dare del lei e dare del tu in inglese

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by domedis, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. domedis New Member

    Salve e scusate se sono sempre così ignorante.
    Come si stabilisce se due persone che parlano in lingua inglese si danno del tu oppure del voi? faccio questa domanda perchè non so neanche se esistono nella lingua inglese. per piacere delucidatemi.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2009
  2. effeundici Senior Member

    Italian - Tuscany
    Mi risulta che la distinzione esistesse in passato ma ormai sia del tutto persa
  3. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    Si puo' distinguire solo se si chiamano tra loro usando il nome o il cognome.

    La maniera "rispettosa" di interpellare una persona e' di usare il titolo (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Doctor etc) seguito dal cognome ("Good morning Doctor Smith, how are you")
    La maniera "amichevole" e' di usare il nome ("Hi Joe, how you doing")

    Come in Italia si dice "posso darti del tu" in inglese si dice "can I call you Marco/Joe?" oppure "please call me Marco/Joe"
  4. federicoft Senior Member

    In realtà se ci si pensa in italiano in tutta una serie di rapporti si usa il lei con persone che si chiamano per nome; così come il tu con persone che si chiamano per cognome.

    Penso che la risposta più semplice da dare sia che no, in inglese semplicemente non esiste tale distinzione.
  5. Odysseus54

    Odysseus54 Mod huc mod illuc

    In the hills of Marche
    Italian - Marche
    Non si stabilisce perche' non si usano ne' tu ne lei, ma 'you', sempre la seconda persona singolare.

    Se invece vuoi stabilire il grado di familiarita', quello si stabilisce a) dall'uso di termini tipo 'sir', 'mister president', 'doctor', 'officer' b) dall'uso di Mr xxx invece del nome proprio ( occhio pero' che quando senti due che si stanno chiamando per nome non e' detto che siano in termini di amicizia stretta ) c) dal tono generale della conversazione , piu' o meno casuale.

    Un'altra cosa e' che , perlomeno qui in America, la gente modula il grado di familiarita' con la stessa persona, introducendo per esempio un 'sir', per poi passare al nome proprio, per poi ritornare al 'sir', a seconda del contesto, magari nel giro di dieci minuti.

    Anche in Italia, d'altra parte, si puo' essere molto formali col tu e molto informali con il lei, no ?

    It seems to me , though, that being on first name terms does not necessarily mean having the same degree of familiarity as the 'tu' in Italian , or am I wrong ?

    I am in first name terms , in business, with people vastly more rich and famous than yours truly, and I don't think for a second that my calling them Chuck or Abe makes them any closer to me than if I was addressing them as 'lei' or 'Sua Eccellenza'.

    I must say that in Italy now things are a lot different than they were 20 years ago - going from "lei" to "tu" was a decision and it meant something. Now they just go for the "tu". So, perhaps, it's not that different after all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2013
  6. effeundici Senior Member

    Italian - Tuscany
    I've just checked that in old English it was like this:

    Ye : Voi
    Thou : Tu
    You : Lei

    Do you confirm?
  7. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Maybe middle English, I don't think Old English would have been that similar to today's English but I'll double check.
  8. effeundici Senior Member

    Italian - Tuscany
    Oh, I used old without even knowing there was a middle English.

    I simply meant English of the past
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Oh right, then yes, you're correct:)

    There are different stages of English...

    Old English:Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum; Si þin nama gehalgod to becume þin rice gewurþe ðin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice

    Middle English:Oure fadir that art in heuenes, halewid be thi name; thi kyndoom come to; be thi wille don in erthe as in heuene: gyue to us this dai oure breed ouer othir substaunce; and forgyue to us oure dettis, as we forgyuen to oure gettouris; and lede us not in to temptacioun, but delyuere us fro yuel.

    Early Modern English:Our Father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy Name.Thy kingdome come. Thy will be done euen in earth, as it is in heauen.Giue vs this day our daily bread.And forgiue vs our debts, as we also forgiue our debters.And lead vs not into tentation, but deliuer vs from euill: for thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glory for euer. Amen.

