What's the Difference Between Tú & Usted

Spanish Vocabulary: When to Use Usted vs. Tú

What's the Difference Between Tú & Usted

Every language has its own intricacies that take time and practice to really nail down. Here, Spanish tutor Jason N. clears up the distinction between the formal and informal use of the word ‘you’ in Spanish…

 

Usted vs. : What’s the Difference?

 in Spanish is ‘you’ in English — but what about usted? In English, there’s not a great translation for usted. So what exactly does it mean?

In English, when we want to convey respect to someone, we use formal and polite language, such as ‘sir’ and ‘madam,’ and refer to people in authority positions with their titles, such as ‘doctor,’ or ‘professor,’ followed by their last name (e.g. Dr. Smith).

Spanish-speakers adhere to similar parameters when speaking to members of status or authority, but there’s also another common way to convey respect without calling someone by their professional titles. This is what usted in Spanish is all about.

When to Use Usted

Spanish is a language that highly values communicating respect and deferring to authority, therefore it makes a distinction that does not exist in English. Spanish-speakers use another word, usted, instead of tú, to address people of status or authority, the elderly, sometimes someone older than you, and often someone you just met, in order to convey respect to them. In romantic Spanish movies and novels, lovers will always refer to each other using usted to convey respect and appreciation.

Usted vs. Tú in the Real World

As your Spanish improves and you speak to people of all the different 24 Latin American countries, you’ll see that the use of usted varies considerably, not only from country to country, but from region to region within the same country.

By tuning in and observing each relationship, you can be more informed about whether to use  or usted. As you travel to destinations that speak Spanish, you’ll see the practical uses of these formalities yourself. When I lived in Costa Rica, I was surprised to notice that friends often refer to each other using usted, even if they have a very close and informal relationship.

I know many people who always address their parents using usted. This often signifies a more formal relationship between parent and child. That said, this also widely varies. For example, my ex-girlfriend was very close to her mother and spoke to her using always. In fact, her mother told me that she would be offended if her daughter spoke to her using usted, because it would make her feel not only old, but also distant to her daughter. On the other hand, many other Spanish-speaking mothers would invariably feel offended by their son or daughter if they did not address them in usted.

Another caveat is that in most of Central America and South America, Spanish-speakers use vos instead of , but this doesn’t matter as much, as they will always understand you in A Spanish tutor can help you learn more about vos if you are interested.

Got it? Here’s a handy graphic to reference:

When to Use Usted

Final Note

The good news is that Spanish-speakers will be so happy to hear you speak Spanish that they most likely won’t be offended if you fail to use the more appropriate one. The key here is not to worry much about it, as this can interrupt you from practicing. My best tip? Use usted when you’re in doubt, and tune into how Spanish speakers respond to you! As always, a Spanish tutor can help you if you’re confused!

JasonNPost Author: Jason N.
Jason N. tutors in English and Spanish in Athens, GA. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. He is currently attending the University of Georgia. Learn more about Jason here! 

Photo by Josep Ma. Rosell

 

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Basics of Guitar: What Should I Expect at My First Lesson?

452442203_065c368152_oExcited about your first guitar lesson? Not sure what to expect? Read on as Goodyear, AZ teacher David A. offers his advice on how to prepare, the basics of guitar you can expect to learn, and more! 

 

By the time I turned nine years old, I had spent six months begging my mom and dad to get me an electric guitar. When I finally had one, I was extremely eager to play it. The problem was, I didn’t know how. However, that was all about to change, because… I was about to have my very first guitar lesson!

The Big Day: The First Lesson

So today’s the day… Lesson number one with a TakeLessons guitar teacher! Perhaps you are feeling both excited and a little bit nervous?

First, let’s talk about what you need to bring to your lesson. In addition to bringing a positive attitude and desire to learn guitar (after all, you have been looking forward to this day, right?), it would be a good idea to bring your guitar, if you have one.

If you have an electric guitar, you will generally not have to bring an amplifier (“amp” in guitar-speak) or a guitar cord, as most teachers have these available at their studios. While no two guitar studios look exactly alike, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will probably see a guitar (or perhaps 10!), amps, assorted guitar effects pedals, music stands, and other guitar-related paraphernalia. In my case, I vividly remember walking down a flight of basement stairs and entering the strange-looking yet fascinating lair of my amazing guitar teacher. Although I had seen pictures of rooms like these in music magazines, I had never seen one in person, and this was definitely a magical thrill that, to this day, I still remember with joy.

What You Can Expect to Learn

At your first guitar lesson, be sure to let your teacher know which guitar styles interest you. This is important, as it could ultimately affect the method in which you learn guitar. Do you want to burn up the fretboard as a rock guitarist? Do you prefer the chord and scale sophistication of jazz? Perhaps country is more your style? Or even classical? With regard to style, another aspect to consider is whether or not you will want to learn to play with a pick, fingerstyle, or perhaps both. Just keep in mind that while different guitar styles can involve a variety of teaching methods and approaches, there is still going to be the need for you, the aspiring guitarist, to learn some necessary basics of guitar, like an introduction to the fretboard.

