About levels of formality/informality

About levels of formality/informality


An example being como estas/como esta, can people actually take offense to the way they are asked this simple question?

Another example, I was reading about Chilean spanish and apparently slight tonal change to one of their levels of formality can change the intent completely and make the sentence downright insulting.

I can't think of an equivalent to this understanding in English, except for perhaps including curse words or other insults, but that's actually including a vulgar word (How are you, how the **** are you?) in the sentence and not two sentences that translate to literally the same thing (at least in English).

Can a Spanish speaker shed some light on this because I am genuinely curious.

updated DIC 1, 2009
edited by TheSilentHero
posted by TheSilentHero
great question ! - albert-fabrik-, DIC 1, 2009

1 Answer


I think there are many otherwise innocuous statements that can be made to sound condescending just by changing you tone of voice.

Oh, Really- can have all kinds of meanings by simply changing you tone. (hard to give examples without audio)

Oh, you handled that wonderfully.

updated DIC 1, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
I suppose...thanks for answering! - TheSilentHero, DIC 1, 2009
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