você versus tu

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by pajarita, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Ola a tudos. When is it proper to address someone as "voce" and when "tu"? I studied a similar linguistic phenomenon in Spanish and found that "vos" is used widely throughout Central and South America as the second person singular (informal "you"), whereas it is very rarely used in Spain where "tu" is the preferred form. Am I right in thinking that "voce" is more prevalent in Brazil than in Portugal?

  2. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Olá Pajarita,

    Tu (2nd person) is preferably used in 2 Brazilian states ( Rio de Janeiro and
    Rio Grande do Sul). In the other states we prefer to use você (2nd person).
    And yes, it's widely used , we are kind of more informal nowadays. Only in very formal situations or with older people we use Senhor (Sir) for men and Senhora
    (madam) for woman.

    Às suas ordens!
  3. Obrigada, Vanda. Listening to my Central American friends (mostly Salvadorans), I found that the speaker seems to use "vos" with people older than him/herself and with those he/she doesn't know very well. "Tu" is used with siblings and good friends. They also use "usted" with persons of authority and in formal situations. I learned that "vos" was used by the Spaniards when they invaded Central/South America and it has remained in use there, though it has fallen out of favor in Spain. In Brazil (other than Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul) is "voce" used with siblings and close friends too? How about in Portugal?
    Ate logo,
  4. Leandro

    Leandro Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil - Portuguese
    Hi Vanda, i must say that here in Rio de Janeiro we use "você" quite always. "Tu" is mostly used by people from "Rio Grande do Sul". Here in Rio we also use "tu", but it's rare, and when we used it, we don't use the right conjugation of the verb.

    The correct is:
    - Tu és (you are)
    - Tu fostes (you went)
    - Tu vais (you go)

    But we usually say the form of the verb used for "você" (which is not right for "tu"):
    - Tu é
    - Tu foi
    - Tu vai

    Only people from Rio Grande do Sul use the right conjugation of the verbs for "tu".

    Pajarita, "Você" is used with anyone. But if it's an old person or if you wanna be polite to someone you aren't acquainted with, you should say "Senhor" (Sir) or "Senhora" (Lady).
  5. Roi Marphille

    Roi Marphille Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan.
    Ola, I believe in Portugal they only use "tu"... and "vôce" for the situations you described before. It is the same as in Iberian-Castilian and American-Castilian.
    You may find the use of "vos" in "el Quijote" and many other Spanish novels from the Middle Ages. Nowadays, I would say that nobody use "vos" in Spain.


  6. Acosta New Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    en Mexico no se utiliza voce se utiliza usted para la persona formal y tu para no tan formal
  7. Acosta New Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    sorry I should have typed it in Enlglish well in Mexico you use "usted" for formal and "tu" for informal
  8. Roi Marphille

    Roi Marphille Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan.
    sorry, I was misunderstood.
    When I said it is the same I meant:
    Iberian-American similitudes between the two languages.
    Portuguese: Tu-Vôce. Spanish:Tu-Usted.


  9. Obrigada a tudos por sua ajuda. Having learned Castilian in Spain, I found it difficult at first to understand/make myself understood with my Salvadoran friends. Are there similar difficulties between Brazilian Port. speakers and those from Portugal because of slang and pronunciation differences?
  10. aletham New Member

    USA English
    Uma pergunta interesante, aqui no nordeste se você for usar "tu", muitas pessoas teriam dificuldades intendendo. Chegou recente aonde eu estou um senhor de Rio Grande do Sul. Ele usa muito essas formas que eu quasi nunca ouvi nas ruas.
  11. (please pardon my rudamentary reading & writing skills)
    Aletham, talvez nao entendo bem. No nordeste (de EEUU?) quando alguem diz "voce" em lugar de "tu", muitas pessoas tem dificuldade entendendo? E o senhor de Rio Grande do Sul usa o "voce" como comentaram Vanda e Leandro? Descuple-me por ter tantas perguntas!
    Ate logo,
  12. Marcio_Osorio Senior Member

    Recife-PE, Brazil
    Braz. Port.
    Alex quis dizer no nordeste do Brasil (northeastern Brazil).

