Jun 15, 2006, 11:03 PM
Post #8 of 10
I agree with DoDi, I was holding my opinion as I know my spanish is sub-par. My cultural awareness is pretty good though and in situations that I would expect a first name in the US, I do not think tu or a first name would fly well in Mexico.
My parents generation, depression/WWII, were more formal and my mother would never allow a child or friend my age to call her by her first name. In fact, allowing her first name to be used was something that only happened with her peers and then only after a period of acquaintence. I cannot recall her ever having an employee that called her by her first name no matter how long they had worked for her. She was insulted when someone presumed to use it.
My generation, hippies most of us, were quick to use first names and that change has spread throughout US society. It is rare when asking someone's name for them to respond with Mr/Mrs XX.
My feel is that Mexico is somewhere in between, not as formal as my parents generation (except of course those in Mexico who are of the same generation) but not as informal as the US. It seems to me that young people in Mexico are very quick to tutear and like young people in the US do not require a lot of formality. Those of my generation in Mexico are more relaxed than their parents but haven't given up the formal address.
I tend to use Ud always until someone invites me to use tu mainly because I don't think I am good at deciding on the fly so it is easier. A hard one for me is someone who works for me, a maid or gardner. I don't want to presume on the power difference in the relationship so I use Ud and generally their first name. I have had a maid tell me to use tu but then I noticed that she was still using Ud with me. I didn't know what to do. Still don't. Or... I have a gardner here in the US that is from Mexico. He speaks excellent english but I often speak spanish to him because I need the practice. So, I speak spanish, he answers in english and thus I have no clue on which to use. We've now got a little more personal relationship in that he tells me about his family and his boyfriend and I talk about our travels in Mexico. Now, I really don't know which to use. I do know the answer to this, I should just ask him. My feeling about asking though is that the cultural thing comes into play and they will give you the answer that seems the most polite so I would expect that, if asked, most would say to use tu.
Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán