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"Señora, ¿usted habla inglés?"

Translation:Ma'am, do you speak English?

3 months ago

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/BeardedWal

Why is Ma' am broken in half?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/headreplacement

it shouldn't be, I reported it. its definitely an error. ma'am is a contraction of madam, even in the full form it is definitely one word

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMon385640

Maybe it's a contraction, with the apostrophe in place of the d in madam...like...it's for it is.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

Here. Have a Lingot. I am a Southern gal and ma'am is a very common word in our vocabulary. Not to mention sir. It is how we vocally express respect especially to our elders or to those we have deemed "superior" to ourselves(such as members in the Armed Forces and police, firefighters, etc). We tend to use it more when speaking to our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Family should always be spoken to with respect.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sojournerbliss

Agree. I also reported it. I encourage others to do so as well. Contractions sre one word and i think duos habit of breaking them up in the multiple choice secyions causes confusion.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EfiMelis
EfiMelis
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why do they even use ma'am instead of simply 'madam'?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

Because, just like DL had to pick Latin American Spanish vs the other dialects, DL also had to pick an English dialect and thusly chose colloquial American English, much to the chargrin of others.

Ma'am is very common amongst the south and southeast United States sections. From the Carolinas to Florida and as far west as Texas as well as Oklahoma and Kansas. It can even be heard in the mountainous states of Colorado and Wyoming. It is a word used to show respect, an attribute sorely lacking in much of the world, especially between children and adults. Ma'am as well as Sir is also used when addressing superior officers in all US military branches.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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It's not just a Southern word. You can hear ma'am in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. I don't think any American can honestly say they aren't familiar with this word.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisinlaco

Maybe DuoLingo needs English for American speakers or American for English speakers. LOL.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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"Ma'am" is a form of address, analogous to "sir". Although they are both formal, "madam" is overly formal. It is reserved for special circumstances, e.g. "Madam President".

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Billyboy831183

Miss isnt accepted. I live in uk not deep south America, i have honestly rarely heard maam said

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FerEtayoRguez
FerEtayoRguez
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I think miss would properly translate to señorita, at least back when those used to mean "unmarried lady". Would you use miss here with any woman?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Virakal
Virakal
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Generally, yes we would, at least in Britain. "Ma'am" is rarely used regardless of marriage status.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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For better or worse, and probably to the annoyance of many, Duolingo's English is American English. So I expect most non-American English speakers would share your experience.

FYI, in its Mexican Spanish course, Memrise translates el suéter as "the jumper". 8D

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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  1. Señora isn't miss

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/senora

  1. Ma'am is common across the US, not just the south.

  2. There are no choices that work in all English speaking regions, so Duo used the American English term in their American English course.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelBell0

Agreed, sounds very weird. I tried lady but DL won't accept that either. Actually sounds better if you put the honorific at the end of the sentence (but ma'am still sounds archaic)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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No, it sounds completely natural in American English. Ma'am isn't archaic in the least.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Simone913220

Shouldn't the subject come after the verb? As in ¿habla usted inglés?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FerEtayoRguez
FerEtayoRguez
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Both forms sound good to me. Matter of taste, I guess.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brinckmyster

I live in Colorado, and was called ma'am at the drive thru speaker just the other day. It didn't even sound odd...

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arnulo
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3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

As a "Deep South" citizen, ma'am/sir is what we say to all adults and anyone of importance. It is how we show respect. Here in the south, children get spanked if they do not address their elders with either "Ma'am" or "Sir". And correct me if I am wrong(Americans), but I believe even in our own Armed Forced, they address their COs as "Ma'am" and "Sir". Respect. Learn it. Live it.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrispb81

How do i uninstall my deep south edition of Duolingo?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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Ma'am is the common way Americans address a woman.

I wouldn't ask you to call a lorry a truck just in case an American is listening. This course is American English, so you can't be surprised that American English terminology is used.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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Hooray! I've been saying that as well. I've even taken to including the symbols DL uses for the English language in my replies:

Change Chinese to any language

It's good to have a moderator reminding people of this as well.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/karl_w_a_K
karl_w_a_K
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HAHAHAHAHA! Beautiful! Well said! I'm glad SOMEONE tried to lighten this up!

