I have to admit English has gone a bit light on the use of the word “You” in its language. After speaking other languages it sort of makes you feel like their is a void in the language. On the other hand Spanish has gone over the top. Spanish has some 5 versions of the same word. This can sometimes be confusing which one to use, where it is used and to whom you use it.
Unlike the missing link in English, Spanish has both a singular and plural form of the word you so you can distinguish when you are talking to a single person in a group or the whole group. But both singular and plural have more than one form.
There are 3 common words used here: Tu, Usted and the less common Vos
Usually “tu” is the familiar form of the word you, that you can use among friends and other people on a casual basis.
Usted is usually the polite form that you say to your abuelos-grandparents, parents, people more senior than you in business, or sometimes when you are angry with someone you will ustedear, to show them you are not happy with them. In a separate case in parts of Colombia usted is the normal form to use among friends, and rarely tu. In a rare display of machismo, tu is used there among males who only prefer intimacy with other males. Personally, being a non-native speaker I find usted a bit to formal for me, so if the last example were enforced I word rather use Vos than Usted.
Vos– Argentinians and Uruguayans are the most famous for this use of the old form of you in Latin languages. Where Tu actually derives from the Germanic languages as in German “du” or English “thou”, Vos is the earliest form of you in the Spanish language. How it survived in Argentina, is anyones guess. Vos is also used in parts of Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and other pockets of the Spanish-speaking world. The way it is used often varies with the verb it paired with or how it is conjugated (click link to view meaning of this word). Argentina and Uruguay have their own conjugations for vos. For example Vos podés, instead of tu puedes. The accent in the vos form means you have to raise the sound on the “e”, so for an English speaker to achieve this make a double syllable word po/dess instead of podess. Also commands like ven- come!, become vení. In Colombia Medellin don’t change the conjuation whereas in Calí, they do, and will often attached the word “ve to a command. So in Medellin they say “apurate-hurry up” and Calí they sey apuráte ve!
There are 2 forms Vosotros and Ustedes.
Vosotros has 2 main uses, it is used in most of Spain only as the plural form, and in the bible as a translation of old text. This Vosotros is the direct translations of the English “Thou” and is often considered outdated in Latin America. Some Latinos who are good with accents, change to a Spanish accent when using vosotros, and will say something like Voshotrosh Conotheish- Vosotros conoceís-you know.
Ustedes is the only plural form in Latin America. Here it is universally used as the plural form of you and there are no real differences from place to place so that you don’t get confused.
There are probably a few things that have been left out in this description, but it is an overview rather than stating every exception. Anyone who has an experience with something that we have explained, tell us your story.
Otherwise, for a quizz we are looking for a line in the song from Juanes from Medellin, Colombia ( a vos region) in his song A Dios Lo Pido?