May 1, 2010, 3:43 PM
Post #17 of 32
Maesonna, First, you must take into account the two variations of mande. The first, the questioning variation, i.e., ¿Mande?, is used in place of ¿Cómo?, which many of us have been taught was the most polite way to say, "Please repeat that." or ¿Qué?, which is definitely out-of-bounds except between friends. ¿Perdón? can be used, but I have never heard it used in this situation by a native-Spanish speaker in my part of México, although that non-use could be purely regional.
This use of mande, pretty well cuts across all class and regional differences in México, although there are those native-Spanish speakers who never seem to use it. I have never heard my wife, who comes from a working class family from northern Sinaloa, use it in the 10 years we have been together, even when she is conversing with friends who use it often. Nor have I heard any of her direct family (my suegros or cuñados) use it. This particular usage may have originated as a servile usage in México, but today seems to be more-or-less universally acceptable as a normal alternative to ¿Cómo?
But then, there is the other variation of mande; the one that I always write as ¡Mande! This usage definitely originates from the original, servile use of the word, and the usage definitely varies with the "class" or education of the speaker or the speaker's family. It may also be regional, but I hear it quite often from less educated folks here in Sinaloa, so I have no basis for comparison with other regions of México. I have never heard it used as replacement for Bueno, when answering the telephone here in Mazatlán, although I understand that it is common in some other regions of México. BUT, I have heard it frequently when I answer the telephone and someone asks for an employee. The first word out of that employee's mouth when taking the phone is, more often than not, ¡Mande!, something which seems to be a more servile statement than the commonly heard, ¡Dígame! Although both are unmistakably the polite (Usted), respectful imperative, the latter is definitely NOT servile, whereas ¡Mande! is, or at least is considered to be by a certain "class" of well-educated Mexicans.
(This post was edited by mazbook1 on May 1, 2010, 6:43 PM)