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/king.coffey

This fascinates me. I'm a native Texan, lived all my life in Texas, but have traveled extensively. It had never occurred to me "ma'am" is a weird Southern thing. Southerners are raised to be polite and our version of politeness includes "ma'am" and "sir" apparently. Nothing creepy or abusive (to me at least). It's all about showing respect to others. Much like I would never use "tu" if I was speaking to someone I didn't know very well.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisinlaco

it isn't just the south. I heard it growing up in Colorado, in Kansas, Chicago, and Washington DC. Maybe is is just American though?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vijayalaxm20

Why is Ma'am broken in half

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Val572575
Val572575
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The apostrophe is for the missing "d" in Madam.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BernardBus3

Ma'am or madam aside, I put Ma'am after "do you speak English " and it was counted wrong. If we are learning "colloquial" language why is this wrong since it can be correctly said either way in English but is far more likely to be used they way I put it than the other way!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DauntlessSam

Duolingo is coding, not a true person. So sometimes it freaks out when things are even slightly off due to the way it has been programmed.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

Because in this sentence, Ma'am came first, not last.

As far as your word order, I might say "Excuse me, ma'am, did you drop this?" or "Ma'am, did you drop this?" but I can honestly say I have never put the title at the end of the sentence. If you do, it is all well and good. I am not knocking it. I am just saying, as a Southerner, I don't say it that way.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brandon153837

Hold on if the sentence is asking that the lady speaks English, wouldn't hablar be "hablas" since we're asking her?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DauntlessSam

Since it is the "usted" form (respectful) the conjugation changes to habla

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eric266785

Lady do you speak English?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisinlaco

No, we do not call people "lady" to their face.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rodinia
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Some people do. "Lady, you dropped your wallet!" Usually I hear it from kids or from people who are annoyed... up above someone suggested this was a customs official who was getting frustrated with a woman he was trying to talk to, and "Lady, do you speak English?" would be a completely normal thing for him to say under those circumstances.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

And a very rude thing to say, regardless of circumstances. Manners and respect are a big part of the Spanish culture.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisinlaco

Unfortunately, it may be "normal" for someone to say that these days but it is still disrespectful. I'm pretty sure Duolingo is trying to teach us proper and respectful communication.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielJura17

Why is usted first here in the question but last in other situations?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankMurphy0

Ma'am is not proper English It is also a word not used in modern day parlance

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

I don't know where you live, but where I live, I am called ma'am everywhere I go. I live in the South. It is a very common word in our modern day parlance. Just because it is a word that is not used where you live, does not mean it is not used elsewhere. Southern Americans say ma'am and sir when addressing others. We also address our superior/commanding officers in every branch of our great nation's military service, Ma'am and Sir, and that is everyone in the military, no matter what region of the U.S. they live in. So tell me again, how this is not a word in modern day parlance nor proper English?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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MsPuddles, I SO admire your very courteous diligence with this thread!!! If only people would actually read the comments before posting...but I'm quite sure that is a lost cause. :-D

FYI I'm confident that "ma'am is a regular part of American English throughout the country, not just in the South or in the military. I grew up in the midwest & have lived in the mid-Atlantic as well as the greater Boston area; ma'am is alive and well in all of these regions.

Regardless, it seems that many objections like the ones in this Discussion are coming from folks who live in other English-speaking countries. I suspect that people aren't aware of, or ignore, the reality that Duolingo's English is American English. I've recently taken to sharing the symbols DL uses to represent English as a learning option:

Change Chinese to any language

We'll see how that works...

Thanks for your helpful contributions to the conversations here & elsewhere in the DL world! I wish I could give your comments more upvotes so they'd rise in the rank of comments!! You probably have many already, but here are some lingots in appreciation.

Thanks again & keep up the good work!!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yleexot406

I am nearing 70, and I still "Yes, ma'am" when my mother asks me a question. (And I do live in Texas)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Val572575
Val572575
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The upside-down question mark should be in FRONT of Señora as it is part of the sentence which is the whole question. This is incorrect as written.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MsPuddles

Incorrect. Please read the following link, paying close attention to all of the red highlighted areas, especially the one that says only the part that is the question, needs the question marks before and after.

https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/asking-questions-in-spanish

2 months ago