You can find instances of every error in the book on the Internet,
so the fact that something occasionally appears on web pages or
wherever doesn't mean anything - unless everything that Google can
find is correct, and I don't think you want to go that far. If you
don't, I'd say it seems clear that "despídate" falls into the
category of error rather than legitimate variant. It doesn't sound
that different from "despídete", so it's a natural misspelling.
What do you think about "it's" as a possessive pronoun? Here in
Holland I've clearly heard kids talking about "de meisje", while
there is no doubt that the only correct form is "het meisje"
(the girl). So is "de meisje" right or wrong? Most people would
say that it's wrong, but maybe some would call it a variant.
There's no hard-and-fast rule determining when something is one
or the other. I wish there were, because sometimes it would make
things easier in my work as an Esperanto editor. For example,
somebody wrote "plachita" (pleased) recently, and someone in the
organization declared this to be flatly wrong because "plachi"
is intransitive: something "plachas" *al* someone. And yet people
say "plachita" and it's often awkward to try to say "pleased"
anyway else. On the other hand "demandi" (to ask) is supposed
to be transitive, and yet there are many instances of "demandi al".
There might be some regional variation on this in Esperanto-Land,
but I don't know that it matters much regarding correctness. In
any event it will generally be difficult to assert what is absolutely
right and absolutely wrong on the basis of observed usage, when
presumably incorrect usage is to any significant degree common.
Ah, here's a help. Consider the American Heritage Dictionary's
usage panel. The Wikipedia article on the dictionary has a brief
description of this if you're not already familiar with it. The
dictionary cites its opinions in percentages, rather than simply
declaring something to be absolutely right or wrong. I would suppose
that in a Spanish dictionary with such a usage panel, a very large
majority would consider "despídate" to be simply wrong.
On Mar 12, 2013, at 2:35 AM, Daniel Hanson wrote:
> Hello, everyone!
> Today my Spanish 2 classes were working on a Unit Review packet.
> One of the activities was to change some reflexive verbs into affirmative tú
> commands. One of the verbs in the exercise was “despedirse”. When I
> mentioned the answer, “despídete”, the two girls I was around commented that
> they’ve always heard “despídate”. They are heritage speakers (although they
> know quite a bit of Spanish). I searched on Google and did find some
> websites with the form “despídate”, validating what they said and its
> existence. Could it be an issue of it being written one way and pronounced
> another way? Is one form considered uneducated or vulgar? Is it a form used
> in certain regions? This was definitely some food for thought for me today.
> Thanks for any input you might have.