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raferguson


Nov 22, 2010, 1:47 PM

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Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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I tend to talk pretty formally, so you might hear me say "¿Como esta usted?", at least for people who I don't know.

But I don't think that is what I hear on a regular basis. I think that I am hearing "¿Como estas? even if it is someone you don't know.

My guess is that I can get away with either, but what do you hear? What do you think?

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com



Rolly


Nov 22, 2010, 2:02 PM

Post #2 of 30 (7055 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Since almost all the people I have regular contact with are "tu" folks, I have a hard time remembering to use the 3rd person form. I guess at my age it doesn't matter much if I use the familiar form with a waiter; he still brings the grub.
White hair seems to bestow some prerogatives.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Nov 22, 2010, 2:04 PM)


Maesonna

Nov 22, 2010, 2:56 PM

Post #3 of 30 (7044 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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As one gets older and older, more folks are younger than one, and more people tend to address one as Ud.

However, for the Ud. form, it’s more common to say just “¿Cómo está?” than “¿Cómo está usted?” and the difference between that and “¿Cómo estás?” is just the tiny “s” at the end, so it could be easily misheard, too, and you might not be clear whether you are being addressed as “usted” or “” until they say something further.


tashby


Nov 22, 2010, 4:47 PM

Post #4 of 30 (7031 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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I hear what Maesonna hears....

Almost always “¿Cómo está?” or "¿Cómo estás?“ and almost never "¿Cómo está usted?”.

But I'm a very casual guy, and we live in a cowtown.

This, of course, doesn't include the gazillion other informal greetings that corkscrew into my ear.


(This post was edited by tashby on Nov 22, 2010, 4:53 PM)


mevale

Nov 22, 2010, 4:54 PM

Post #5 of 30 (7029 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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I tend to talk pretty formally, so you might hear me say "¿Como esta usted?", at least for people who I don't know.

But I don't think that is what I hear on a regular basis. I think that I am hearing "¿Como estas? even if it is someone you don't know.

My guess is that I can get away with either, but what do you hear? What do you think?

Richard


What I hear is: ¿cómo stás? , ¿cómo tás?, ¿cómo etá?, ¿cómo tá?, and of course the ones you mentioned.:>))

Speaking of which, I just read this passage today, from the Juan Rulfo short-story ”Paso del Norte“:

-¿Y pa onde te vas, si se puede saber?
-Me voy pal Norte.
-¿Y allá pos pa que? ¿No tienes aquí tu negocio? ¿No estás metido en la merca de puercos?
-Estaba. Ora ya no. No deja. Le semana pasada no conseguimos pa comer y en la antepasada comimos puros quelites. Hay hambre, padre; usté ni se las huele porque vive bien.
(From “El Llano en Llamas“ by Juan Rulfo)

Anyway, I think you get my point.


(This post was edited by mevale on Nov 22, 2010, 4:56 PM)


morgaine7


Nov 22, 2010, 7:05 PM

Post #6 of 30 (7010 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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In La Paz, people drop the final "s" more often than not, so what I hear is ¿Cómo 'stá'? for both estás and está. Don't think I've ever heard Usted added to the latter. The casual version among friends is ¿Qué onda?.

Kate


mazbook1


Nov 22, 2010, 7:58 PM

Post #7 of 30 (7006 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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The ONLY place I have ever heard ¿cómo está usted? is in New Mexico where they speak a pretty antique dialect of Spanish in the northern communities (settled by the Spaniards, not the Mexicans). Mostly, here in Sinaloa, I hear ¿comstá? (the usted form contracted), but Sinaloa is pretty conservative and the Usted verb forms tend to rule. Among the much younger set, ¿comstás? seems to be the "tu" version, but rarely if ever heard among adult speakers.


