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https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF

Tú, Usted, Vos, Ustedes, Vosotros

AlejoPF
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Singular You:

The "general" rule is that Tú is an informal and Usted is a formal way to say you. But this rule is correct only in Spain, Mexico, Caribbean Islands and Colombian and Venezuelan Caribbean coast. Although most of teachers teach this rule (even Duolingo), you have to know that it is not totally true.

Vos is use as informal you in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica ,where raplaces totally to "Tú". In Central America and parts of Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador people use vos as well as tú.

Finally, in Colombia and Costa Rica, some people use usted with their friends, family, even their pets!

Plural you:

Vosotros is use only in Spain and Equatorial Guinea in an infomal way, and Ustedes in a formal way.

In Latin America, people do not use Vosotros, it is archaic. Latin americans only use Ustedes.

Bonus: There is another way to say you... Su merced (literally Your mercy), but nowadays it is only used in Central region of Colombia (Altiplano Cundiboyacense), in the rest of countries it is archaic.

EDIT: I'm not an expert, I'm writing what I've heard and read... This is just a basic guide because this theme is really complex. If you think I'm wrong just let me know. We're here for help! Thanks for read (I'm practising my English help me to improve it)

4 years ago

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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Here's a very fascinating and helpful link about "vos" and its history: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/134022/-what-is-vos

The most interesting part is "The History of VOS." According to what he/she says, "usted" is actually an abbreviation of "vuestra merced" (also translated as "your mercy").

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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the Portuguese "você" also comes from that word :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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And the French "vous".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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wow, didn't know that

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/loofoo
loofoo
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Andthe Italian "Voi"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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Yeah, you'll see variations like "vusted" and sometimes see Vd. instead of Ud. for the abbreviation. It's not so much as abbreviation as a contracted form, though.

The Italian "Lei" (formal you) uses the feminine form for similar reasons (it goes back to "signoria vostra" or "vossignoria").

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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I always assumed that Vd. was just from VSTED, y'know, like Latin.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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Great, thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElOtroMiqui
ElOtroMiqui
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Here In Maracaibo, Venezuela, we have a different verb conjugation from the rest of the country.

We use "vos" as an informal "tú", but we don't conjugate it like argentinean people (-as, -es, -is), we use -áis for -ar verbs, -èis for -er verbs and -is for -ir verbs.

As an example:

  • Comer is vos coméis
  • Bailar is vos bailáis

We also don't use 'tú', it feels weird, but we have to use it when we travel to another state! x)

I don't know if there's another country that uses "vos" with that conjugation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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That's really strange. So you use "vos" with "vosotros" conjugation. How about imperative? Is that also the same as "vosotros?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElOtroMiqui
ElOtroMiqui
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Wow... I hadn't noticed it was "vosotros" conjugation xd, but yeah.

About the imperative, we use the same as argentinean people
(comer ->comé, bailar->bailá).

As far as I know, it is like that because Maracaibo has a big lake that separates it from the rest of the country, and we were like that for a big amount of time until our bridge was built.

So we developed slower than them, that's why we still have that conjugation from the old Spanish, but as I said, I hadn't noticed it was the same conjugation of "vosotros", I've always thought that -áis was the old "vos" conjugation. I think I have to search a bit on the internet about the history of my city :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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It's very interesting how languages change across different regions of the world.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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You use it just in Maracaibo or in whole Zulia? (and maybe some people in Guajira and Cesar (Colombia)?) Un saludo desde Colombia!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElOtroMiqui
ElOtroMiqui
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Hola! :D I'm not completely sure... But I guess it is the whole Zulia (or at least a big part of it). My sister has a friend who's from Cabimas (another Zulia's city) and she uses "vos" too. But my cousins in Caracas and Táchira (states of Venezuela) don't use it. They use "tú", it's strange x)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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ahhh, I agree with you said "Maracaibo has a big lake that separates it from the rest of the country"... you're between the lake and Colombian border, so you've been isolated. that situation happens in Colombia as well, In Antioquia people use vos, But here (Boyacá) we don't... Un Saludo!! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Manao80
Manao80
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Sí, lo utilizamos en todo el zulia, y creo según estuve leyendo, en varias partes de los andes venezolanos, aunque está en proceso de extinsión por esos lados.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hckoenig
hckoenig
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Hi Samsta, you said: "That's really strange. So you use "vos" with "vosotros" conjugation." It is not strange if you remember that "vos" is grammatically a plural.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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That make me think of a hypothesis(one that has probably already been confirmed/deconfirmes years ago): "vosotros" is just like "y'all".

It seems that they both started out plural, then got genericised and became singular(or vague), then the speakers appended a suffix to the end for disambiguation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hhowell4694

Yes! Vosotros came from something like vuestros otros, it's been a few years since I studied that so forgive me.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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I've never heard in any textbook referring to "vos" as not being Argentinian. Thanks for the information (and the follow-ups)!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hckoenig
hckoenig
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That is very interesting.

I would like to know the form of "you" (informal, plural) in those countries that use "vos" for "you" (informal, singular)? Since "vos" is grammatically a plural already, I would assume that the plural is "vos" too.

