[LMB] OT: Spanish

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Wed Dec 15 04:02:42 GMT 2021


On Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 05:19:02PM -0500, Sylvia McIvers wrote:

> What is the difference between these two lines?
> 
(2)  ¿Tienes una cartera? Do you have a purse?
(3)  ¿Usted tiene una cartera? Do you have a purse?

Grammatically, (2) is second person, and (3) is third person. 'tiene' by
itself means "he/she/it has". But for historical reasons, related to
addressing superiors as "your honor" (condensed into 'usted'), it is
also a formal/polite second person in use, vs. the more intimate
grammatical 2nd person.

AIUI in much of Latin America the 2nd personal plural is hardly ever
used, and you would use "ustedes tienen" even with friends or family.

Duolingo does have grammar, but often buried in Tips in unexpected
places.  It also has some grammar-focused lessons, just one circle on a
row, and with only 2 levels, names like 'Pres' 'Past' 'Subj'.  But it's
probably best to study formal grammar somewhere else, and use Duo for
practice.

-xx- Damien X-)


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