Re: Gender Bias in Pronouns

Subject: Re: Gender Bias in Pronouns
From: Craig Patchett <PappasWest -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 01:01:41 -0500

>> That's funny... in my head, I always considered "usted" as similar
>> to "one," as in "How goes one?" or "Would one care for some coffee?"
>> Is there a feminine version of "usted?" I can't remember the
>> little Spanish I learned so long ago.

>Okay, I'm straying WAY out of my area of expertise here, but I thought
>"usted" and "ustedes" have a literal meaning that is something like "your
>grace" or something and came from addressing royalty. HEY! We got any
>hispanic speakers out there can make ruling on this?

From the 8 years of Spanish I've taken, I remember usted and ustedes to
be gender-free, unfamiliar versions of "you" in the singular and plural,
respectively. Tu, on the other hand, is the familiar version in the
singular. I don't recall if there is a plural version of tu. In any case,
none of these address the gender-free issue any better than our own "you"
does, although they do have the benefit of allowing you to differentiate
between someone who is familiar and someone who you would treat with more

Hope this helps.

Craig Patchett

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