Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > The Academy > Tilted Life

LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 05-14-2003, 09:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
Army of Me
Ganguro's Avatar
When is it appropriate to speak another language?

Im moving somewhere where there is more of an international community in my neighboorhood. I'll be surrounded by hispanics, and there is a largely Japanese shopping plaza very close to my apartment. I plan on being around the neighboorhood quite a bit for shopping, and the like.. and im wondering when is it apporpriate to speak to other people in their languages? Would I be out of bounds if i walked into the Japanese market and asked the clerk in Nihongo how much an irtem is, or if they have any more in the back, etc? I know it's a great practical application of what i've learned, but i have seen people assume that someone doesnt speak english because of their ethnicity. It happends to some close friends of mine all the time, they are congratulated on their english even though they are ABC kids. Also getting in good with the locals wouldn't be soo bad when looking for that unnofficial discount they sometimes give to familiar customers. Soo.. Im asking .. when is it appropriate to bust out the [insert language here]?
Ganguro is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 11:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
Best advice I can give based on watching my family members who speak Spanish is to first speak to them in English. If you hear an accent or can tell that they speak the language based on how they pronounce words in English, then go ahead.
"Fuck these chains
No goddamn slave
I will be different"
~ Machine Head
spectre is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
Nobody Loves Me
Location: Irish In Madrid
9 months ago I moved to Madrid from Ireland, I still dont speak the language that well partly coz I work alot & its all in English & partly coz Im a lazy sack of shit.
In my experience people respond positively when I speak Spanish & when a Spanish person attempts to speak English I take it as a compliment.
Things may be different in your situation but thats my dos centimos.
Music is my first love & It will be my last.
Magpie0001 is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 02:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
Tilted Cat Head
Cynthetiq's Avatar
Location: Manhattan, NY
I'm a fan of the immerssion method for English.. but we are talking about a second language here.

One time in Queens park I watch a spanish speaker talk to another in english only to have the second spanish person chastise him and demand he speak spanish so that they could be private, never of course thinking that me and my wife both speak Spanish very well. I found it a bit reprehensible but then again.. more power to them.

I have cousins born and raised here in the US and they speak Tagalog (filipino for those that don't know) and sometimes they try to talk to me in Tagalog. I only speak to my grandparents in Tagalog because of respect for them. As for the rest of the family, I speak to them in english. My native born cousins here have some pretty thick accents and IMHO I think that it set them back a bit because they cannot articulate well. I see even people with Brooklyn/Queens/Bronx accents not do well. Aiight?

Now when I speak to some of these other flips in the city. I'll sometimes will speak to them like a local. Why? I dunno.. keeps me skills up. As far as looking for a discount.. eh.. if they wanna give one.. they will give one.

Now my wife.. she doesn't speak Tagalog... so when grandma and grandpa are talking it's my duty to translate for her. Or ask that they speak in english because IMO I think it's rude to not include someone in the conversation that is in the room.
I don't care if you are black, white, purple, green, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hippie, cop, bum, admin, user, English, Irish, French, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, indian, cowboy, tall, short, fat, skinny, emo, punk, mod, rocker, straight, gay, lesbian, jock, nerd, geek, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, either you're an asshole or you're not.
Cynthetiq is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
Location: Texas
My wife speaks 6 languages (Is carribean spanish) and I speak 4. None of them include any asian languages, but as of late I've been learning some Thai from a friend of mine from there. I've learned this much... If they are speaking the language and you can speak it, it's cool. If not, it certainly isn't safe to assume that they speak a certain language. We went to a Thai restaraunt locally, my friend and I and greeted them soundly and properly in Thai. They looked at me as if I were on drugs... come to find out, they're not Thai at all.. (DOH) by the same token, around my wife's family, I am free to speak Spanish, spanglish, and even German with her father, who speaks all of the above. The German is only understood by the 2 of us in the room, so it's kind of a fun special thing to tease the others. My poor Thai friend gets very confused at times because my wife and I, and the kids as well, have a tendancy to switch languages midstream, as much for practice and effect as anything else. Her English is decent for a conversation, but our slang, changing between French, English, Spanish, and Russian (mostly the wife and kids) throws her badly because she's not always aware when we change, or what we've changed to... We have made an effort not to do that around her, as it's impolite.. IN a lot of ways worse than whispering, since it implies that we are intentionally excluding someone from the conversation. Just be careful not to assume based on appearances. Here in TX there are a lot of hispanics that do not speak a word of spanish, and I'd wager well that that applies to most races across the nation!
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies
like a banana.
toxic515 is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 03:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
Big Julie
I'd think that once you begin to frequent these shops, and hear the employees speaking amongst themselves, you will know who speaks what. Tell them you are learning the language, and would like to practice.
I'm sure they would also appreciate your letting them know that you can understand them.
Old 05-14-2003, 08:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
Location: Baltimore
My spanish teacher in HS was originally from Brazil. He had a story from when he first started travelling abroad, and he found himself in France for a number of months. He presented himself to people he met with a pre-memorized paragraph.