Your teacher will show you the letter names of the six guitar strings. There are guitars available with more than six strings, such as a 12-string guitar, but most people begin by playing a six-string guitar. If you bring your guitar to the lesson, you may learn about the different parts of the guitar, such as the neck, headstock, and bridge. Your teacher can also check to see that your guitar is tuned properly. On this note, if you have a guitar that has very old worn strings on it, it may be a good idea to put on new strings; your teacher can show you how to do this, or may even do it for you. Depending on the duration of your first lesson, you may learn some of the notes on the strings, or even some basic guitar chords. You can also expect to begin learning about proper fretting, picking, and strumming technique.

Having Fun With Guitar

The following is true: I still get a kick out of playing my guitar as much as when I was nine years old and just learning the basics of guitar. Whether you aspire to become a professional guitarist or play for a hobby, learning the guitar should be a fun and rewarding experience that you can enjoy for years to come. While learning the guitar does involve acquiring skills in technique and some music theory, with the right positive attitude and willingness to learn, you too can become an accomplished guitarist in your own right. It all starts with that first guitar lesson!

DavidADavid A. teaches guitar, piano, singing, songwriting, and more in Goodyear, AZ. He has performed in numerous and varied musical situations, including with The University of Maryland Jazz Orchestra and the Pavement Chasers Tribute to Adele. He currently performs as a freelance keyboardist and guitarist in the Phoenix metro area.  Learn more about David here! 

 

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Photo by jrsnchzhrs

 

Hollywood

5 Iconic Moments that Shaped the LA Music Scene

5 Iconic Moments that Shaped the LA Music SceneSome might say that Los Angeles couldn’t exist without music. While that is certainly true, there was a time when the music scene in the City of Angels had yet to take its form. Los Angeles has long been known as one of the hottest places in the United States for music, but it didn’t get that way overnight.

Defining moments throughout the city’s musical history not only helped make it a major player in the industry, they also illustrated the talent, creativity, and diversity of the LA music scene. From symphony to hip-hop and everything in between, Los Angeles has been at the frontier of musical greatness since the early 20th century. To think it all began when Trinity Auditorium hosted Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first show in 1919.

How Hollywood Played a Part

The LA music scene was heavily influenced by the presence of Hollywood, largely due to it being the home of the rich and famous. Naturally, this attracted many musicians and singers to the area, to live and work making melodies for the many motion pictures being released. The Hollywood Bowl amphitheater was built long before, but held its first concerts in 1922. It went on to later host many iconic artists, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, the Beatles, and Cher.

Radio Music’s Beginning and Ascent to #1

In 1922, the first LA radio stations emerged. Two of the first stations were KFI and KHJ, both AM-frequency channels. The start of these two stations was crucial to shaping the LA music scene because they broadcasted the songs of local musicians to Los Angeles. In the 1960s, KHJ became the nation’s most popular radio station by playing a fast-paced, top 40 countdown of hits. This was monumental because it turned the attention of the music industry to Los Angeles. It also showed that LA was a trendsetter in the industry.

The Palladium Opens

In 1940, the Hollywood Palladium opened with performances by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. This event led to a number of future shows in Los Angeles by similar jazz artists, making it one of the leading locations in the country for jazz performances. The Palladium’s historic opening night cemented the venue, and Los Angeles, as one the best places in the country for live music. The Palladium’s proud tradition still holds its place today as wonderful performances continue at its Sunset Boulevard location.

The Beatles Beat All

August 28, 1966, at Dodger Stadium: the Beatles are playing, and the crowd goes wild. The performance is their second to last concert ever, with their final tour ending the next night in San Francisco. The fact that arguably the greatest band in modern music chose the City of Angels as one of their last live performances displayed just how important the LA music scene had become. It also put the attention of the entire music world on LA for the night. With bands like The Doors, The Byrds, and The Turtles also achieving fame locally and nationally at the same time, this night made it clear that LA was the leading city in the rock n’ roll world. Whiskey a Go-Go, after all, had become one of the best locations for rock concerts in America. The Beatles’ concert confirmed that LA was the place where the best would come to play and where the most creative would go to achieve greatness.

Guns N’ Roses Plays at The Troubadour Nightclub

Guns N’ Roses formed and first played in LA. They put the city at the cutting-edge of heavy metal and hard rock, and that all began on June 6, 1985, when the band performed at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. Their energy, charisma, and downright insanity brought new life to the LA music scene and reasserted that the city was capable of cultivating any kind of music. Great shows at The Troubadour still continue, but that night was one of the venue’s most memorable.