    Late Modern English:Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Just so you can see how different "Old" English is from the later versions, so like I said before, what you posted as older formality existed in the earlier versions, but not old enough to be 'Old English'..
  10. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Actually, my understanding is this:

    Old English distinguished singular and plural, but not formal and informal.
    Singular: þu,[θuː] (nominative); þe (accusative/dative); þin (genitive)
    Plural: ge ([jeː]), eow, eower
    Starting in Middle English and continuing into Early Modern English, the plural ge, which became ye, began to be used with people of equal rank or higher, while the singular þu/þe/þin, which became thou/thee/thy (thine), was used with people of lower rank or with familiar/intimate friends. This is basically exactly like tu and vous (which is also both plural and formal singular) in French, which was probably the catalyst for birth of the phenomenon in English.

    Eventually (Late) Modern/Present-day English dropped thou altogether in favor of ye, which had became you, and which now must do double duty for both singular and plural; and as a result, we no longer distinguish between formal and informal with our pronouns.
  11. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    You are quite right, but isn't the same in Italy, where the "tu" can be used with different degrees of familiarity.
  12. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Yep, same in Old Norse, Old English's brother. The formality (in English only) didn't come in until much later on.

    This is like what Italian was like in the 19th century wasn't it? The 'voi' (vous) form used as a singular formal address, then got outdated, but it's still underway in French?:)
    (Let me know if I'm wrong on that last point, I'm not sure)
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  13. Tiogue New Member

    I think for an American the distinction has a lot to do with the situation. In any sort of family situation today (e.g., meeting the parents, siblings, etc. of a friend or a fiance) you would immediately be on a first-name basis and they would expect of you, an Italian, to use "tu" (if you were speaking Italian). The same would hold true with school friends or any other informal social situations.

    But in almost all business situations, even if first names were being used, the tone would be more formal and distant, and I believe in Italian one would continue to use "lei" unless things definitely started to warm up (e.g., the business contact took you out for a drink, or to an office party, or to meet his family).
  14. federicoft Senior Member

    Meeting (well, at least for the first time) your girlfriend's parents is the kind of situation I would expect being on first name terms and using the formal "lei". It's likely you will quickly switch to "tu", but this could take some time, or never happen at all.

    Likewise, it's not uncommon to call schoolfellows by surname, of course using the informal "tu".

    So I don't really know... I think in English there's just no equivalent of the tu/lei relationship.
  15. Tiogue New Member

    This is so true. One situation in America where this kind of change is particularly disturbing is in hospitals, where all patients, including the elderly, are addressed by their first name by doctors, nurses, and aides, and it seems so condescending and disrespectful to me when these people were accustomed all their lives to being called "Mr." or "Mrs." by strangers.
  16. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    I would have never thought people (especially the elderly) would be called by their first names in hospitals. That is a bit disturbing.

    However, if you want to get a good idea of how people interact in varying degrees of formality in English, just watch any sitcom dealing with police, lawyers, or doctors.

    You'll notice that even though they are all friends on the show and have been working together for years, they still call each other Dr. A, Detective B, District Attorney C or Ms. C, etc. and not by their first names. This is similar to using Lei with a coworker who you've been working with for years.

    Every now and then, for example if something dramatic happens in the show that--just for a moment!--brings two characters a little closer together, they might call each other on a first name basis.

    For example, the captain of the police force always calls a female detective Detective Smith (just an example). However, in the middle of the episode he sees that she is having some issues dealing with her case/her family/etc. and for a moment calls her by her first name, just for that one conversation, to comfort her and make her feel better. Then afterwards he returns to calling her Detective Smith.

    A similar thing happens in Italian. I've seen situations where Lei is used, but occasionally you switch to tu just for a moment, and then back to Lei. A friend of mine once had her purse stolen, so we went to the police. The policeman taking the report called her Lei for about 30 minutes, then at one point she started crying, so he switched to tu to console her, then once she regained her senses, he switched back to Lei.
  17. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I agree Brian, I don't think it's always about personal relationships but the context, if it's in a professional setting, the formalities usually will stay, though I wouldn't expect first-name-basis in a hospital setting..

    Well, I've been in hospitals a lot, and after a few days the nurses/doctors will come in and use the first name, in a friendly kind of way, but if they're leading around some trainee doctors I'd expect the formality (professional setting/context) of "Mr/Mrs.."