Hello, my name is {name} and I'm trying to learn your language. At this time this is all that I have mastered, but I'm expanding my skills every day.

And each day he would learn something new to add to his introduction. After a while that first paragraph was upwards of 4 minutes long.

When I worked in the Hotel Industry (in the balt/wash area) I wound up using my spanish a lot more frequently, but I typically reserved it for when I was joking around with clients. I found that relaying instructions/orders to people in their native tongue usually didn't go over too well, unless they were trying to play the 'No Hablo Ingles' game with me...
I'm married now, so the only thing in my house that pulls out now is the couch.
reverendjay is offline  
Old 05-14-2003, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
Cracking the Whip
Lebell's Avatar
Location: Sexymama's arms...
My spanish is so limited, I usually only speak it when I'm talking to someone who's english is even poorer. It came in VERY handy when I was the safety manager at a meat plant, as 90%+ of the workers were no english speaking mexican immigrants.

I do know enough to get my meaning across, but it's still painful.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." C. S. Lewis

The ONLY sponsors we have are YOU!

Please Donate!
Lebell is offline  
Old 05-15-2003, 02:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
Army of Me
Ganguro's Avatar
Thank you for all your responses. When my girlfriend and I were out in the area a few minths ago, looking for an apartment we did some grocery shopping to help save $$ during out stay. That's kind of how wee found this place. The clerks who worked in a few of the stores and eateries there were all mostly speaking japanese so i assume they speak it pretty much all the time. I just didnt want to make any cultural mistakes next time shopped there.

Also i wanted to avoid the "look the dog can talk" effect.. That's when you get startled looks when you speak someone's language and they dont expect you to be able to understand them. My prebious girlfriend was Puerto Rican and I took spanish in school for like 14 years. When i met her grandfather and he started telling her in spanish that i was a nice boy, and i replied "thank you, i think you are nice as well" you could have heard a pin drop in that household. Gor the rest of the day I was asked by various relatives " how did you learn to speak spanish?" It got kind of annoying...

Cynthetiq.. Growing up my best frined was 1/2 filipino and my last roommate was too. I learned a lot of tagalog.. unfortunately none of it is anything i can say in public
Ganguro is offline  
Old 05-15-2003, 01:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
Location: Toronto
Toxic 515, you remind me of the scene in Boondock Saints where Willem Dafoe is questioning the brothers, and they speak to eacother in russian, german, italian, spanish etc. , switching languages for every sentence.
I wish I could be like that.
wakelagger is offline  
Old 05-16-2003, 01:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
Eccentric insomniac
Slims's Avatar
Location: North Carolina
I say only try to speak another language when you are unable to communicate in english, lest you insult the person whom you are talking to by implying that you can speak better spanish/japanese than they can english. After you get to know them, I am sure it would be ok and flattering if you were to practice your language skills with them, but initially at least, stick to english.
"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence
Slims is offline  
Old 05-18-2003, 05:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
Location: Boone,NC
You can always ask? It would be great for you to be able to see what they think, but be wary of seeming to show off
ally is offline  

language, speak

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:31 PM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360