Bennie García

Nov 22, 2010, 8:41 PM

Post #8 of 30 (6996 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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The ONLY place I have ever heard ¿cómo está usted? is in New Mexico where they speak a pretty antique dialect of Spanish in the northern communities (settled by the Spaniards, not the Mexicans). Mostly, here in Sinaloa, I hear ¿comstá? (the usted form contracted), but Sinaloa is pretty conservative and the Usted verb forms tend to rule. Among the much younger set, ¿comstás? seems to be the "tu" version, but rarely if ever heard among adult speakers.


The usted form is still used frequently in most of the country. My wife uses it whenever she addresses her elders. Most of my employees use that form when they address me. I use it whenever I address my mother in law or people of her age. Whether I articulate the word usted sort of depends I guess on how I start the sentence. It isn't something I think about.

It might be Hola, doña Lola, como esta usted?.

Or possibly Como esta? doña Lola

The other day I was in the dentist's chair for a wisdom tooth extraction. He and I are roughly the same age and he politely asked me if it was OK if he addressed me as tu. Prior to that he used usted. (Actually I wouldn't have cared if he had used hijo de la chingada as long as he got rid of that tooth without too much pain)

The custom is gradually fading amongst the younger generations. My children address us using tu but curiously enough use usted when speaking with their abuelita.


tashby


Nov 22, 2010, 8:45 PM

Post #9 of 30 (6995 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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The casual version among friends is ¿Qué onda?.


Same here, as often as not. (Jalisco)


Bennie García

Nov 22, 2010, 8:50 PM

Post #10 of 30 (6993 views)

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Re: [tashby] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Yes a common greeting but that roughly means "what's up" or "what's happening" and not asking a person about their well being.

You will hear it frequently followed by "como estas".

Que onda? tashby. Como estas?


tashby


Nov 22, 2010, 9:02 PM

Post #11 of 30 (6990 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Yep. Exactly like that. "What's up?....How's it going?....How are you?"

And the others, as well...


morgaine7


Nov 22, 2010, 9:48 PM

Post #12 of 30 (6980 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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The custom is gradually fading amongst the younger generations. My children address us using tu but curiously enough use usted when speaking with their abuelita.

A related issue I've wondered about is when to stop using as young folks grow up. For example, with the kids of neighbors I don't know well, where I use Usted with adults in the same family.

Kate


Bennie García

Nov 23, 2010, 5:37 AM

Post #13 of 30 (6970 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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IMO I would continue using tu. Which form do they use when they speak to you? I rarely use usted when speaking to someone younger than myself. It depends on the situation. There are no rules to speak of. Use whatever you feel comfortable. Only the most uptight will get upset if you use tu instead of usted.


morgaine7


Nov 23, 2010, 6:47 AM

Post #14 of 30 (6966 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Many thanks. The children and teenagers use Usted with me. Sometimes I think we foreigners tend to look for rules where none really exist, and maybe we should learn to focus more on context.

Kate


Maesonna

Nov 23, 2010, 11:00 AM

Post #15 of 30 (6944 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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In my family (i.e. my children and their cousins), the youngest generation—who are now in their twenties, but this was also true when they were children—call their own parents and their grandparents , but all their aunts and uncles and other older relatives usted.

I haven’t witnessed this process close-up, but I expect that toddlers learning to talk probably call everyone at first, but soon they start being instructed whom to call usted as part of learning manners; just as they are instructed to say “please” and to saludar nicely and to eat neatly, and all the other civilizing things that a small child learns.


mazbook1


Nov 23, 2010, 12:08 PM

Post #16 of 30 (6933 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Bennie, your post could have been written by me, except that MY suegra is my age. I still use usted and the usted verb forms with her and my suegro, as do the nietos.

I didn't mean my post to say that only in Sinaloa is usted the most common, as I'm aware that outside DF, the usted forms are still more common than the tu forms.

Many years ago an employee (university graduate) explained it to me this way: tu is the familiar – mostly, but not exclusively, used in the family – form and usted is the respectful (NOT the formal form as nearly all Spanish classes and Spanish teachers teach).


