"Perdón señora, ¿el aeropuerto está cerca?"
Translation:Excuse me, ma'am, is the airport nearby?
RonaldPrid, "Maam" without the apostrophe is not a word. The apostrophe takes the place of the "d" in Madam, and is NOT slang, as someone here said, but the preferred word for respectfully addressing a woman you do not know, or who is in a position to whom one should show deference or respect, such as a teacher or female person you perceive to be older than you are.
If you can see her left hand and she wears no wedding ring, you may try "Miss" instead, which is also fine for young girls.
Where proper manners are still taught, such as the military, saying "Yes, Ma'am/No, Ma'am" is the polite way to address our mothers, as well. FYI, it is more commonly spelled "M'am," in the South, at least. That's the way I've seen it my entire life in the U.S.A., and I would trust that more than whatever Duo's been told. I may suggest that to be an accepted spelling next time I see the opportunity.
Butlers/cooks/maids/servants in the employ of wealthy people may still use the formal-sounding "Madam" as the form of addressing the lady of the house, and "Sir" for the gentleman owner or his older sons, and use "Master Robbie/Phillip/Johnny/Bradley (or whatever their names are) for the young ones; and "Miss Abigail/Lucia/Mary/Constance (or whatever) for the unmarried girls of the family.
Perhaps because of the bad connotation of the definition of "a Madam" being the owner or manager of a whorehouse, the vast majority of America who are Upper-Middle-Class or below would not expect to be addressed as "Madam," although if you had a British accent, that would be fine, just as "Madame" would be, for one speaking with a French accent. :<)
Nobody in England would ever use "ma'am, surely other forms of miss, madam, lady etc should be accepted? Generally speaking, it would be enough to say "excuse me" without adding "ma'am". But surely there's a middle grounf between American English and British English allowing for an answer other than "ma'am", which is almost exclusively used in American English. Nobody uses that in Britain. Seems unfair alternatives aren't accepted.
At least in the US, you'd never say "sorry" unless you'd bumped her or stepped on her foot. For asking directions, you say "pardon me" or "excuse me". (You can also use those if you've bumped someone, but you usually also say you're sorry, too. "Oh! Pardon me! I'm so sorry!")
Posted on the Forum, SpanishDict by MacFadden: ¨Hello, and welcome to the forum. Traditionally, this has been the distinction: señorita is like 'miss' in English; it is used for unmarried women. Señora is used for married women. However, Spanish has been having something of a gender equality awareness awakening recently, and, at least in some places, there is a trend toward calling all adult women señora¨. Okay, the followng is my take on this subject, since we will be using Spanish when we travel, I try to ignore a translation, even if it is cringe-worthy, to get on learning Spanish. I myself would not call anyone Ma´am but many people use that expression to get your attention. This is not wrong but when people started calling me Ma´am, instead of Miss, I thought, "did I suddenly get old"?
I would say Miss not knowing if she was married or not. I would not insult her by making her think I was addressing her as an older woman. A "madam" or ma'am also refers to a person in charge of a house of ill repute (whore house). Therefore "MISS" should be acceptable! !!!