Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:42 PM
Hari Seldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 13,227

Meaning of Spanish "su"


I ate at a Mexican restaurant tonight and they had a sign posted "Benvenidos: mi casa es su casa" I don't know any Spanish, but the phrase clearly means: "my house is your house". But I began to wonder about the word "su". I guess the easiest way to pose my question is to ask whether the accurate French translation is "ma maison est ta maison" or "ma maison est votre maison". Or am I missing something?
  #2  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:52 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4,042
Isn't this analogous to addressing a single German person as 'Sie'? It's just formality/politeness.

ETA so, votre

Last edited by DPRK; 12-03-2019 at 10:53 PM.
  #3  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:56 PM
Nava is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 43,053
In this case, the second.

Su is the possessive for the third person (singular object, any genders; for multiple objects, sus). In Spanish, respectful forms of the second person behave grammatically as if they were third persons. If you and I were talking about, say, Dave's recipe or Hannah's recipe, or one recipe they developed between the two of them, it would be su receta as well; if more than one recipe, sus recetas.

Last edited by Nava; 12-03-2019 at 11:00 PM.
  #4  
Old 12-03-2019, 11:05 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,608
More familiarly, you could say "Mi casa es tu casa," which is equivalent to the first form in French. Both are used.

I see advertising slogans using both informal (tu) and formal (su) forms in addressing the public. My impression is that the former is more common.
  #5  
Old 12-04-2019, 12:32 AM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
In this case, the second.

Su is the possessive for the third person (singular object, any genders; for multiple objects, sus). In Spanish, respectful forms of the second person behave grammatically as if they were third persons. If you and I were talking about, say, Dave's recipe or Hannah's recipe, or one recipe they developed between the two of them, it would be su receta as well; if more than one recipe, sus recetas.
As I understand it, the formal is third person "usted" rather than "tu" - developed along the same lines as the old English "My lord"

"Yes, my lord."

"Does my lord want his meal prepared?" when addressing a more important person, is more formal/respectful than "You want your meal prepared?" Notice then all references formally to a 2nd person are actually in 3rd person.

So "Usted quiera su comida?" (Hey, it's been 40 years since I studied Spanish...) compared with "Tu quieras tu comida?"

I'm sure a real Spanglophone can correct this...?

Last edited by md2000; 12-04-2019 at 12:33 AM.
  #6  
Old 12-04-2019, 05:46 AM
JKellyMap's Avatar
JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 9,861
Right. More specifically, it was originally “does your mercy want his meal prepared?”

“vuestra merced” evolved into “usted.”
  #7  
Old 12-04-2019, 05:47 AM
Pardel-Lux's Avatar
Pardel-Lux is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Berlin
Posts: 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
As I understand it, the formal is third person "usted" rather than "tu" - developed along the same lines as the old English "My lord"

"Yes, my lord."

"Does my lord want his meal prepared?" when addressing a more important person, is more formal/respectful than "You want your meal prepared?" Notice then all references formally to a 2nd person are actually in 3rd person.

So "Usted quiera su comida?" (Hey, it's been 40 years since I studied Spanish...) compared with "Tu quieras tu comida?"

I'm sure a real Spanglophone can correct this...?
I can try: su and suyo are formal and respectful, like the use of the third person you mentioned. Tu and tuyo are informal. There is no equivalence in English, but there is in French (ta maison and votre maison, in the example of the house), in German (Dein and Ihr), and many other languages.
In proper Spanish your questions would read: ¿Desea usted su comida? and ¿quieres la comida? (the being implicit by the verb conjugation, it does not need to be said and mostly is not. I think the posh term to denote this laziness of speech is parsimony).
__________________
'Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.' - Charles Darwin.
I am living proof of that.
  #8  
Old 12-04-2019, 05:53 AM
Pardel-Lux's Avatar
Pardel-Lux is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Berlin
Posts: 258
Just in case you wondered: tu means yours, means you: the accent, usually not used in monosylabic words, is necessary to make this difference. In the questions it is not necesary to state that the food is yours as you are getting it served, it is obvious and thus implicit. No tu needed. You can say su though in the more respectful setting, it reiterates the deference.
__________________
'Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.' - Charles Darwin.
I am living proof of that.
  #9  
Old 12-04-2019, 07:02 AM
Hari Seldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 13,227
Thanks. This has been interesting. So it is a bit like German using the 3rd person for the respectful form. That is what I didn't understand and why I raised the question.
  #10  
Old 12-04-2019, 10:04 AM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,229
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
Right. More specifically, it was originally “does your mercy want his meal prepared?”

“vuestra merced” evolved into “usted.”
Thanks. I've learned my one thing for the day now, I can go home…
  #11  
Old 12-04-2019, 10:21 AM
ThelmaLou's Avatar
ThelmaLou is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Neither here nor there
Posts: 16,870
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Thanks. I've learned my one thing for the day now, I can go home…
That was very informative! I like learning things like that.

I'm going back to bed.
__________________
“Master, I’ve discovered the answer! Knock and the door will be opened to you.” The master replied, “Who said the door was closed?”
  #12  
Old 12-04-2019, 11:30 AM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,608
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
As I understand it, the formal is third person "usted" rather than "tu" - developed along the same lines as the old English "My lord"

"Yes, my lord."
Likewise in Portuguese the formal "you" is third-person: o senhor/a senhora = sir/madam.
  #13  
Old 12-04-2019, 01:18 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4,042
Just don't try it in latin: domus mea domus tua esto.
  #14  
Old 12-04-2019, 01:20 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,229
"Romanus eunt domum"?
  #15  
Old 12-04-2019, 10:09 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 4,042
I mean that in classical Latin, unlike French, Spanish, etc., AFAIK you should always address one person as 'tu', and more than one person as 'vos'.

Last edited by DPRK; 12-04-2019 at 10:10 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:07 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017