Formal vs Informal

Hello everybody!

Today I got to think about personal pronouns and how they are used differently according to the language you speak. I’ll clarify. I’m referring in particular to the personal pronouns (You-second person singular and plural/he/she) that we use in both formal and informal contexts. In our daily conversations using the correct form is important because it can denote intimacy, distance or higher/lower social rank. I speak four other languages, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Norwegian, and I’d like to explain very briefly below the use of these pronouns in formal vs informal situations.

In Italian, we use the pronoun lei (third person singular) in formal situations and we use it with people we don’t know, such as authorities or high-level professionals. In a conversation with friends and family, we use tu (you, second person singular) instead.

In Spanish, they use usted (you) as a formal pronoun. I’ve lived seven years in Spain and if you have ever had the chance to get to know Spanish people or live in their wonderful country you’ll have perhaps noticed how friendly these people are. In fact, even if the formal pronoun should have been used in formal situations, using an informal pronoun such tú (you) is still okay. But I did meet people, such as professors, who still like to use the formal way.

Instead, in some countries of Latin America, they still use usted even in informal instances or vos (you) from voseo (this is the use of the pronouns vos in place of tú or vosotros in combination with the verb conjugated in the 2nd person plural) .

In Norway, du (you) is always used no matter the context or social rank, like in English today. The form de is a very old form which is not used anymore, as thee in English.

In Portuguese, the general rule is the same as in Spanish : tu (you) for informal situations, você (you) for formal situations. But in Brasil they always use the formal way você/vocês (you-second person singular and plural) for both formal and informal situations. 

Personally, I like to use the informal way as in Norwegian and in English, I feel comfortable with it because I think that giving importance to social rank or expressing distance is not necessary.  Respect should not be defined by grammar or by the use of formal pronouns. We can respect someone simply by using the right words.

How amazing are languages? And how hard is it to learn and remember all those rules?

What do you prefer to use: formal or informal way? What do you think?

I would love to read your opinions.  



Hello everyone!

One year has passed since Covid-19 and still it is ruling over our lives like day one. Allow me to say that we all have reached a point where we no longer have any sort of motivation goals, we live our lives day by day hoping for the best in order to get back to them…

And since it has been a long time I didn’t write on my blog, here I am with this new post:

The other day I had a dinner with some friends and one of the arguments we were talking about was the “paparazzi phenomenon” and while the others were talking, the first thing that came to my mind was: “where does this word come from? I have to analyze It…”.  So the word “paparazzi” reminds me of “papera” (duck) said in a derogatory way and as its sound is annoying and unstoppable we can relate it to the clicks of the cameras. So I told my friends my theory, but then one of them searched for the word in Internet and Mr. Google revealed in an article that this word comes from the last name of an Italian photographer who worked with Federico Fellini, great movie director. So according to the Italian grammar the singular form of the word paparazzo has the plural form paparazzi! Also, I started to read about this and I found out that this word could come from “paparazze” (the clams of the Adriatic coast). They bring the snap of the shells closer to that of the camera shutter. Curious eh?

Another theory says that this word comes from a mix between the words “pappataci” (mosquitos) and “ragazzo” (boy). This last theory was said by the wife of Fellini.

So, there is not an official theory about the origin of this word but I imagine that the most credible one is the one of Mr. Paparazzo, the Italian photographer.

I am happy that now I discovered something new and that I could share it with you guys 🙂

You never end to learn, right? I wish you all a nice week, stay safe and let’s catch up for new curiosities 🙂