Rolly


Nov 23, 2010, 12:40 PM

Post #17 of 30 (6922 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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One of my friends uses usted with his younger brother.
He says he does so because he respects his brother so much.

Rolly Pirate


La Isla


Nov 23, 2010, 12:42 PM

Post #18 of 30 (6918 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Many years ago an employee (university graduate) explained it to me this way: tu is the familiar – mostly, but not exclusively, used in the family – form and usted is the respectful (NOT the formal form as nearly all Spanish classes and Spanish teachers teach).


As a former Spanish teacher, I would suggest that the use of usted can indicate a formal relationship between speaker and the person being addressed (which could also include respect), such as when a waiter addresses a customer, and can also show respect, without formality being a factor, such as when a child addresses an older relative using usted.


mazbook1


Nov 23, 2010, 1:06 PM

Post #19 of 30 (6909 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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"As a former Spanish teacher, I would suggest that the use of usted can indicate a formal relationship between speaker and the person being addressed (which could also include respect), such as when a waiter addresses a customer, and can also show respect, without formality being a factor, such as when a child addresses an older relative using usted."

La Isla, I would suggest that your statement would be a LOT more correct as follows:

"As a former Spanish teacher, I would suggest that the use of usted can indicate a formal relationship between speaker and the person being addressed (which would indicate respect), such as when a waiter addresses a customer and can also show respect, without formality being a factor, such as when addressing ANYONE with whom you do not have a close, personal relationship (children normally use usted with any elder who is not a part of the immediate family)."

That's why I say that the large majority of Spanish teachers get it wrong.

I think the waiter - customer interaction is a bit overstated, since at least in Sinaloa, the waiter would be addressed as usted by the customer (who summoned him by calling ¡joven! lol). The formal-respectful is better described as when you address any government functionary or anyone of superior position, e.g., your boss, his boss, your landlord, the mayor, the committee chairperson, etc., etc.


Bennie García

Nov 23, 2010, 1:15 PM

Post #20 of 30 (6903 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Where are the "rolls eyes" emoticons when you need them?


Peter


Nov 23, 2010, 2:11 PM

Post #21 of 30 (6898 views)

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Re: [tashby] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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The casual version among friends is ¿Qué onda?.


Same here, as often as not. (Jalisco)


To take this a step further afield and like the "just for the helluvit" answer, besides for the ¿Qué onda?, which I interpret more literally as "What's the vibes?", a particular group of friends still often favor ¿Qué pedo? I should mention that these guys are a group of friends and brothers that grew up together here in Morelia and are now all in their 40's and 50's and still call each other by their childhood nicknames like Loco and Payaso.

My close friend in California that first brought me to Morelia introduced me to all of them and I have never been given the discourtesy of being spoken to formally by any of them. They were also the first ones to clue me into using a "chamarra" instead of "chaqueta" if I got cold, in order to avoid any snickering.

¿Como está is about as formal as I usually hear, "usted" is something I hear very rarely. Though I have heard it spoken by older people I think with that bunch it is more likely to come from some señorita to sound "icy" and as a signal to back-off or to change their approach and try again.


Bennie García

Nov 23, 2010, 3:16 PM

Post #22 of 30 (6888 views)

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Re: [Peter] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Onda stems from waves. Like in cold wave, radio wave etc. It has a number of slang (and non-slang) uses.

There is a radio station in Guadalajara (and it may be syndicated) called "La Buena Onda" which is a nice example of a double meaning.

It can also be used to describe someone that is a good/cool guy or person....ese guey es buena onda or the opposite la maestra es muy mala onda.

Mala onda will also be heard to describe a bad situation or something bad that happened....Oiste lo que pasó a Juan? Si! Que mala onda!

Pedo, apart from other distinct meanings, can be used similarly as onda but is slighty vulgar.

It is best to really understand words such as pedo before using them to avoid offending someone. There are some nuances that can change its meaning from jocular to insulting or harsh sounding.