    Also it depends on if you're talking to or about the person, talking to collegues, I would talk about someone (first name basis) but if to an outsider, and I was maintaining a professional setting, I would refer to the person being talked about more formally.

    (did she get her purse back, brian?)
  18. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    Really, which hospital are you talking about?

    When I go to see my doctor the nurses call me by my first name and that is OK to me (as long as there is reciprocal respect) but during a long stay at the Alta Bates in Berkeley I have been always addressed as Mr.LastName, no matter how many times I told them "call me Joe"

    What does really annoys me is the use of the first name in fancy restaurants. At a diner, I would be offended if they won't call me "my dear" :) but when I go at a jacket and tie place, I require the use of the Mr and Mrs, no "dudes", "folks" or "guys" please...
  19. Phil9 Senior Member

    UK English
    I think equivalent Old/middle/ modern English terms are not relevant now. Now there is only 'you'. There are different ways of addressing people by using first names or surnames but there is only 'you'.
  20. paperino00

    paperino00 Senior Member

    Italiano - Italia
    Che confusione! :)
    per dire "Dammi del tu" si deve dire per forza "Call me [nome]" o si può dire in qualche altro modo?
    Se ho capito bene, per rispetto di una persona di usa "Mr. o Mrs." e che si usa comunque " you "


  21. Phil9 Senior Member

    UK English
  22. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Diciamo che in certi contesti, tipo per tradurre il dialogo di un film o libro (sopratutto dall'italiano in inglese, visto che in inglese si può sempre aggiungere un bel "Sir/Mrs."), la teoria del tuo professore va benissimo. Per esempio:

    A: Come posso aiutarLa(, Signore/Signora)? -- How may I help you, Sir/Ma'am* (oppure Mrs. / Miss)?
    B: Per favore, dammi del tu! -- Please, call me John/Mary/etc.

    *Lo stesso vale per Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, etc.

    Allora funziona abbastanza bene per rendere l'idea che B vuole che il rapporto sia più intimo / informale, che ci sia più confidenza; però in fondo non è la stessa cosa, sia chiaro! - perché l'inglese non ha più questo fenomeno del tu/lei!
  23. paperino00

    paperino00 Senior Member

    Italiano - Italia
    Quindi proprio non esistono altri modi per dirlo?
  24. federicoft Senior Member

    Posso chiedere perché hai la necessità di tradurre "dare del tu" in inglese? In inglese non esiste la distinzione tra tu e lei, quindi la domanda in sé non ha senso.

    Se si deve tradurre qualcosa e non si hanno altre scelte, sono d'accordo con Brian nel ritenere il "call me [nome]" la soluzione migliore.

    Ma da un punto di vista pragmatico ribadisco le perplessità di prima: il darsi del tu o del lei è una cosa che sta su un piano diverso dal chiamarsi per nome o per cognome. In italiano esistono entrambe le cose (si può benissimo dare del lei ad una persona che si chiama per nome e viceversa), in inglese no.
  25. rubuk

    rubuk Senior Member

    Ciao Paperino00. Mettiamola così, in Italia abbiamo delle sfumature che nell'inglese non si possono rendere. In inglese essendoci solo la possibilità di rivolgersi con You, per noi italiani rimane un problema. Bisogna adattarsi e partire sempre nel rapporto con l'estraneo usando "Sir, Mr. o Ms, Mrs., doctor, captain, sergeant, etc." e insistendo con il titolo, anche se la persona ci chiede di usare il nome proprio. Solo dopo ripetute richieste di passare al nome ci si può permettere di usarlo, facendo un primo passo e stabilendo così un maggiore grado di confidenza (meno formale). Attenzione però a non esagerare, bisogna comunque sempre controllare le proprie espressioni, evitando di usare i termini come pal, guy, dude e simili, che sono in uso solo fra persone da molto tempo in relazione informale e realmente in confidenza fra loro.

  26. Caroline35 Senior Member

    Ciao a tutti voi.Penso che l'unico modo di dare del lei,sia di usare : Mr/Mrs/Missis/Ms
  27. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Ciao, Caro.