In Latin, the words for "we" and "you" (plural) are "nos" and "vos", so that's where the "vos" (and French "vous", Italian "voi") comes from. The Spanish forms must be a combination of two words: "nosotros" = "nos otros" = "we others". "otro" comes from Latin "alter / altra"; it appears in English words, e.g. "alternative" - "other possibility" and "alternate" - "change between one state and another". I suddenly understood this when I learned the corresponding Catalan forms: "nosaltres" and "vosaltres".

EDIT: After having read the article (thanks for the link, Samsta), I have a theory concerning the "vosotros" construction. Obviously for many centuries "vos" was used for singular and plural (i.e. when talking to one or several persons). So "vosotros" was introduced to again distinguish between singular and plural.

Actually, the same happened in English. "you" was originally plural only; the singular (informal) address was "thou" (like "du" in German). You can still see it in Shakespeare's texts. Then "you" took over, and now native speakers of English feel that "you" means both singular and plural. However, people start using expressions like "you guys" when talking to several people. So, in a few hundred years, the word "guy" may have been disappeared from the English language, but "youguys" may have been grammaticalized as the plural of "you".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence
chilvence
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That's a cracking theory about what might happen in English, but it is already accounted for with words like 'yous' and 'yall'. But I think it is more accurate to say that most English speakers don't even feel that there is any need for a plural form of 'you', because you can always add another word to 'you' to make the point that you are addressing the group, and it is so much more versatile: You lot, you people, you fellas, you buggers, you diamonds, you legends, you swindlers, you three over there. It almost demands a colourful adjective or some elaboration. Or even just 'You' on its own is not hard to work out from context; "Will you be staying two nights?" "Yes, I will. And so will my wife and three children you can see standing next to me", said no one, ever.

I find that some people find this sort of trend very annoying, but I see it as liberating - you can look back at the history of your own language, or anyone else's for that matter, and for as many things that might be considered improper, you can find fossilised grammatical features that are considered 'correct' even though they make about as much sense as the above, re: 'yall' and 'yous'. It's almost as if the rules of grammar were written after the language fell apart to try and explain the insanity... so realistically, is anyone that criticises someone's grammar trying to make someone talk properly, or trying perpetuate their own understanding of a language that is inherently flawed, without them even realising?

I'm not precious about any of it, I think all languages are about as well thought out as a chocolate teapot, and my tolerance for other peoples grammar mistakes is very high because I have an acute understanding of how little sense the grammar of distant languages make in relation to each other; I also have an appreciation for how learning another language makes you change the way you use your own - and not my mistake, I mean willingly, and deliberately. I would like to redefine the word 'grammar' to be taken as something more like 'general habit', but I'm not in charge of... well anything really...

More's the pity :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevejn

Haha 'I think all languages are about as well thought out as a chocolate teapot' Nice one! Agreed! Ditto with tolerance! How can you not feel sympathy for anyone struggling with English grammar let alone spelling!! How does one get their head around 17th century English spelling drawn from French, Latin, German and all the other languages we have canablised, overlaid on 21st century English pronunciation? Thank God I was born a native English speaker.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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They ONLY use Ustedes (I wrote it in the post), those countries are in LatAm. With the other things you say, I realize that we all are connected :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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Yes, you're right about the evolution of "vosotros." For a while (in Old Spanish) it actually alternated with "vos todos," just like the English "y'all" (but this I only know because one of the professors here wrote an article about it). Italian sometimes also uses "voialtri," since they also used (and in some places still use) "voi" as a formal singular "you." In English, there are lots of forms for the plural you - a friend of mine who is now a Latin teacher told me once that a girl she was tutoring translated "vos" as "yinz" (which is used in and around Pittsburgh).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevejn

I didn't know I was so interested in Etymology (or should that be Entomology) :) before reading these posts. Now I know where 'voialtri' used in the Sicilian dialect to signify you plural originates from. They like it so much i think its even spread to 'noialtri' for plural emphasis.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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That would make a lot of sense, since "voi" as singular is more widely used in Sicily, right?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevejn

I think yes although not really sure. Something to do with Mussolini fiddling with the language while Europe burned perhaps.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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Hahaha, that's a good way to put it! I just asked because I know it's still widely used in Southern Italy (in Naples, for example), and I thought I had heard the same for Sicily, but wasn't sure.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/edwintf

I think you are correct... frecuently is better to use "Tu" for friends or relatives, in the other hand "Usted" is the respectful way to say "You".

easy formula :

Tu (you) = use it when you talk with Friends or relatives.

Usted = use it when you talk with your boss, elderly people, parents, also all the people you admire and respect.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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Yeah that's the rule you all learn and most of people understand that you're not natives and accept that you use that formula.

An example that doesn't fit with the formula: That's how I use the 'you' forms

I use 'su merced' with my parents, aunts, uncle, grandparents (when they were alive :/ ), some teachers, people older than me, etc...

I use 'usted' with my male friends, some techers, cousins, strangers, waiters, my brother, my cat etc..

I use 'Tú' with my female friends, my girlfriend

I don't use 'vos'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/edwintf

You're right, It is okay to use tu or usted whenever you feel comfortable with the person or people you are talking...The most important thing about learning a new language is to have fun making new friends for sharing knowledge, experiences,etc. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PascalMoser
PascalMoser
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great thank you

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SonPham861746

That's great! thank you for sharing.

11 months ago