    Até logo.
  13. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    I think he referred to the use of "tu" by the man from Rio Grande do Sul,
    because most of them (From this state) use "tu" as I've said before.
    And by what is implicit I understood that although he is not Brazilian
    he is in Brazil northeast region nowadays, or at least was when he wrote the
  14. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Oh yes Pajarita. We have some different words (just like British English and American English) and a quite big difference in accent (I prefer saying that) from our Portuguese brothers. For example, I have a Portuguese student to whom I prefer talking to in English rather than in Portuguese (outside classroom) because it takes me one minute more to convey what he is speaking about in Portuguese. And the girl living in my house told me that she finds it easier to understand the Spanish news on TV than the Portuguese one in a Portuguese channel.
    The funniest event happened to a teacher (an old friend). He told me that , the first time he went to Portugal he had to speak in French, because neither him nor the Portuguese could understand each other using Portuguese language.
  15. Wow, Vanda, I had no idea that the differences are so many and so great! Does the difficulty understanding one another have more to do with word selection or accent do you think?
  16. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    I would say accent, because you can understand the different words by the context most of the time. In my case I have to pay extra attention because of the accent , till my ears get used to it.
    Another friend of mine , from German origin, learned Portuguese from a Portuguese teacher before coming to Brazil. When he arrived here and
    listened to the people he asked himself: Oh my God! What language are
    they speaking?
  17. Hahahaha! Thank you for sharing and for answering my questions!
    Ate logo,
  18. Marcio_Osorio Senior Member

    Recife-PE, Brazil
    Braz. Port.
    Mestre Leandro, parece que no Maranhão também, viu?

    Even at 51 years old, I'd hate if someone addressed me as "Sir." Ole "Mr. " Márcio here really feels uneasy if anyone bellies up to him and starts calling him Mister.
    Mesmo aos 51 anos de idade, detestaria que alguém me chamasse de "Senhor". O velho "senhor" Márcio aqui fica embaraçado se alguém se aproxima dele e começa a tratá-lo por Senhor.
  19. In the US, and most often in the Southeastern states, the form of polite address for older people is Ma'am (woman) and Sir (man). Once you've been ma'am-ed for the first time, it's like the point of no return. I did the same as you, Vanda--I quickly said "please, you can call me 'miss' (address for a younger woman)!" ;)
  20. Jose Carlos New Member

    Brazil Portuguese

    A Vanda em 19/08 disse que o pronome tu é mais usado no Rio de Janeiro e no Rio Grande do Sul. Discordo. Sou de Santa Catarina e aqui se usa muitíssimo o tu. Aliás se usa tanto tu como você. Aqui se usa o tu muito mais com verbo de terceira pessoa do que com de segunda, que seria o certo, ex: Tu vai trabalhar hoje? Algumas gramáticas registram isso.

    Um abraço
  21. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Olá José Carlos,
    Eu sei que em Santa Catarina também se usa o tu, tenho vários amigos que
    vivem aí, só que eu não queria escrever um tratado sobre o uso no país
    inteiro, dei apenas o uso geral mais conhecido por todos.
    conforme você pode notar na minha citação eu disse : é mais usado, e não:
    exclusivamente usado.:)
  22. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Here's a testimony from Portugal.

    First of all, this whole forms-of-address issue is a complicated matter in Portuguese. It can vary considerably from region to region, even within countries, and it also varies with the age and social status of the speakers. Furthermore, some forms that were common in the past have disappeared or become regionalisms. Just remember that there are many possible ways of saying 'you' in Portuguese, so you won't panic. ;)

    Regarding your specific questions:

    Q1) When is it proper to address someone as "voce" and when "tu"?

    It varies between regions and according to the age/generation of the speakers. The traditional rule was that "tu" was meant to be used when addressing:

    1) People with whom you are intimate, such as spouses, siblings and friends.
    2) People younger than you, especially children. Children are almost always adressed as "tu", and they treat each other by "tu", as do teenagers.
    3) People who are your hierarchical inferiors (this use of "tu" may be seen as rude in some contexts, though).

