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learning Spanish

learning Spanish

Old May 2nd 2008, 11:55 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

IMO the more formality you apply, the more barriers you create.
The Spanish are quite a happy go lucky bunch, they like to have a laugh and generally take the piss.
That's perfect for me because being from South Wales that's my natural way as well. It was always a concern to me that it would take some time to be able to get my personality over, but in reality it was probably only about 6-9 months.
Now I just tell them they're lazy stupid dagos....and they love it. They're actually very proud that they've qualified for a generic slang name. Give the men loads of abuse, give the women loads of compliments, and you got it cracked.
Keep it formal and you'll be forever on the outside looking in.
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Old May 2nd 2008, 11:57 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

You misunderstand me I think.

I'm not talking about maintaining formality, just extending politeness. As I say, it serves me well, and I tend to end up very friendly with a lot of people, where some UK expats don't manage to engage quite as well.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 12:33 am
  #33  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

I'm on the side of "usted". If a waiter, shop assistant, doctor, door to door salesman, council official or my childrens' friends on first meeting me address me as "usted" then I should do the same. After some first meetings "tu" would be established as the norm, in the case of my childrens' friends, but I still address a doctor, a waiter, a shop assistant or a council official as "usted".
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Old May 3rd 2008, 1:25 am
  #34  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Originally Posted by Fresita
I'm on the side of "usted". If [...] my childrens' friends on first meeting me address me as "usted" then I should do the same.
I'm certain you must be joking about the school kids, right? I call the doctor José and he calls me Guirilandes. The door to door salesman is just being extremely subservient in the hope of making a sale.

Originally Posted by bil
Hmmm. From that I would guess you speak it rather well. I find people who claim fluency (mostly) are talking complete sh*te, or else don't have a clue what fluency means.
I agree. A lot of the time it is someone who speaks zero talking about someone else that has the most basic communication skills but because those skills are greater than their own they believe the other person is fluent.

I put fluent right near the very top of the tree just below a true bilingual in so much as to say with a bilingual the language is completely transparent (i.e. the second language is not foreign) whereas a fluent would be an accomplished speaker but may have a slightly different personality or way of expressing himself in the foreign language.

Originally Posted by bil
Nice to find someone who treats the language with some respect. Me, I find grammar fascinating (which immediately marks me down as a sad anal git to many people) but it does help me learn the language.
Grammar is but one tool. For someone that is beyond the age of learning through acquisition alone it is helpful in constructing intelligible sentences but for the listening, reading and comprehension facets it is much less helpful. To improve skills here the only way is to read, listen and look up to improve vocabulary of not only words but also idioms.

Originally Posted by bil
Anyway, I do find that approaching strangers etc (ESPECIALLY officials) with Ud. does seem to gain me a slight advantage, as tho while it may not apply so much these days, appreciation of its existance gains you 'points' if you know what I mean?
bil, there are lots of ways to explain what you desire without using or Usted. Once you use either (along with an imperative or the present tense) you are already getting pretty close to the mark.

Last edited by bokeh; May 3rd 2008 at 1:28 am.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 2:12 am
  #35  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Bokeh,
I said my childrens' friends. I did not say that they were school children. My children are in their twenties.
Imho Doctors should be addressed as usted. As you have such a friendly relationship with your Doctor obviously that would not be the case.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 3:25 am
  #36  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Originally Posted by Fresita
My children are in their twenties.
If they call you Usted it is because they are being subservient to someone whom they consider to be their social superior, but you certainly do not call your kids friends Usted whatever age they may be and however they may address you.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 3:39 am
  #37  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Don’t sweat the detail. The Spanish are extremely forgiving and happily appreciate that you even try. My suggestion is buy the Michel Thomas 8 CD pack, a CD walkman or Ipod, and just work your way through it in say, two months with a fair amount of repetitive use.

Even then, don’t knock yourself out with being spot on. A lot of Almerian natives we’ve met have an appalling slur, miss out letters of words altogether etc, and who cares? (eg: Epannya, Buenadier)

Wade in and say what you can. Don’t freeze trying to be perfect. When I originally learnt French (late 70s/80s) I suffered from thinking I had to be perfect. You don’t.

gfi!
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Old May 3rd 2008, 4:08 am
  #38  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Hmmm. Interesting difference between politeness and subservience.

I certainly wouldn't consider it the latter.

As for detail and perfection, well it all depends on your take on the subject. For some, learning the language is a tool to get by, and why should they bother to learn any more than that.

For me, a language is more than a tool. I like to be forever polishing and improving it so that it fits better and better.

To illustrate in English, it's the difference between 'would you like', and 'do you want'. 'Different from', and 'different to', whether you use ' less than ten' or 'fewer than ten'.

If you can't understand the differences in English, then you are unlikely to give a sh*t about Spanish as a thing of beauty.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 5:37 am
  #39  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Bokeh,
If you read my first post I said "my childrens' friends on first meeting me" "First" being the operative word. Thereafter the "usted" is dropped.
Maybe I'm lucky and my children have nice, polite, Spanish friends who are aware of how they should behave.
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Old May 3rd 2008, 10:28 pm
  #40  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Originally Posted by Fresita
Maybe I'm lucky and my children have nice, polite, Spanish friends who are aware of how they should behave.
My children are polite and know how they should behave but they do not call there friends' mothers Usted.
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Old May 4th 2008, 12:42 am
  #41  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Now I remember why I usually read but seldom post. Back to the reading.
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Old May 4th 2008, 1:59 am
  #42  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Originally Posted by Fresita
Now I remember why I usually read but seldom post. Back to the reading.
Please do not go back to just reading as your posts are helpful and enlightening to many of us.

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Old May 5th 2008, 2:55 am
  #43  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Originally Posted by Fresita
I'm on the side of "usted". If a waiter, shop assistant, doctor, door to door salesman, council official or my childrens' friends on first meeting me address me as "usted" then I should do the same. After some first meetings "tu" would be established as the norm, in the case of my childrens' friends, but I still address a doctor, a waiter, a shop assistant or a council official as "usted".
When I first arrived the only language I shared with my landlord was French so "usted" didnt figure. After 4 yrs I told him I was leaving the flat as I had bought a house and he embraced me with a friendly "coño" so it seems we never got as far as Usted or Tu. I just called him José Luis
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Old May 5th 2008, 4:01 am
  #44  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

I think it all depends on use and context. I would always tho prefer to err on the side of politeness.
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Old May 5th 2008, 6:56 pm
  #45  
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Default Re: learning Spanish

Usted is used a lot more than people think, but without ever saying the "U" word. When you are asked "como esta" directly about yourself instead of a third person, usted is being used. It is just not so obvious, but when you are asked a question without the "S" on the verb, you are being spoken to in the formal way.
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