Re: Gender Bias in Pronouns

Subject: Re: Gender Bias in Pronouns
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 20:41:28 -0700

On Tue, 12 Dec 1995, Craig Patchett wrote:

> >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
> respect.

My Hispanic friends here in New Mexico tell me that the "tu" form is only
used toward people of lesser status that the speaker. This may be one of
rank or maturity. Thus an adult might address a child using "tu," but a
child should not use "tu" in addressing an adult as it would be lacking
in respect. When I studied Spanish in school, umpteen years ago, we were
taught to use "usted" as the nearest equivalent to our "you."

RoMay Sitze, rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu

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