ANTIGÜEÑA SPANISH ACADEMY

Since 1985

Spanish School Blog


Don - Honorific title explained and how to use it

If you have visited Antigua Guatemala to learn Spanish language, you have probably noticed that Don and Doña are words that are used a lot as part of protocol when talking or referring to someone to show respect and courtesy, no matter the age or gender. It is part of the "popular language" of the Latin culture.


It is similar to Mr and Mrs (Señor & Señora), but Don and Doña has a small difference, is a title of respect that only comes before the first name, sometimes for the full name (first name, followed by last name), and never for the last name only. Commonly used today when addressing senior people. For example, you would use Don Julio; or Don Julio Garcia. If you were to refer to someone using just his/her last name, then you have to use Señor instead (Sr Garcia).

The origin of this word comes from the latin Dominus (which is translated as owner or Sr). In Spain, this was considered a title, reserved only for the royalty or a noble. The treatment gradually changed; at the verge of 19th century and beginning of the 20th, people with means (economically powerful) or with a recognized education level (regardless of the background) came to be addressed as Don or Doña. 

Don or Doña is a honorific title today across of all latin-american culture, just like explained above, you should only use it before the first name or full name (first and last name). In the old times, just like today, referring to someone as Don/Doña before the last name is considered as an underestimation.

Today, in Guatemala and in Latin America, using this honorific title (Don & Doña) is common for most people. Regardless of any cultural or economic background. It is way to show respect.
This title today is applied for different reasons:

1- To show respect, either for a economic or social status, experience or personal achievements.
2- To show good will to someone, especially if that person has a higher social status.
3- Someone with a higher education degree.
4- To elderly people.

It is important to mention that this treatment or title is used in towns (with inhabitants of more traditional culture, such as Antigua Guatemala). While in more modern cities, this title is much less common, since the use of Mr. or Mrs. is preferred.

Don Nadie - no culture and no money

There is also a well-known expression that uses the title of Don to undervalue another person. Saying "That's a Don Nobody" (Es un Don nadie) is a disrespectful way of pointing out a person with a poor economic and cultural condition.

So dear students, now you know a little more about Spanish language culture for Antigua Guatemala and Latin America in General.

 




Latest Posts

  • El Pan Nuestro de Cada Día - French Bread and Sweet Bread Guatemala
    - Nov 14, 2018

    Including ‘French bread’ (Pan Frances) and ‘sweet bread’ (Pan Dulce) on the table is one of the strongest culinary customs in Guatemala and Antigua Guatemala is no exception. The French Bread accompanies some of the typical dishes of Guatemala, especially the well known Tamal (Tamale).

  • Hot Fruit Punch - Ponche de Frutas - Guatemala hot drink recipe
    - Nov 12, 2018

    Guatemala is characterized by keeping a wide array of colorful traditions, and the famous Hot Fruit Punch (Ponche de Frutas as known in Guatemala) is one of them. This is a traditional hot drink for Christmas time (Navidad or Noche Buena as known in Guatemala).

  • Don - Honorific title explained and how to use it
    - Nov 05, 2018

    If you have visited Antigua Guatemala to learn Spanish language, you have probably noticed that Don and Doña are words that are used a lot as part of protocol when talking or referring to someone to show respect and courtesy, no matter the age or gender. It is part of the "popular language" of the Latin culture.

Go to Blog Mainpage


Archives

  • November 2018 (3)
  • October 2018 (5)
  • September 2018 (5)
  • August 2018 (4)
  • July 2018 (6)
  • June 2018 (4)
  • May 2018 (4)
  • April 2018 (5)
  • March 2018 (5)

  • Tags

  • guatemala culture (29)
  • antigua guatemala (21)
  • guatemala (12)
  • learn spanish (9)
  • guatemala arts (5)
  • places to visit (3)
  • cuisine (3)
  • recipe (3)
  • ruins (2)
  • maya (2)
  • Spanish Online

    We are happy to announce our spanish clases online through Skype. If you are not coming to Antigua Guatemala, or wish to get started. Please let us know.

    Get in touch

    1a Calle poniente # 10 Antigua Guatemala GT 03000

    Have a question? Contact Us


    Newsletter

    Join in with us to the experience of cultural and language growth.

    Newsletter Subscription