although, if you're addressing an audience which includes aristocrats, "My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen" is usual.
And yes, "my dear lady" is something i would expect to hear only from someone of a certain age and/or social status.
As a native English speaker I'd say that no matter how formal the occasion you just wouldn't use the 'my'. If you did, you'd risk sounding sarcastic rather than formal.
I agree! Something like "Right this way, ladies." might be a solid translation. "My ladies" is unnatural, and a bit creepy.
"Meine Damen und Herren..." is a common announcement, for example on a train. "Ladies and gentlemen, we will shortly be arriving at...". It's interpreted completely without the 'ownership' otherwise implied by meine, and so is not creepy at all in that context.
Very common in the Caribbean when English speaking island vendors are calling tourists to their shops.
'This way, my ladies' is much more natural in English than 'My ladies, this way'.
What does duolingo mean with ''this way''? I am not a native English speaker.
It's the sort of thing you might say when directing someone to their seat in a theatre or showing someone the way to their hotel room. You gesture to show them which way "this" is.
More fully, the sentence might be something like "Please follow me this way to the meeting room". When used in reality with body language and context, you could just say "this way" and the meaning would be clear.
Oh, Duo, you little so-and-so. I'd nary a notion of your songbird ways having thought you merely a captain of language and a king among linguists.