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In the US, I think "lady" dropped out of fashion because we don't have the official title of "Lady" anywhere (outside of the First Lady). We almost don't use the word at all, honestly. But saying "Lady, are you a doctor?" would sound more like "Woman, are you a doctor?" and be kind of rude here.
Good to know. Thank you for sharing that info. I think it is good for those who are here to improve their English (after completing the Spanish to English tree) to polish the dialect they want. But I also think it's interesting & since I'd like to travel it would be good to know for the future.
chrisinlaco you are absolutely correct!
It seems that folks don't realize that Duolingo teaches/uses American English. The symbols DL uses to signify the English language make this quite clear:
Although it may be interesting/helpful to hear answers from the perspective of other English speaking countries, e.g. England, those replies are not correct from the DL perspective.
N.B.: I make no assertion as to what is better or worse about all this, just stating what is. ;-) (In other words, please don't shoot the messenger.)
I can't respond to Brigid directly, but I've found the conversation about regional differences to be fascinating. I love that other English-speakers don't hang so much on gender in their language. But here in the USA, we do and I hear "ma'am" used pretty much every day.
Señora and ma'am both refer to a woman who is married. Señorita and miss (abbreviated Ms.) are used to refer to someone who is not married. I imagine if you used Ms. or Miss as a translation for señorita it would accept it. Here, though, it wouldn't be accepted because they don't mean the same thing.
The only acceptable translation for this Duolingo question is to use "Ma'am" which is acceptable in most of the USA even though it is something I would never say.
In the UK and probably the rest of the English-speaking world we would not address her with any title, but simply say "Excuse me, are you a doctor?"
I don't think 'Lady' or 'Missus' would be used like this in any English-speaking country and the use of either would be aggressive-sounding and rude.
Just out of curiosity, isn't the rule that when you ask a question, and you want to use the pronoun, if comes after the verb, rather than in front of it? Or is that just because the pronoun is being used to disambiguate in most situations, but here we're doing something else (such as emphasizing the "you")?
Ma'am is very American and wouldn't be used in England - even madam is antiquated - Lady is also very old fashioned - I wrote - Lady are you a doctor? - marked incorrect - If you didn't know the marriage status of the individual you would probably invariably say Ms (Miss) but never Mrs - so I guess the best option should be Ms, are you a doctor? - discuss!
I'm a total newbie when it comes to Spanish, but I've been working really hard the past two days because I have nothing better to do. I get the gist with senora and doctor, but I struggle with the 'are you a' and the grammar and the order that goes in. Can someone give me some tips on that?
Saying that would sound rude and a bit aggressive in all varieties of English. In most of the USA 'Ma'am' would be fine and the only acceptable translation for this Duolingo question. In the UK and probably the rest of the English-speaking world we would not address her with any title, but simply say 'Excuse me, are you a doctor?'
"It an Americanisation."
No, it's simply American English. The word ma'am is not some new slang. It's an old word that has been a part of English for centuries. Other English speaking countries stopped using it.
"We use Mrs, Miss, Ms and Mr... so all of these should be accepted as they are English."
All of those would be wrong, with the exception of Miss. In English, you cannot use an abbreviation like Mrs. without a name. You would have to spell it as as missus. Ms (pronounced mizz) is also a titled and is never used without a name. Mr is wrong, since that title is only used with a man. Miss is not really correct, since it doesn't show understanding of the difference between señorita and señora.
They accepts ma'am, madam, and madame. This is not about how you would say this in English. It's about what you're going to say in Spanish. The English is only there as a medium to teach Spanish. Sometimes that means using a phrasing that isn't your favorite. Keep the goal in sight, not the path.
In what language? Merriam Webster has it spelled "ma'am" http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/ma%27am