General Question

sarahsugs's avatar

What is the proper way to let a Spanish speaker know it's okay to use informal pronouns?

Asked by sarahsugs (2893points) February 29th, 2012

My daughter’s nanny is from Peru, and we speak to each other in Spanish. She always uses the formal pronouns and conjugations (Usted, etc.) when speaking to me. I would like to tell her that it’s okay to use the informal, but I don’t know the proper way to do so. What is the proper etiquette on this?

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12 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

Just tell her, “por favor, no tienes que usar usted conmigo, prefiero tú.” Not sure if that is the “right” way, but she will know what you mean. If your Spanish isn’t great it won’t matter if it isn’t perfect.

Pandora's avatar

It can be more about keeping a reminder for herself that she works for you. I’ve had jobs where my boss will insist I speak to him or her informally by using their first name. But the moment something goes wrong and they feel they have to talk to me as an employee, it becomes awkward. Its just easier to have a boss tell you things than a friend. You can ask her to use tu since you both are familiar with each other. Its generally used for someone older or an aquaintance. If you are not older than she will understand. You can also ask she address you as Senora and then followed by your first name. So if your name is Ann, it would be Mrs. Ann. She may feel alright with that.

JLeslie's avatar

Or, maybe you could just say, “preferio tú en vez de usted. No tienes que estar tan formal.”

Aqua's avatar

You could just tell her, “Puedes tutearme.” That’s what my Spanish professor would tell us when we talked to her in usted.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora Spanish speaking people do that? Señora and first name? I have never heard it done before.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora I think the OP is from California, I doubt she would be comfortable with Señora Firstname anyway. But, I’ve been wrong before. Plus, it won’t solve the problem, she might still use usted even if she uses Señora Firstname, unless corrected to use the informal conjugation for verbs.

We need Bob_. I’ll send the Q to him.

bob_'s avatar

Did I hear I was needed?

@Pandora, @Aqua and @JLeslie are all right. I’d say it “me puedes hablar de tú”.

Then again, I’m not sure about Peruvians, but some people from South America use “usted” instead of “tú” even in informal situations.

sarahsugs's avatar

Thanks all, I will give it a go. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@sarahsugs Let us know how it goes. By the way @bob_‘s first Language is Spanish in case you did not know, and lives in Mexico.

Rock2's avatar

What bad thing will happen if you just correct them as they say them wrong?

JLeslie's avatar

@bob_ So, is it true Latin Americans use Señora Firstname? I have never heard a Spanish speaking person use it. Do they say Señorita Firstname? Like they would in the American south. We would not use Mrs. Firstname even here, it would be Miss or Ms.

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