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Old July 15, 2018, 10:32 AM
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Am I a Rude, Stupid, Idiot Gringo?

Grew up in So. Cal. and been trying to learn Spanish most of my life. Sin éxito.

If I try to speak Spanish I know I sound like an idiot but it's the only way I can ever improve.

My questions:
If I go to a Mexican restaurant and the waiter is Latino am I a rude to try and practice a bit of Spanish with them?

I was in a hardware store recently and a man who "appeared" Latino was waiting at the cashier with me. I casually said "hola' and he replied "hola". I tried a bit of my Spanish and he seemed to reply favorably. Am I a gringo bore, racist for assuming he might speak Spanish and trying to speak with him?

I travel as often as i can in South/Central America and ALWAYS been treated very wonderfully when I make a fool of myself trying to speak Spanish. Am I being offensive and people just being polite?

I recently watched several videos that made fun of gringos trying to speak Spanish and it seemed in a very mean, serious way. Makes me think maybe I have been PC incorrect all these years. I hope not. I have been told many times that trying to speak Spanish shows respect for the Spanish speaker, culture etc.

Thoughts.
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  #2  
Old July 15, 2018, 02:26 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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Not rude, not stupid and never an idiot.
It is true there are many people who make fun of Americans trying to speak Spanish, but there are many more who appreciate sincere efforts to speak it.
I don't know how it is in the USA, since opinions are so divided about these issues, but I guess that if the Latino you meet has a foreign accent in English, they may be happy to speak Spanish with you.
I understand how insecure one feels speaking a foreign language (that happens to me all the time), but try and feel comfortable; you'll be fine.
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Old July 15, 2018, 05:00 PM
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I believe latinos are sincerely flattered if you make an effort to speak in their language in their country. They may describe the experience to their conocidos as hearing español chapurreado, but will always appreciate that you tried.
Wouldn't you?
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Old July 16, 2018, 10:40 AM
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Angelica y Rusty,
Gracias por sus respuestas alentadoras.
A veces soy muy tímido para iniciar una conversación con extraños, especialmente en español.
No quiero ofender o insultar alquien.

Y de nuevo, muchas gracias por sus palabras de aliento.
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Old July 16, 2018, 11:28 AM
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Bob, the point here is like the Golden Rule:

Intenta tratar a los demás como te gustaría que te trataran a ti.

Intenta no hacer a los demás lo que no querrías que te hicieran a ti.

Sure, one can make mistakes sometimes and feel shy or embarrassed...

What count is your good intention, and if I have a good intention, *may Henglish *my have some errors here and there, but as I try to write and speak, I will be improving, even if little by little.

And I am sure, after the first 100 years, I will express myself like a native... (maybe!) "And Bob is your uncle!"...

Un saludo cordial, Bob...

* Typos in the original, perpetrated with malice aforethought...
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Old July 16, 2018, 12:30 PM
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I find the unspoken rule is if the Spanish speaker speaks English better the you speak Spanish then the conversation will turn to English. Vice versa is true as well. In the USA many Spanish speakers are quite fluent in English, so therefore you will often be obliged to use English.

In these cases you can still use Spanish by peppering you English with Spanish phrases.
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Old July 16, 2018, 12:44 PM
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Yes, I agree with Poli on that.

But then, the conversation will flow with ease, and you could go back and forth, as long as the level of "agreement" increases with the increased communication.
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Old July 17, 2018, 12:31 AM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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What JPablo and Poli said matches my experience.

Exchanging pleasantries in the other person's language can be perceived as showing your acceptance and respect for them as people and your willingness to do whatever it takes to communicate with them, and most people from Spanish-speaking communities will appreciate your efforts.

But once you have finished the basic pleasantries, the goal of communicating effectively and efficiently tends to outweigh the desire to practice the language you are learning. The greater the difference between how well each of you speaks the other person's language, the more likely that you'll spend more time speaking the best language of the person who speaks the other language less well. On the other hand, the more equally well you speak one another's language, the more likely that you'll switch between the two languages and use them more-or-less equally.

Last edited by wrholt; July 17, 2018 at 12:34 AM.
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Old July 18, 2018, 12:31 PM
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Gracias a todo. Voy a seguir intentando con la esperanza que yo no ofendiando a nadie.
Como JPablo, posible en 100 año. Lamentablemente tengo 75 años y no tengo 100 años a estudio. Voy a sea feliz si puedo comunicar sin siendo una idiota total.

Si alguien quiere corregir errores en mis mensajes, por favor hágalo.
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Old July 18, 2018, 04:17 PM
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Some corrections for you, as requested.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRitter View Post
Angelica y Rusty,
Gracias por sus respuestas alentadoras.
A veces soy muy tímido para iniciar una conversación con extraños, especialmente en español.
No quiero ofender o insultar a nadie.

Y de nuevo, muchas gracias por sus palabras de aliento.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRitter View Post
Gracias a todos. Voy a seguir intentando con la esperanza de no ofender a nadie.
Como JPablo, posible en 100 años. Lamentablemente tengo 75 años y no tengo 100 años para el estudio. Voy a ser feliz si puedo comunicar sin ser una idiota total.

Si alguien quiere corregir errores en mis mensajes, por favor hágalo.
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