    However, times change. The rules above are not followed as rigidly today as they used to, and the social conventions that govern the use of "tu" are very much in flux in Portugal. There is some variation between regions, and a great deal of variation according to the age/generation and social status of the speakers. To give you just two examples:

    1) I was taught never to treat my elders by "tu". However, even as I was growing up, some parents would allow their children to treat them by "tu", and this custom is becoming increasingly common. But, even when children treat their parents by "tu", they will often not treat their grandparents by "tu"!

    2) In certain economically privileged social groups, parents and children treat each other by "você", never "tu"!

    "Você" is an even more complicated case. It started out as a polite form of address, but with time it devalued in Portugal, though not as much as it did in Brazil. Today, it tends to be reserved for addressing social equals with whom you are not intimate, or social inferiors, or people whom you don't know very well but don't feel compelled to address too formally. For this reason, some Portuguese people find "você" slightly impolite, and avoid it. However, other people don't seem to give "você" that negative conotation. Context is everything, here! To complicate things further, friends and workmates from older generations will often treat each other by "você" rather than "tu".

    Q2) I studied a similar linguistic phenomenon in Spanish and found that "vos" is used widely throughout Central and South America as the second person singular (informal "you"), whereas it is very rarely used in Spain where "tu" is the preferred form.

    There are similarities with the voseo, yes, but that analogy has too many flaws, in my opinion. Morphologically and historically, você corresponds to Spanish usted, not vos; and, even though vos is not employed in Spain, vosotros is. Furthermore, "tú" (like "tu") is only "preferred" in informal settings.

    Q3) Am I right in thinking that "voce" is more prevalent in Brazil than in Portugal?

    Very much so, although I understand that the use of "tu" can vary between different regions of Brazil. In some places, it's used as in Portugal, in others it's employed interchangeably with "você", and in others (most of them) it tends to be avoided altogether.
  23. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Yes. See this earlier thread, and this one.
  24. Bobzinha

    Bobzinha Senior Member

    I live here in Brazil, and we use "você" . "Tu" is only used in Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, so when you talk to someone in portuguese, use "você", for instance:

    - Você pode me dar mais água? and
    - Tú podes me dar água?

    Please note that there's a difference in the verb conjugation.

    When you conjugate a verb in portuguese ( eu amo, tu, amas, ele ama, etc...) make sure to use "você" in the third person ( "você" is conjugated like ele, ela), example:

    -eu amo, tu amas, ele ama, ela ama, VOCÊ AMA....

    The Brazilian grammar does not show the pronoun você in the verb conjugation, so please, be carefull.....

    The same thing for "vocês" : ELES AMAM, ELAS AMAM (THEM), VOCÊS AMAM....

    I hope I can help you with my explanations....
  25. Jose Carlos New Member

    Brazil Portuguese

    Bobzinha, Você é de Curitiba, tão perto de Santa Catarina, e diz que tu é ONLY used in Rio de Janeiro e Rio Grando do Sul! That's not right, mate. Nasci em Santa Catarina, aliás, para alguns Santa Catarina e Rio Grande do Sul é tudo o mesmo (não dá pra acreditar, o que não é o seu caso – não estou sendo irônico), e como já disse antes tu é amplamente usado aqui, quando digo amplamente, quero dizer em quase todo o estado. Na realidade há uma mistura do uso de tu e você. Não sei de onde surgiu essa informação de que tu é somente usado nos dois estados mencionados. Definitely it’s not true.

    Parajita, if you're studying Brazilian Portuguese, you will notice that many, many people (it's very common in colloquial speaking) omit the S with the pronoun tu, as in tu vai ou não vai me ajudar? (are you gonna help me or not?) instead of tu vais ou não vais me ajudar? Then, should one avoid the second form? No. But it is nice to be aware of the common use of the first one.

  26. Thank you all for your very helpful responses!! :)
  27. Terranova New Member

    Brazil - English
    Hi, Leandro!

