I’ll be honest — when I started learning Spanish, I didn’t actually know what an honorific was.
It wasn’t until I started learning another language that I actually learned that that was the word we use for titles — such as Mrs., Mr., and Dr.
In this exercise we’re going to learn some of these titles.
Side note — In Mexico and the rest of Latin America, they put a lot of emphasis on these titles. It’s very important that you call them Señor, Señora, Señorita.
If you know they have a college degree or a Masters, they even have a title for that — and you’re going to learn this in this episode.
It can be difficult for somebody who is not a native Spanish speaker to pick up on this in the beginning. But really put in the effort — in addition to the titles, you have to remember the gender.
If you have a college degree in the arts (Bachelor of Arts), you are called Licienciado or Licenciada. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or science (Bachelor of Science) you are called Ingeniero or Ingeniera.
(This is what I have, but I never expected people to call me that!)
Here, they actually will. So my name is Ingeniero Ray. If I were a female, I’d be Ingeniera Ray.
If you have a Master’s degree you are Maestro or Maestra (the same word is used if you are a school teacher). If you have a Ph.D., or MD you are Doctor or Doctora. They will call you doctor here — even though in the United States we generally consider someone a doctor if they have a medical degree. We might call them a professor, for example, but here they are generally always a doctor.
There are others, but these are the most commonly used.
On a personal note, how you dress in Latin America has a big part in how people view you. When I am dressed in casual clothes I have no special title, they would call me Joven — young man — but if I dress in a suit they call me Licienciado. Even if they don’t know if I have a college degree or not.
I can only guess that if I dressed up as a doctor, they would call me doctor — but I haven’t actually tested that theory out.
Here, more than in many other places in the world, I’ve found that how you dress is how you get received by people. Not only in how they act, but in what the title they give you.
In this exercise, like in all the others, we’re going to say it in English, then we’re going to say it in Spanish. Repeat them both. If you have trouble with the pronunciation, do it as many times as you need.
This is a quick exercise but it’s really important that it becomes a reflex because otherwise, you’re going to stumble when talking to new people.
Go through this and by the time you’re done, you’ll have it down pat.
Let’s get started!
|Licienciado||A male with a Bachelor of Arts degree|
|Licienciada||A female with a Bachelor of Arts degree|
|Maestro||Male teacher or male with Masters|
|Maestra||Female teacher or female with a Masters|
|Ingeniero||A male with a Bachelor of Science degree|
|Ingeniera||A female with a Bachelor of Science degree|
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Match these people with the correct title:
1 A female store clerk A. licenciado
2 A male lawyer B. doctora
3 Your child’s 3rd grade teacher C. señor
4 Professor of civil engineering D. señorita
5 A female pediatrician E. maestra
6 A man on a park bench F. ingeniero
7 Your friend’s mother G. señora
Answers; 1-d, 2-a, 3-e, 4-f, 5-b, 6-c, 7-g
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