Peter


Nov 23, 2010, 4:27 PM

Post #23 of 30 (6877 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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I was avoiding defining pedo by its more distinct meaning because it is slightly vulgar, but my friends are real gassers anyway and use it for that reason. Bien pedo is commonly used for being stinking drunk. I know you know these but this discussion is for general information for all readers.
 
That all was an aside from the topic anyhow, my main point on-topic was that use of the formal usted could also be used to keep a distance, or prevent excessive familiarity, as well as its polite uses.
Not sure how many folks knew of the double-connotation of chaqueta either.


La Isla


Nov 23, 2010, 6:43 PM

Post #24 of 30 (6866 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Where are the "rolls eyes" emoticons when you need them?


Thanks for reading my mind, Bennie. : )


eyePad

Nov 24, 2010, 8:21 AM

Post #25 of 30 (6848 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Agree with most of the comments. But the idea of not using Usted or Mexicans not using one form or the other as a special version of regional Spanish is incorrect. For anyone who speaks conversational spanish with native speakers and is at that level, the use of Usted and Tu is almost always intuitive and instinctual without any hesitation and virtually without error. The times that is not the case are almost coreographed anyways. On the Mexican altiplano Usted I think if anything is more common than in Spain.
I always thought of "que onda" as "what wavelength are you on?" I believe it comes from the 1960s or thereabouts.


Peter


Nov 24, 2010, 10:09 AM

Post #26 of 30 (2082 views)

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Re: [eyePad] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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I always thought of "que onda" as "what wavelength are you on?" I believe it comes from the 1960s or thereabouts.

That goes with my interpretation of it being similar to asking "How's the vibes?" Waves, vibrations, undulations all amount to about the same thing, it's just that we choose different words for similar expressions. Some similar sounding words take on a different meaning as applied to similar concepts.

I'm not sure that in Spanish vibración would have a similar connotation as onda, much like an English-speaking 60's hipster would not say he's "picking up good undulations."


Bennie García

Nov 24, 2010, 11:41 AM

Post #27 of 30 (2074 views)

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Re: [Peter] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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[reply I'm not sure that in Spanish vibración would have a similar connotation as onda, much like an English-speaking 60's hipster would not say he's "picking up good undulations."


There are many other colloquial uses for the word onda. like agarrar la onda roughly "to get with it" , se me(te) fue la onda which means losing your train of thought or spacing out on something and there are lots of others.

As far as "vibrations" I think it is more common to hear the terms buenas vibras or malas vibras which are literally good or bad "vibes".


raferguson


Nov 24, 2010, 1:41 PM

Post #28 of 30 (2064 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Let me thank everybody for their input. It produced a larger discussion than I expected.

My take away is that I am going to switch 100% from "Como esta usted?" to "como esta". I agree that the word usted is not commonly used as part of that expression.

I prefer to speak formally, but I don't want to be completely out of step with common usage.

Thanks,
Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Bennie García

Nov 24, 2010, 2:02 PM

Post #29 of 30 (2064 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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100% of the time? Never say never. Yes there are many times when it is unnecessary and redundant but that doesn't mean it isn't commonly used. There are times when usted should be articulated. There will be times it is needed to eliminate ambiguity. Other times when you are not all that familiar with a person. For example I wouldn't say to a judge "Como está, Sr. Juez". That seems to infer familiarity that probably doesn't exist. IMO include usted in that example or similar situations. If your goal is to achieve a higher level of Spanish then learning the nuances of certain usage is something one should aspire to.


raferguson


Nov 25, 2010, 8:23 AM

Post #30 of 30 (2036 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Como estas? vs. Como esta? vs. Como esta usted?

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Never say never. I can imagine using usted if the situation was especially formal, maybe "¿Como esta usted, Senador Martinez?", which I think was your point.

So maybe a 100% switch is going to far. Good point.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com
 
 
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