    Sono d'accordo con quello che dici nel tuo ultimo post, ma credo che il problema non riguardi le diverse "forms of address" quanto piuttosto il modo per dire "dare del Lei"


    PS Scusa, "Missis" a quale sesso/stato civile si riferisce? A me sembra la pronuncia di "Mrs". Esiste "Misses ... ", per dire "Le signorine ...".
  28. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    Correct, Giorgio.
    Caro, I think you meant: Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms

    for others who may want to know:
    pronunciation of Mrs. - sounds like "misses"
    pronunciation of Ms - rhymes with "his" - final sound is /z/
  29. Green Day Senior Member

    Good evening guys, e scusate se rispolvero un vecchio thread!:D

    Sto traducendo, come alcuni di voi già sanno benissimo, un film in lingua originale. E proprio ora mi era sorto un dubbio, tra due dottori che stanno esaminando i pazienti di un ospedale psichiatrico c'è quello (un dottore) che ci lavora proprio e l'altra (una dottoressa) a cui lui quindi illustra i vari pazienti. Ora però sono arrivato ad una frase in cui il dottore, dopo averle illustrato la situazione, esclama: "No offense, Doctor. But these (si riferisce in particolare a tre pazienti deformi) are beyond your kind of therapy.", che io tradurrei con "Senza offesa, dottoressa. Ma loro vanno al di là del suo tipo di terapia.".

    Quel dottoressa a questo punto significa che il dottore sta dando alla dottoressa del Lei, giusto? E non del tu. Pertanto le frasi che mi avevate aiutato a tradurre precedentemente, ossia...

    1) They can and will grab you from their cells -> (Essi) possono e ti afferreranno dalle loro celle diverrebbe (Essi) possono e l'afferreranno dalle loro celle.
    2) Are you okay? chiede il dottore, e lei risponde: Yeah. That just surprised me. That's all -> Stai bene? etc. etc. diverrebbe Sta bene? etc. etc.

    Giusto? O ho saltato qualcosa?:rolleyes:
  30. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Direi di sì.
    His calling her Doctor keeps it formal.
  31. luway

    luway Senior Member

    Curiosità relativa al tema del thread in generale (non all'intervento odierno di GD):

    ...Si sente ancora usare la seguente battuta?

    A: (A si rivolge a B in tono formale, come stesse usando il Lei in italiano) -- (..........whatever.........., Mr. Ferrison)
    B: Per favore, dammi del tu! -- Oh please, call me John. Mr. Ferrison is my father!

    :rolleyes: :D

    ps: e, anche se fosse (o perfino, fosse stata) infrequente, è mai esistito un analogo modo scherzoso di fare il passaggio di registro in "versione femminile"? :eek:
  32. GavinW Senior Member

    British English
    Actually I've never heard the Ferrison joke in my life, nor any other similar to it. Maybe I haven't lived... or else maybe the joke has indeed become old-fashioned (I'm assuming you came across it some time ago).
  33. luway

    luway Senior Member

    Heard from an English teacher (American), but you can find mention of it also on the internet (I just invented Mr. Ferrison; when it's referred to it in a general way you'll find "Mr. Smith", but that teacher had told us it was not unusual... -- he might be 60-65 by now)
  34. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Yes I've heard the Mr. Rose, no that's my father's name. And yes, it sounds old fashioned but still used and I think these days it would probably be always said a bit ironically.
  35. luway

    luway Senior Member

    Thank you :)
  36. Caroline35 Senior Member

    Scusami Giorgio,
    ma mi sono sbagliata a scrivere.Mr ( Signore) Mrs ( Signora) Miss( Signorina) e Ms( per una di cui non si conosce lo stato di famiglia.)

    Have a nice day, my friend.Caro
  37. jinmali Member

    Salve a tutti,

    ho visto piu' volte quando si sta dando del lei in lettere formali usare "You" con la lettera maiuscola. Sto traducendo una lettera commerciale e mi piacerebbe sapere se l'uso della lettera maiuscola e' corretto o no.

    Per esempio:

    We request You to supply ...

    The invoices issued by You...

    Grazie :)
  38. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    English - N.Ireland
    Non è corretto usare la lettera maiuscola.
    "We request that you supply......." va bene.

    "The invoices issued by you........" va bene.