    Forgive me, but the correct form is:
    tu foste (2nd person, singular)
    vós fostes (2nd person, plural)

    Although many gaúchos (Rio Grande do Sul natives) routinely misconjugate.
  28. Pedrovski Senior Member

    English, Portuguese
    Yes, I noticed that mistake as well. It reminds me of this conversation I had with a Brazilian girl here in Portugal a while back. She was telling me how much she liked it here and how she was trying hard to adapt and talk like a "native". I eventually noticed that she sometimes said things like "tu viestes", "tu fostes", etc!
    It's tempting to assume that all endings for "tu" end in "s", so it's these mistakes are understandable.
    What is more worrying is the number of people stating that Brazilians in general can't understand the European variant of Portuguese. Most Brazilians I've talked to have told me that they had no significant language problems upon arrival. Some things just tend to be blown out of proportion, it seems.
  29. MOC Senior Member

    It has to be said some portuguese people do that mistake as well. The way that was said it looks like only brazilian people make that mistake and that's not true at all.
  30. Carlospalmar Senior Member

    Spanish, Argentina
    Olá Pajarita:

    I found your statment that at first you had experienced difficulties in understanding your Salvadoran friends, very interesting. You also said that this was because you had learned Spanish (castellano) in Spain. I have been collecting information on this topic (el voseo) of the Spanish language. I have never experienced any difficulties in reverse, nor do I think that Spanish speakers who are not from the voseo areas of the Spanish-speaking world, therefore "foreign" to the use of "vos" would experience serious difficulties if any at all. I am really curious about the difficulties you had experienced with vos speakers. I would like to add to my collection any information (verb forms, pronouns, etc.) you might want to share.
    Personally I might experience some difficulties with intonation but not so much with the verb forms. By the way, if you look up a conjugation of any given Spanish verb on line, now the vos form is included in the Diccionario de la Real Academia. Vos never was an "illegitimate" child in Spanish as some people might think. I would love to continue this conversation on the use of vos in the Spanish-speaking world. By the way, yes os gaúchos (de Rio Grande do Sul) falam muito de tu, no Brasil, e acho que em outros estados do norte também. Mas os amigos brasileiros tem a palavra nesse assunto.

  31. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Muitos hispanoparlantes fazem o mesmo, inclusive aqueles que usam o tu, mas tanto em espanhol quanto em português o pretérito perfeito (indefinido em espanhol) é o único tempo que não termina em s na segunda pessoal singular, daí o equívoco.

  32. Qarmatica New Member

    Argentina- español
    Hola! well we used "vos" for all, but if it`s very formal we use "Usted"and for old peaple too, we do not use ever "Tu" we let that formality for all Aamèrica, for be diferents :D , sorry was a choke. Sorry for my English, but i learn olone.
    Bye, read you;)
  33. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    It's interesting to see this parallel in Portuguese.

    In Spanish it is also common to hear:

    Sólo faltastes tú/vos.
    ?Cuándo llegastes?
    ?Lo vistes?

    Even though the grammatically correct form would be without -S. And this phenomenon is present in virtually all Spanish spaking countries. Probably the development already started in the period of Vulgar Latin, i.d. many centuries ago.

    Back to você and tu.
    So tu is still used in Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, and Maranhão?
  34. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Não posso dizer nada a respeito. O único que sei é que em latim clássico não havia s na segunda do singular: amavisti, delevisti, legisti, audivisti, etc.; entretanto, na segunda do plural, sim: amavistis, delevistis, legistis, audivistis, etc.
  35. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    I guess several factors played a role here:

    1. The singular use of vos with 2. person plural conjugation.

    2. Related to that the increased use of ustedes with 3. person plural conjugation for 2. person plural. In Spain there was a development back to and vos(otros) (compared to Spanish of several centuries ago), whereas Spanish speaking America universally continue using ustedes.

    3. Also an important factor: Regularizing the conjugation by parallelling to the other forms of 2. person person singular which end with an -S.

    But this is going off-topic. We should focus on tu and você here. :)
  36. ayupshiplad Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    Hmm I hope this is relevant, but I found Vanda's comment about speaking to a Portuguese student in English rather interesting!

