Regional usage: Mande

Regional usage: Mande


While I was listening to the radio this morning, I heard one of the callers say to the host of the radio program, "mande." As I understand it, "mande" is used to basically say something like, "excuse me, what did you say" or "I'm sorry, could you repeat that."

This got me to thinking about how when I was in school that in this type of situation I was taught to say something along the lines of "¿Cómo?" or "Perdón, podría repetirlo" or even "¿Qué dijiste/Qué dices?" After giving it a bit of thought, I came to the conclusion that, by far, the "mande" expression trumps the others in usage (at least where I live). I couldn't understand why then was I not taught this expression in school.

After thinking about this for a bit, I decided to look up previous threads on the subject and found a couple of interesting threads about the usage of this word and found that there seemed to be some disagreement as to when, how and where it is used. The only place that seemed to be consistent was that most people agreed that it was widely used in Mexico which made sense to me as I am from south Texas, and the Spanish spoken around here is largely influenced by Mexican (as well as Guatemalan and Salvadoran) regional usages.

Now after all of this, I am still left wondering about where, how and by who this expression is used. If you have any direct experience with this expression could you please tell me what region/country you were/are in when you heard/used it and in what context it was used. If you had the patience to read this long winded question all the way to the end, I thank you and if you have any information on this that you are willing to share then I doubly thank you.

I look forward to any and all responses and would like to thank everyone in advance for their help.

updated SEP 30, 2009
posted by Izanoni1

3 Answers


It is very commom to hear this expression in Ecuador, but not in Peru to the south nor in Colombia to the north. Go figure.

updated SEP 30, 2009
posted by 00b83c38
Thanks woajiacrober...if you remember, what do they tend to use in Peru and Colombia and do you know how mande is used there? - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
Mande literally means order, to order, "order me to do something", "at your service". Diga is (Ibelieve the most widely spread) Dígame (tell me...what to do).“¿Dígame, en que puedo servirle?”---“Tell me, how can I help you?” - 00b83c38, SEP 30, 2009
Just to make sure that I am not misunderstanding you...you are saying that the way that you would ask somebody to repeat themselves if you didn't hear/understand what they said would be "Dígame (en puedo servirle). Is that correct? - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
Yes. it can also be used as excuse me (what did you say?) It has different applications, but just remember that mande comes from the verb mandar. - 00b83c38, SEP 30, 2009

Un chiste pequeña del libro "Mexican Jokes 102":

Un Tejano entra un bordel en Ciudad Juarez y espia una rebuena muchachona trabajando. Acerca a ella y dice, "Honey, I want to go to bed with you." Ella, que no entiende ni marta del "inglesito" dice, "¿Mande?" Contesta el caliente Tejano, "Hell, no...today!"

A Texan walks into a brothel in Juarez and sees a real hottie working there. He approaches her and says, "Honey, I want to go to bed with you." She, not speaking a word of English, says, "Huh?" The horny Texan replies, "Hell, no...today!"

Get it you-all: the word "mande" and "Monday"?

Explanation from the book: Obviously the joke is on the pun between the Spanish "mande" (the Mexican way to say "Huh?" or "Say what?") and the English word "Monday". But note also rebuena for "way good looking"; the augmentative muchachona which implies the muchacha is a working girl, or at least pretty upfront; ni marta meaning "not one little bit", caliente to mean "horny" and the cutesy diminutive inglesito for inglés.

Hey Lzanoni -- you are from Texas -- do experience this problem in Juarez?

updated SEP 30, 2009
edited by Daniel
posted by Daniel
Hi Daniel...Gracias por el chiste. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
I don't go to Juarez so I wouldn't know. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
Daniel have you ever heard the expression: "¡no me vengas con ésas!, ¡a otro perro con ese hueso! " - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
Yea, I thought this was funny 1st time I read it -- and still do. But it does explain "mande". - Daniel, SEP 30, 2009

When I was vacationing in Oaxaca, Mexico, to study Spanish it was very common to hear ¿Mande?

You're right, it was the equivalent of "Excuse me?" (As in: Excuse me, but I didn't hear what you said).

I not only heard it from the teachers (college educated folks who were very proper with their Spanish) but also from the Mexican family I was living with.

Further, my little book of Mexican Spanish says ¿Mande? means "Pardon me?"

updated SEP 30, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
Thank you Marianne - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
¡Qué suerte! Viajar por el extranjera es muy divertida ¿no? Estoy celoso. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
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