    Se volessi dire "You will notice that.........." dove "you" comincia la frase, poi devi usare la lettera maiuscola.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  39. curiosone

    curiosone Senior Member

    Romagna, Italy
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    Getting back to the concept (and use) of "you" in English, I think it should be specified (once again) that "you" corresponds to the more formal "vous" (or "Voi"). There is no equivalent (neither in English nor in French) of the "Lei" form. And (in modern English) the "thou"/"thee" form has become obsolete (used by Quakers longer than other English speakers, as the familiar "tu" form).

    So actually there is no concept (in English) of "dare del tu." "You" is less formal than "Lei," but it is not as familiar as the "tu" form (at least in traditional Italian usage - as I learned to use it).

    Familiarity and informality (as has already been expressed in previous postings) derives, not from the "you," but from gestures, expression, and other non-verbal means - as well as addressing someone as "Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms" or "Sir/Ma'am" or "Doctor." Even the "Call me John" concept (while perhaps the only way to attempt to translate "dammi del tu" or "chiamami Giovanni") can be misleading, to non-native speakers. I have met sharks from Wall Street (and the Chicago Board of Trade) who said "Call me John," but (at least in the States) the "informality" was merely superficial, and I would never have dreamt of giving "John" a "pacca sulle spalle" or of touching him at all (except for a ritual handshake).
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  40. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Hi, sorry but this isn't really right, is it? I mean not the You /you part but the "We request you to do something...". It's like the very Italian "we suggest you to do something". It should be "we request (that) you do something" although more natural to me is "Please supply us with..." "Would you kindly supply us with..." etc. But this is definitely O/T. :cool:
  41. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    English - N.Ireland
    rrose, you're absolutely right. I was paying attention to the "maiuscola" issue rather than the grammar and I missed it. :( Of course, it should be "We request that you..................whatever", or "Would you kindly ...................................".
    I'll edit my post.
  42. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Hope the mods will put up with me but I've got a query on the ...we request you to do... issue raised by rrose. I thought it was correct to use this type of construction (see an example sentence on the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary), so I guess I must be missing something...:eek:
  43. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    La pagina che citi (anche se il link non funziona..) conferma quello che è stato spiegato

  44. AlabamaBoy

    AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Northern Colorado USA
    American English
    It is odd that both examples are given in passive voice, which sounds much better to my ear than the active voice:

    We were requested to assemble in the lobby.:tick:They requested us to assemble in the lobby.:thumbsdown:
    You are requested not to smoke in the restaurant.:tick:We request you not to smoke in the restaurant.:thumbsdown:

    I am not saying the active voice is necessarily incorrect, but it does not sound very natural to me. However, I am less decided about the imperative form:

    Request them to assemble in the lobby.
    Request everyone not to smoke in the restaurant.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  45. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Anch'io sapevo che entrambe le forme potevano essere usate, ma la mia perplessità nasce dal fatto che, dal post di rrose, capisco che la forma "I/we request you to do..." non è corretta, infatti suggerisce:

    Cioè solo l'altra forma che indichi anche tu; a questo punto aspettiamo un chiarimento da rrose (o Sarah).
  46. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    English - N.Ireland
    I shall defer to rrose on this matter. I must say that the other construction didn't jump out at me as being actually incorrect when I was answering the query about the need for a capital letter. However, not being an English teacher (and being too old to remember why I say things the way I do), I can't give a definitive answer to the query on the correctness or otherwise of the "we request you to......." construction. Perhaps "We request you to.........." sounds a little blunt, which may explain why it sounds better worded in the other ways suggested by rrose.
  47. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    For the sake of clarity and since Paul pointed out that the link I posted was dead/broken, I am including below the sentence from the OALD that I used to make my point:

    We request you to kindly revert back if you have any further requirements.

    It should be noted that the sentence is in the active form (which didn't sound good to AB). By the way, it seems to me that revert back is redundant (but this is really extra OT).
  48. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    LA mia citazione è esattamente la pagina del dizionario Oxford che hai linkato tu.
    Un'altro dizionario suggerisce questo

  49. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Appunto, il che sembra confermare la correttezza di entrambe le forme (e così torniamo alla mia domanda originaria).

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