Is it rude to say "que" ?
In english, even among friends, it is considered rude to say "what" when you either didn't hear the person or you didn't understand, is it the same in spanish....is it rude to say "qué" when you either didn't understand or missed what a friend has said.
Martin is correct.
From "Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish"
If you go to Mexico, your first encounter with mandar may be the ubiquitos expression ¿Mande? for What? or "You called". It is considered polite, but many foreigners (especially from other Spanish speaking countries) seem to think it servile and demeaning. If you feel that way, you can substitute ¿Cómo? or even the brusque ¿Qué? -- but you will hear ¿Mande? just the same.
My personal experience in Mexico -- I now always use ¿Mande? -- and of course people would ask ¿Mande? to me because of my somewhat bad spoken Spanish (which has now greatly improved).
Martin wrote: What one should politely say is : "¿mande?"
This is also what I commonly hear when my Mexican friends simply want what you say to be repeated. Saying "¿Qué?" should be done with discretion since it can be more provocative, although depending on the setting it might be the best choice.
Mortimer wrote: What does mande mean in this context?
Good question, Mortimer. I have tried to have this explained to me. The word is from mandar, and the best literal explanation I can get is that you are asking the person to give their 'order' again; a somewhat humble way to ask them to repeat themselves. In American English we might use phrases that probably don't make sense translated into Spanish, such as: "Come again?" or "I beg your pardon?" neither of which are meant to be taken literally.
I hope that helps.
I'm Spanish. I just had a little fight with my English-speaking girlfriend over this. I unconsciously answered "What?" when she was calling me and she got really upset at my rudeness. I apologized by saying that this is not rude in Spanish. She Googled it and addressed me to this discussion.
In Spaniard Spanish saying ¿Qué? when you are addressed or you didn't hear, while informal, is perfectly neutral and correct. In Spain we don't use ¿Mande?, it sounds to us a bit silly and you only tell it as a little joke with someone you know very well. ¿Mande? said to an stranger would sound like a subtle insult, too familiar treatment. It is the polite use of the second person of imperative for the verb mandar and would be translated as at your command. In Spain it is considered servile and nobody would use it seriously unless a particularly lame Janitor to a CEO. ¿Qué?, ¿Cómo?, ¿Dime?, ¿Sí? are quick requests to repeat what has been said, all equally common and neutral. If you want to go for a more formal request you can always use ¿Dígame?, ¿Disculpe?, or ¿Perdone?.
It depends on the contex, tone, and with whom. Among friends it's OK, but in unfamiliar circles it's better to say, "¿Cómo?" And the previous poster is correct. "Mande" is used by uneducated people and comes from servants asking their "patrones" "what." It really means "Command me."
Yes (in Mexico) it is rude to say : "¿what?"
what one should politely say is : "¿mande?"
¿Cómo? is a universally accepted way of asking "what"? And like various others have said, "Mande" is king in Mexico. You may even hear it in Colombia.
I've also heard "¿Qué dijó?". I've heard some other options, like "perdón" and one or two more that I can't recall right now.
Oddly enough, the option I hear the least is the one Spanish books usually teach, "¿Repite?"
And to answer the question, I would only use "Qué" with friends. And it's probably an adaption of English.
I suggest you stick with "cómo" because if you use "qué" all the time it will come out from sheer habit when you should be using "cómo".
My Spanish teacher was very proper and she allowed us to say "¿Qué?" when we didn't understand or didn't hear what was said. She did prefer, "Perdone me" but was not insistant on it.
I have a mexican friend, and she says ¿Qué? I think it is in the tone of the voice that makes it rude. She also says ¿como?
while ¿cómo? is fine, you generally won't hear a native speaker use it.
I'm assuming you mean you won't hear a native speaker from Ecuador say this?
BTW, how long were you in Ecuador?
I use ¿Cómo? as my standard "what?" You'll get teased for saying "mande" more often than you will for ¿cómo? (I don't think you'll ever get teased for cómo). That being said, I'll add another country to the mande list. In Ecuador, which is where I originally learned my Spanish, ¿qué? is extremely rude (unless you're joking with a friend) and, while ¿cómo? is fine, you generally won't hear a native speaker use it.
Also, I agree that saying "what?" in English isn't rude, unless your tone of voice makes it rude. It might be a little out of place in a more formal setting, but I don't think anyone would think twice about it, especially if you preface it with "sorry." It might depend on where you are though (midwestern US)
I use "¿Cómo?" and am usually talking with Mexican friends although some are Guatemalan or Nicaraguans but I also say, "¿Repitan, por favor?" and with some very close friends when I don't understand or catch something because they are talking too fast I say, "Ëstas hablando conmigo?" and they immediately say "Lo siento" laugh and talk slower. :0)
I wouldn't say that it's considered rude to say "what?" among friends (in modern American English). Even among strangers, asking "what?" is considered rude only in the way that wearing a hat indoors is considered rude (your grandmother told you not to do it, but people do it so often that many don't even notice when it occurs.)
But this is a good question, because I'm not sure if "qué" is rude in Spanish.
Interesting question...I have noticed an increasing number of teachers of Spanish instructing their students to say "qué?" instead of "cómo?" or - in the case of Mexican Spanish - "mande?" It always sounds really rude to me, somewhat like saying "huh?"
Is it rude to say, "otra vez, por favor"?
By the way, the word mande in Spain is used mockingly. It was used in older days and in villages still, I guess and it is considered not only old-fashioned but sort of rustic.