Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Roman, Mar 8, 2007.
Why doesn't Latin America use the vosotros form?
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Not sure. Was it because the ustedes form already became sufficient for common usage?
Latin America isn't Spain.
Vosotros seems archaic, yet colonies are supposed to speak more archaic forms of the mother tongue. What gives?
We know, draqon.
When you say that colonies speak more archaic forms of the mother tongue, the example that comes to mind is the Southern U.S. as compared with other places - I hear that Southern speech preserves some of the older English characteristics.
It's a common phenomenon for speakers of a language to search for ever-more formal ways of saying "you." It's also common for the second person singular and plural to be muddled together. The results can be confusing.
The most well-known result is for the second-person plural to be used as a formal form of the singular. French and the Slavic languages still hang onto the original Indo-European t* for informal singular and use the plural v* for formal singular and all plural.
The Germanic languages lost v*; English replaced it with "ye," and in a collapse of grammar its accusative form, "you" became the nominative for both singular and plural, relegating "thou" to the liturgy. Interestingly the Quakers participated in the collapse but retained the accusative singular: "thee" instead of the nominative "thou."
In many other Indo-European languages the t* is preserved for familiar singular but inventive forms have been developed for the formal. Typical is a transitionary period in which some phrase like "your grace" is created for the singular, then for expediency that mouthful it is simply referred to as "it." Or it may be even weirder and come out as "they": German Sie, which is formal singular and essentially all plural. This is a fairly modern development since Yiddish retains the original second-person plural Ihr as formal singular and all plural "you." (The Germanic languages seem to have gone in separate directions developing replacements for the lost v*.)
Yes, I'm getting to vosotros, that compulsive expansion of Latin vos. In Iberia, "your grace" (vuestra merced in modern Spanish and vossa mercê in modern Portuguese) was smashed into a contraction: usted in modern Spanish and você in modern Portuguese, which takes third-person singular conjugations. In Spanish that paradigm has endured with a twist: ustedes is a formal second-person plural, taking third-person plural conjugations. This provided a sense of parity and comfort and made possible the nearly complete retirement of "vosotros," which shows up only in poetry, the liturgy, and a few dialects.
But if you want to be amazed, let's continue looking at Portuguese. Somewhere along the way, você and vocês lost their feeling of formality and became the familiar singular and plural, pushing tu and vos into the ghetto of poetry, liturgy and dialect. The vacuum was filled with a new construct for formal "you": "the gentleman," "the lady," "the gentlemen," "the ladies": o senhor, a senhora, a senhorita, os senhores, as senhoras, as senhoritas, which take third-person singular or plural conjugations.
Yes, but this force bears on all remote communities, even in the homeland. Look to the backwoods of England and Italy for some archaic forms. And conversely, as those backwoods gain their own critical mass, their language begins to evolve its own modernisms, out of step with the mother country. In the American South, the loss of the second person plural was so keenly felt that they began using "you all" (I don't know if they invented that or dug it out of provincial English)... which promptly followed the well-worn path and is now both singular and plural. In a few more remote places in the South, the local plural form " 'mongst ye" can still be heard.
I was told by my German teacher in high school, who also teaches Spanish because of cuts to the school budget (thanks to Oregon voters Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!), that vosotros is used in Spain between romantic or married couples as a very personal pronoun of endearment. I'm not sure what that makes tu, but it's interesting. Is this true?
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I'll go head and tell you straight up, I feel your pain on the cutbacks, secondly, I'm guessing that since your teacher is primarily concerned with German, there knowledge of Spanish is, well, a little misinformed. Let me be the one to correct that little blunder of there's. Vosotros is y'all, all around. Whether the people (key word people) your talking too are young, old, acuaintanses, or complete strangers, it don't matter. Basically, here's how it work's, Hola como estas (tu)? one person, hola como estáis (vosotros), two or more people. That's the skinny. And a little extra bit, vosotras is for all women, just when refering to women. Not fair that they get there own form, and us guys don't.
Anyways, that's about it.
Hope that clears it up.
An one more thing, Germans du vs ihr vs sie, won't help with castellano. Just a heads up.
Yeah...vosotros and nosotros...I thought, were pretty much the same, but vosotros is still only current in Spain.
And since I'm in Texas...they are just not going to teach us that.
I too heard nosotros referred to as y'all.
I'm pretty sure we didn't have the same professor.
Just like to add that there are many un español in Texas (meaning you're likely to find one that does teach it), so i'd say you're safe either way. Realy, it's a toss up between castellano español y castellano mejicano. Go with what you like.
Nosotros is we if anyone says something different they're wrong.
Vosotros is y'all and ustedes is all of you (if you can view all of you as more formal then y'all)
Ah, I sit corrected.
Trust me, I mangle Spanish for the amusement of the cleaning crew.
Separate names with a comma.