NWA Releases the Album Straight Outta Compton

In 1988, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and the rest of N.W.A. released one of the most controversial albums ever: Straight Outta Compton. While a few of their songs led to radio bans nationwide and even got Dr. Dre’s recording company a warning from the FBI, the album did bring issues of racism, street violence, and drugs out from under the rug. Additionally, it catapulted LA to the forefront of the hip-hop universe and reaffirmed the importance of self-expression in music. It is undoubtedly one of rap’s most important albums, and it came right out of Compton.

These iconic moments have helped define the LA music scene in myriad ways. These events, and others, show the diverse array of music that has been created and played in LA. So many different styles of music came of age in LA and that tradition is being carried on by the eclectic mix of talented musicians that abound here today.

Photo by Alexis Fam

 

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March into Spring

March into Spring with TakeLessons

March into SpringSpring is almost here, and we’re definitely feeling the fresh energy of the changing seasons this month. To celebrate, we’re running two fun contests. Whether you’re already taking lessons with us or not, now is a great time to get involved for a chance to win free lessons! Read more

Try Out Google Helpouts, and Get $25 Off

helpouts2Curious about learning something new, but not sure if you can make a long-term commitment?

Here’s your chance to book a single lesson through Google Helpouts, with no obligation to continue. And as our gift to you, we’re giving you a $25 credit to use with a TakeLessons teacher!

Your credit can be used toward your first online session with a TakeLessons teacher on Google Helpouts, our newest platform for online lessons in music, tutoring, performing arts, and more.

Use code TAKELESSONS to get $25 off your first Helpout, now through May 21st, 2014.

Get instant, on-demand help or schedule a single online lesson in advance, all through Google’s video chat service. The lessons are interactive and one-on-one, and are taught by our best music and tutoring instructors.

So what are you waiting for? Find a Helpout today!

Curious about Helpouts? Check out this video to learn more:


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Lil Bub Parties Hard in Andrew W.K. Music Video

Lil Bub is arguably the Internet’s favorite cat. Just this past week, Lil Bub had the great honor of appearing as a guest on Puppy Bowl X, Animal Planet’s super cute alternative to the Super Bowl. Lil Bub has also starred in her own documentary and published a book.

Not too shabby for a kitty born with several genetic mutations that nearly kept her from adoption in the first place. Luckily for Bub, her owner Mike Bridavsky saw true star potential in this tiny cat and she was able to find a loving home.

Now, Lil Bub shows off more talent in “Star Party Animal”, a music video for the song she wrote with party king Andrew W.K. Check out the video below and party hard!

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Want On-Demand Lessons? Try Google Helpouts!

google helpoutsFans of our online lessons program already know how simple and convenient online learning can be. Anywhere with an Internet connection, you can log in, connect with your teacher, and take a private one-on-one lesson. Today, Google announced the launch of a new program that makes online learning even simpler, Google Helpouts.

Using Google’s video conferencing software,  you can now connect with experts in fields like music, performing arts, and academic tutoring for instant, on-demand private lessons. The best part? TakeLessons teachers are available on Helpouts now, ready to help you with subjects ranging from math and science to piano and acting! Read more

Don’t Start Lessons Without Asking This Question

how many lessonsAs a Student Counselor at TakeLessons, I get to talk to lots of new students and help them find the right private teacher for music lessons, academic tutoring, or performing arts. The question I always ask new students to help them plan for success is: Are you ready to commit the time you need to achieve your goals?

When you’re just getting started, thinking about a time-frame for your lessons will help you set goals and plan for success. While there’s no magic number of lessons that is guaranteed to bring you top grades or rock star skills, I have noticed some general trends as I talk with our students. Read more

3 Steps to Prep Your Studio for Back to School

piano studioAs summer winds down, teachers everywhere are preparing for the back-to-school rush. And as a private teacher or tutor, you might see your schedule filling up as old students come back from summer vacations, or new students find their calling in band or orchestra classes in school. To stay ahead of the game, here are three steps you can take to prepare:

1. Check your inventory. Whether you teach at your studio, online, or travel to your students’ homes, you need a good set of supplies on hand. Set aside some time to go through your collection of sheet music, books, and other supplies, and determine what you need for the year. If you teach contemporary pop music, for example, consider purchasing sheet music for the current hits, so you’re ready when students ask for it. If you’re tutoring students, see what new or updated resources are available. And don’t forget the little things either – you can find great deals this time of the year on notebooks, folders, highlighters, and more!

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In-Home, In-Studio, or Online? Here’s How to Decide

When it comes to lesson location, are in-studio, in-home, or online lessons better? The convenience of in-home lessons is undeniable, but there are a few other factors to consider when making the decision.

– Will being at home be a distraction?
If your home life is hectic—family members going back and forth, pets running in and out—it may be difficult to concentrate. Ditto goes for if your child is the type who wants to show off his new toys or gadgets instead of paying attention to his teacher. If you anticipate distraction being an issue, consider booking the lessons at your instructor’s studio.

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