Vosotros vs. Ustedes

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  • 0:06 Vosotros in Old Spanish
  • 0:35 Regional Differences
  • 1:45 Ustedes vs. Vosotros
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Geary

Danielle teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She holds a Doctor of Education with research concentration in Study Abroad and Foreign Language Acquisition.

Ustedes vs. vosotros. What is vosotros and where is it used? Find out and compare these two pronouns - two ways to say 'you guys' - in this Spanish lesson.

Vosotros in Old Spanish

What is vosotros and where is it used? Vamos! Let's take a few minutes to talk about this pronoun and compare it to ustedes.

Vosotros means 'you guys' in Spanish, and is widely used throughout Spain. It comes from the Old Spanish Language from centuries ago, which we might compare to our Olde English or the sonnets of Shakespeare. Technically, in grammar, it is known as the second person plural, but that probably doesn't mean much to you, so let's think about it this way.

Language and Regional Differences

Let's say you're with a group of friends, or peers at school, or family members. In English, how do you address them when talking directly to them? Well, every region is a little different, right? In the northern and western United States, most people would use the term 'you guys.' In the southern United States, most people say 'you all' or 'y'all.' And still, in smaller areas of the north, you might hear 'yous(e) guys,' or even 'youns,' which is used in parts of Pennsylvania, where I am from, and which is perhaps the least well known, even among Americans.

Well, vosotros represents all of these, in Spain. I usually translate it as 'you guys' because 'you guys' is probably the most widely used throughout our country.

Now, we just talked about the regions of a single country, right? We didn't even mention other places where English is spoken, like Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand - and the list goes on. So imagine all the regions of all the countries, their cultures, their expressions, etc. We're talking a lot of different ways to say things! That's also one of the reasons language is so interesting.

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