    Would Brazilians understand if you used tu conjugations, especially without the subject pronoun? I really hope the answer to this is 'no'!
  37. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Of course we would. We aren't that stupid after all. Besides, that's what we are taught in school. And it's also been said ad nauseam that many Brazilians use tu. And why do you hope not?
  38. Denis555

    Denis555 Senior Member

    Cracóvia, Polônia
    Brazilian Portuguese
    In Pernambuco (Nordeste) at least we use quite a lot "tu" in very informal situations. With my friends I always use "tu"!

    The strange phenomenon is that we "cut off" the "s" at the end of the the verb, so instead of saying tu vais, tu comes, tu falas we say tu vai' , tu come' , tu fala' , and when we use the past tense (pretérito perfeito) we again have contracted forms, so instead of saying tu foste, tu comeste, tu falaste, we say tu fos'e, tu comes'e, tu falas'e. The apostrophe prevents the "s" from being pronounced as /z/. Usually many people claim that these forms should come from the imperfect subjunctive (imperfeito do subjuntivo) (você) fosse, comesse, falasse. But I don't think that's the case. It's just a contraction. Well, that's how I see it.

    So in Pernambuco we have TU (very informal), VOCÊ (semiformal or informal) and O SENHOR, A SENHORA (formal).
    To give you an example, even at home:
    With my brother I use TU;
    With my mother I use VOCÊ;
    And with my father I use O SENHOR.
  39. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    I still remember my Portuguese classes at school, when the teacher exhaustively had the pupils repeating the verb conjugation at every tense and mood:
    "Presente do indicativo: eu sou, tu és, ele é, nós... (ad infinitum)"
    The tu and vós pronouns are often heard during the Catholic Mass liturgy, and, since most Brazilians are believed to be Catholics, they cannot deny that they surely understand them altogether, even though may not conjugate the verbs properly.

    I would say that você is the preferred choice in Brazil, but you may get across tu as well (pretty much everywhere inside Brazil).

    EDIT: if you need to address someone in a higher social/circumstantial rank than yourself, you should choose "o senhor" or "a senhora" as the pronoun. Example:
    Como a senhora se chama? = What is your name, ma'am?
    The addressed person then will often say "O/A Senhor/a está no céu" or likely expressions meaning that you have permission to employ você.
  40. Dom Casmurro

    Dom Casmurro Senior Member

    Brazil Portuguese
    This certainly is an interesting point. I've always believed that one of the reasons why Brazilians developed a reluctance to use vós is the fact that the second person plural is reserved for prayers only [o Senhor é convosco, bendita sois vós][santificado seja o vosso nome]. God and the saints and the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ are supposed to be invoked by vós, not by tu and você. Vós sounds like too holy and too reverence commanding a pronoun to be accessible by mortal, ordinary people like us...
    ... unless you are from Argentina (Argentinians address themselves as vos, but this is because they think they are Godlike...).;) And hey, J., this is just a joke, there's no need to correct me by saying that vos is an informal way of addressing people among the Argentinians, as opposed to usted.;)
  41. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Acho que também depende se se é católico ou protestante. Eu nunca diria vós a Deus. Já com os santos não preciso preocupar-me como tratá-los, já que não fazem parte do meu círculo de amizades. :D
  42. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Tanto de usa vós como tu para falar com Deus e os santos. E, no Brasil, talvez você também.
  43. Alandria Senior Member

    Brasil - São Paulo
    A bíblia trata deus por "vós". E na bíblia somos tratados por "tu".
    A questão do "tu" eu nem discuto mais, não dá pra mudar que é falado por cerca de 100 milhões de pessoas no Brasil, mas alguns ainda vão insistir em generalizar.
  44. Dom Casmurro

    Dom Casmurro Senior Member

    Brazil Portuguese
    Eu me referia exclusivamente às orações (Ave Maria cheia de graça, o Senhor é convosco, Pai nosso que estais no céu, santificado seja o vosso nome, etc.), e não ao bate-papo que alguns gostam de ter, de vez em quando, com o Altíssimo.
  45. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Mas nem essas me oferecem problemas. A primeira não sei :D e na segunda usamos tu e dívidas no lugar de ofensas.

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