BUENAS TARDES vs BUENAS NOCHES
Replies: 54 - Last Post: Sep 9, 2009 7:48 PM Last Post By: RichTX1
Sep 2, 2009 8:09 AM
BUENAS TARDES vs BUENAS NOCHESWould someone who's really familar with the culture of Mexico please tell me at what time of day do you switch from the greeting "buenas tardes" to "buenas noches"? I try to use my schoolbook Spanish as much as possible when I travel but this has always confused me. I never know which to use in the early evening. Also, I'm never quite sure what to call an adult woman whose marital status I don't know - senora or senorita. I'm sure there must be some age at which all woman get called "senora" regardless just as a matter of respect.
Sep 2, 2009 8:33 AM
Sep 2, 2009 9:00 AM
Sep 2, 2009 9:30 AM
Sep 2, 2009 9:57 AM
4Okay, as most here know, I am a complete idiot at speaking Espanol. This spring I was corrected by a fellow in Parral when I said "buenas tardes", he quickly responded by correcting with "tarde".
So am I speaking in multiples(which I thought I was) when saying "tarde", thereby wishing someone a "goods afternoons", which sounds silly of course.
Yeesh, wish I had the money for one of those great language schools, say in Oaxaca or Puebla....
Sep 2, 2009 10:11 AM
Sep 2, 2009 11:58 AM
Sep 2, 2009 1:11 PM
7The "Buenos Tardes" (plural) vs "Buen Tarde" (singular) usage varies among Mexicans as it does in other Latin American countries, so I never worry about getting it right. To add even more confusion, in parts of Central America (Guatemala, for instance) saying "Buenos Dias" seems to imply you're going to stop and talk. Instead, if passing on the street or path, many people just say "Adios."
About the timing of dias, tardes, or noche: I and many Mexicans I'm talking to mess up because we don't know exactly what time it is and correct each other, especially around noon. I find it an excellent way to break the ice and talk to people. If they correct me, I say "Ya tardes?" 'Afternoon already?' and jump in with whatever chit-chat comes up. It's especially fun when they're correcting me, only to find out I can speak Spanish well. I find this happens more with upper class people or official types.
I usually use 'Señora' if she is my age or older, ie middle age, unless I'm trying to be cute.
The one phrase I'm really glad I learned early on is the 'good bye' saying: "Que les vaya bien" or singular "Que le vaya bien" which roughly translated means 'That it goes well for you.' I haven't heard this much outside Mexico, but it is also used in parts of South America.
One of the many beautiful things about Spanish speakers is how generous and forgiving they are about their language. Put your energy in trying to remember common phrases instead of speaking perfectly. As the comments above imply, sincerity is more important than correctness.
Sep 2, 2009 1:30 PM
Sep 2, 2009 2:33 PM
9Where I live (in Guanajuato), if I say "Buenas tardes" at 11:45, I may be corrected. It's "Buenas tardes" until sundown, which may be 8 p.m. in the summer. A señorita is a señorita as long as she's a virgin; if you call an 80-year-old unmarried lady "señora," you're insulting her. I'm in my 70s and the woman behind the desk at my hotel in Mexico City calls me señorita.
Sep 2, 2009 3:24 PM
10With all due respectu Luisa, I think the hotel clerk is just trying to make you feel young. I believe it is more respectful and polite to call an older person señora. I have called an older person señorita and they smile or laugh, but in a very polite way with no insult intended as they appreciate the fact you at least are trying to speak Spanish. Just my opion, Edmund
Sep 2, 2009 3:58 PM
11I also have used the "buenas.." greeting on occasion and other times gotten the dias and tardes wrong. Often actually. It's no big deal. I really don't use the "noches" much except when departing.
I have witnessed older "señoritas" quickly correct someone that calls them "señora" but no harm done if quickly followed by a "perdon!" . I do agree that a "senorita" greeting can often be a case of flattery. My wife is often addressed as "señorita", to which she replies "gracias por lo de señorita" or something like that. Me, they just call "viejo".
Sep 2, 2009 4:26 PM
Sep 2, 2009 4:27 PM
13Whether a Mexican woman is Señora or Señorita depends solely upon her marital status. If she's married (or widowed) she is correctly addressed as Señora. If you don't know with absolute certainty the only polite way to address ANY woman in México is Señorita .
No louiem and aj508, it is not flattery, it is correct Mexican polite Spanish. Señora vs Señorita has absolutely nothing to do with respect. Respect is shown by using Usted or the Usted verb conjugation rather than tu and the tu verb conjugations.
Sep 2, 2009 5:09 PM
14I actually agree with all the opinions about the señora/señorita discussion, even the contradictory ones. I have witnessed many native Mexican Spanish speakers use either señora or señorita in a variety of situations.
Isn't the most important issue one of context and intent? The word 'gringo' is a good example. It can be derogatory, neutral, or affectionate. In the US, another example might be the 'N' word.
Mazgringo's point about usted is an important one. One of my hardest Spanish habits to break was to use tu with a good friend, my 'adopted' Mexican grandmother, when after a few years of usted she begged me to use tu. She said it made her feel old.
It's all so situational, you pay attention to what native speakers are doing and try your best.
Edited by: bajaboojum
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