109 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
I was wondering the same thing. I did find an article that does a good job explaining. In general, que is "what" and cual is "which", but there are exceptions. In this case, when asking for general information like an address, name or phone number, "cual" is used (e.g., "Cual es su direccion?" or What is your address?) Here's the link: http://www.onetoonespanish.co.uk/blog/the-difference-between-que-and-cual-in-spanish.htm
I found a really good website that explained the 6 cases that you need to decide using Qué or cuál (and they are easy to rmb, no worries)
Basically you decide when to use the two word by how you are asking and what you are asking for
The 6 cases are
Qué es... asking for a definition such as " what is Paris", "What is (the meaning of) a family name"
Cuál es... asking for something that has a range of choice such as "What is your favourite book", "what is your family name", "what is your plan"
Cuál de... similar to "which of (these option)..." such as "Which of these three book do you like the most", "which of your family member like to dance"
Qué + (sustantivo)... once you have to follow with a noun firstly, use Qué such as"what book do you like the most", "what language does Mexican speak"
Qué + (verbo) asking for what did someone do/what are someone doing such as "which did you do last weekend", " what do you want to study"
Cuál + (verbo) asking for someone's preference which the choices you provide such as "here are three books, what is your preference"
The explanation would be easier to understand by having more English to Spanish translation example. You could go through the website to have a better idea!
Probably "Miss" or "Madam" in full. As Lee said, "ma'am" (pron. 'mum') is something we would only use when referring to a superior officer in one of the forces (eg, the Navy), or the Queen, or when someone's really narked you off and you're being sarcastic, in which case most people would shove a curtsy or a bow in there as well for good measure.
So. Coming from the (Mid) Northwest USA we use Miss the same way that the south uses Ma'am. We still use Miss to refer to young unmarried ladies. But I don't often use "Ma'am" at all (as it is disrespectful because you are referring to tas older, so it is just safe to say Miss)..... Therefore, "Miss, what is your address" should be accepted.
I think the splitting of tiles is unintentional in this case - maybe because Duo's system ignores punctuation, the apostrophe looked like a space and the computer read it as two words. A glitch, if you want to call it that.
The Japanese course has o' and clock on two separate tiles.
You just said it: Miss = Señorita is for young unmarried ladies. Señora = Ma'am is for married ladies. Back in time, it was very disrespectful to use the wrong one (because you may give false indication about their marital status). Nowadays, only Señora = Ma'am is considered acceptable, because the word Señorita = Miss is considered sexist.
I live in the Midwestern US and I've never heard of someone thinking "ma'am" is disrespectful. Quite the opposite, actually.
I've had teachers that preferred being called "miss" instead of "Mrs." even though they were married though. They felt like the title of a man doesn't change based on their marital status, so why should it for a woman?
In the UK, Ma'am is used for the Queen (and possibly other members of the Royal Family, although I have never met any, so I'm not sure). I used "Miss" with female teachers when I was in school, although some didn't like it. Nowadays, I would say that "Miss" would be considered rude and "Ma'am" would be odd.
Ma'am is still used widely nowadays. In American English, addressing someone as "lady" sounds rude.
The point of using ma'am (or madam) is to show that señora is not interchangeable with señorita (miss). To anyone complaining that you woudln't talk this way, keep in mind, these sentences are here to teach you Spanish, not give you conversation topics in English :)
Same! Thank you for a respectful response. We're learning a language here, people, not debating the use of words in our own language in a particular region or dialect. They're using English words to explain the difference between words in Spanish. You know what they mean! Just use the word they expect as an answer. Simple.
The issue is not so much that ma'am is wrong (or regional), it is that acceptable alternatives are not accepted by Duo. Duo accepts Mr. for señor, but not Ms. for señora. Why? Whatever the reason, it is not because people can't otherwise distinguish señora from señorita.
In my speech community "ma'am" is a clear marker of an authoritarian attitude used extensively by military families and the lower working class. I find it a very ugly expression which I never use and I cringe when I hear it. In spite of that, I would accept it if it were the only alternative for translating a concept which is lacking in English, as you imply by your post. But that is simply not the case. People will continue to object as long as Duo rejects other answers that are perfectly acceptable and frequently used in various English speech communities. The argument that it is there to teach Spanish, not English is specious.
Duo ought to acknowledge the problem and promise to fix it, not double down and defend it. To reiterate, the problem is not that there is a distinction between señora and señorita. That distinction exists in English as well. The problem is Duo's insistence that there is only one English word that handles that distinction in the face of many people offering alternatives.
Ms. isn't the same as Mrs., which is acceptable if you are using señora as a title.
Ms. (pronounced mizz) is not used on it's own that I'm aware of.
I'm sorry that you find it "a very ugly expression", but it sounds fine to most English speakers. I'm not sure why you would share, but I'd ask you not to call the way 300 million people speak ugly.
This sentence accepts madam and ma'am for señora. In this case, Mrs. is wrong. Some might use Missus, but the abbreviation is wrong here.
Duo does acknowledge the problem and is fixing it. There is a Report Button for that. Volunteers then read all the reports and that takes time. Duo isn't insisting there is only one English word, you are making that assumption.
Strange for me to see all this discussion about Miss, Mrs, ma'am, etc. being insulting to one person or another, yet no mention of "Mz" (which I totally despise) that was invented in the 70s specifically to solve all those Politically inCorrect "insults".
Furthermore, where I grew up in the West, we were taught to use Mister and Lady to avoid all this general BS, and now DuoLingo is stubbornly refusing to accept those two words as any form of address for a man or woman. (And I was taught that a "Madam" was the woman who ran a whore house!)
Madam is a very old word and it was used to address a woman singularly as the opposite of sir. Because of the suffrage movement of the 20's madam fell out of favor in the culture and woman opted to use other words in a polite address. Because madam was so out of favor it became used as an insult to woman that were not societally acceptable, hence madam being used to address the female owner of a whore house.
Ma'am is a shortened version of madam, so you do have a point. However these days, at least in the US, madam seems to be used primarily in reference to the matron of a brothel. I don't think I've ever actually heard the word used as a form of address --- except in Victorian novels
Señora translates as "ma'am" in a sentence like this one, in which the person is being addressed, but not by name. "Ma'am, what is your address?"
If the sentence were "Señora Hernandez, cual es su direccion?" the English version would be "Mrs. Hernandez what is your address?"
"Señora" is also used as a term of respect where English speakers might use the term "lady." "Las señoras son de Puerto Rico" (" the ladies are from . . .")
To be sure, "ladies" is not used much these days, at least in the US, but when translating "señora/s" from Spanish, Duo wants us to use "ladies" instead of "women."
Ma'am is a respectful term to be applied to a grown woman, especially to a married woman. Young women who are married can also be referred to as señora, though the younger a woman is the more likely she is to prefer miss, which is why the lady you referred to didn't like being called ma'am. For us, it's a sensitive issue which goes to age.
Again, it's "señora" because it applies to grown women, married or single, and translates to "ma'am." A woman who is clearly not a young woman can also be referred to as ma'am, her marital status notwithstanding. Then again, I was called "ma'am" when I was a young woman. Didn't bother me at all.