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Cultural differences or just uncultured?

 

Questions about culture and cultural differences between countries and languages.


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  #1  
Old November 16, 2010, 08:08 AM
maravilloso maravilloso is offline
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Cultural differences or just uncultured?

The other day at work I was talking to the people who clean our office and they were Hispanic. So naturally we were speaking in spanish to each other about a comic strip I hung up (which was in Spanish). The manager that sits in the cubical across from mine told me that "Spanish people" need to speak "our" language not theirs or they need to go back to where they came from. I sort of just stared at him and told him they have a right to speak their own language. I was shocked, offende, and embrassed that he said this in from of the girl I was talking to.

Why is it that some Americans feel this way. I am American and I don't act that way or think that way. Is it just cultural differences or rem being uncultured?
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  #2  
Old November 16, 2010, 10:12 AM
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To put it simply (and sometimes simply doesn't tell it all), this is an example of American politics at work. Some welcome diversity and others shun diversity.
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Old November 16, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Here the same about many people, for instance, those came from China, Korea or Laos, who are accused not only of speaking 'unintelligible' languages but of keeping 'expressionless' faces in order to complete the offense of being hard workers.

I remember how I learnt it at school: Is it legal here a signed contract written in Swahili and Burukashi? Yes, totally. So no language is mandatory except for formal occasions. But still only recently it was allowed to the original people to have official education in their languages -but not exclusively-. But they are sending Gypsy children to the public school in Spanish and they forced Mennonite children to follow part of their education in Spanish, because Spanish is considered the language everybody must know to understand their rights and obligations with the rest of their fellow country people.

I suppose something similar in the States.
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Old November 16, 2010, 01:19 PM
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I think that nothing is written in USA about using English, but in Spain, our Constitution says (art. 3), about Spanish, that all the citizens have the duty of knowing it and the right of using it. The same with the other official languages in our country, whose linguistic rights are considered in their regional Statutes. So, I don't believe your boss is impolite but realistic; knowing the official language of a country opens doors. Another thing would be that people with other language speak this language in their circle and with their family, and it is normal that if you speak Spanish, they prefer to speak Spanish with you than English. But there's nothing wrong if they learn English.
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Old November 16, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
I think that nothing is written in USA about using English, but in Spain, our Constitution says (art. 3), about Spanish, that all the citizens have the duty of knowing it and the right of using it. The same with the other official languages in our country, whose linguistic rights are considered in their regional Statutes. So, I don't believe your boss is impolite but realistic; knowing the official language of a country opens doors. Another thing would be that people with other language speak this language in their circle and with their family, and it is normal that if you speak Spanish, they prefer to speak Spanish with you than English. But there's nothing wrong if they learn English.
Problem is that the US doesn't have an official language.

Besides, while that person was being reasonable when he or she said that, I guess the way it was said is what shocked maravilloso.

Last edited by chileno; November 16, 2010 at 08:05 PM. Reason: correct misspelling
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Old November 16, 2010, 07:27 PM
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There is certainly nothing wrong in addressing people in their native language if they haven't mastered the language of their adoptive country. In fact it is nice and hospitable.

This is especially true in the United States where English is certainly dominant and culturally will remain that way. I think some peoples' fear
of a "foreign invasion" are greatly over estimated. Many of the people with these unfounded fears need only to look back at their grandparents and great grandparents who spoke only German, Italian etc. to see that their children rapidly learn English and forget German and Italian. People should not let politically-inspired xenophobic rhetoric rule their lives.
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Old November 17, 2010, 12:26 AM
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Well, yes... all this reminds me my old boss who spoke fluently all the European languages and he enjoyed communicating to all the tourists they'll come to his restaurant...

Also reminds me the old joke,
-How do you call a person who speaks many languages? -Polyglot.
-How do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? -Trilingual.
-How do you call a person who speaks 2 languages? -Bilingual.
-How do you call a person who speaks 1 language? -American.

(No offense intended to all the fine Americans in this forum who are actually very proficient in Spanish and many other languages... but somehow, the attitude of the boss at the beginning of the thread reflects a bit of that...)

I'd tend to admire someone who speaks 10 languages more than one who speaks only one, unless that only language is mastered with such skill that is impressive... (But I tend to see that even the great writers don't get fixated in one single language... Reminds me "En Attendant Godot" by Samuel Beckett, Irish guy writing in English and French, or the Spanish Moratín, translating Shakespeare... and writing his own work...)

At any rate... it reminds me too this old poem/song (I don't remember the author) (Well, yes, I found it googling it, of course...)

Admiróse un portugués
al ver que en su tierna infancia
todos los niños de Francia
supieran hablar francés.
"Arte diabólico es
-dijo torciendo el mostacho-,
que para hablar el gabacho
un hidalgo en Portugal
llega a viejo, lo habla mal
y acá lo parla un muchacho".
(Nicolás Fernández de Moratín)

(Sorry if I am a bit rambling... but these are my 2 cents, or 4 or 5 Euros...)
Let's say,
"Mi granito de arena..."
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Last edited by JPablo; November 17, 2010 at 12:29 AM. Reason: Added note to my "memory" lapsus...
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Old November 17, 2010, 01:38 PM
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Sí, sí, pero ya ha soltado lo de "gabacho".
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Old November 17, 2010, 01:45 PM
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Ooops!
Al gabacho
con bombachos
lo latigaba un cómitre,
con su insufrible corbacho.
Ay muchacho,
a ver que dice el populacho...
(Talking about rambling...)
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Old November 17, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPablo View Post
Well, yes... all this reminds me my old boss who spoke fluently all the European languages and he enjoyed communicating to all the tourists they'll come to his restaurant...

Also reminds me the old joke,
-How do you call a person who speaks many languages? -Polyglot.
-How do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? -Trilingual.
-How do you call a person who speaks 2 languages? -Bilingual.
-How do you call a person who speaks 1 language? -American.

(No offense intended to all the fine Americans in this forum who are actually very proficient in Spanish and many other languages... but somehow, the attitude of the boss at the beginning of the thread reflects a bit of that...)

I'd tend to admire someone who speaks 10 languages more than one who speaks only one, unless that only language is mastered with such skill that is impressive... (But I tend to see that even the great writers don't get fixated in one single language... Reminds me "En Attendant Godot" by Samuel Beckett, Irish guy writing in English and French, or the Spanish Moratín, translating Shakespeare... and writing his own work...)
He is one of those Americans... He thinks that everyone should speak only English. I just don't agree with that, maybe it is a bit of both.

I did, however, like your song and joke
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