Speaking Spanish in Spain

Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 04:54 AM
  #1  
LauraLamb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Speaking Spanish in Spain

Last year my family and I spent two weeks touring Spain. Before leaving we decided to try and acquire some knowledge of the language to use when we were there. We studied as a family for several months. When we got there, and tried to speak Spanish to the natives, they always replied in English. They did not give us a chance to speak Spanish. This was upsetting especially for the children who were so excited about using their knowledge. Also, the Spanish did not seem at all grateful that we took the time and effort to learn their language. I thought that was very rude.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 05:01 AM
  #2  
Becky
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We went to Spain last May. We knew enough Spanish to have a general conversation and order food/make purchases. We found in the city of Madrid, that people were just more impatient(as are most cities) with our slow Spanish, but the places we frequented warmed up after they saw we were really trying. In Andalucia, people are so used to English speaking tourists that most just automatically reply in English. However, if you go to small towns, off the beaten path--they are very receptive to your Spanish.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 04:07 PM
  #3  
Maira
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Many Spaniards spend a lot of time and time learning English so they can better serve a large sector of their tourist industry. Is their country, so more power to them if they can choose which language they prefer. I see nothing wroing with that. I speak Spanish, but was more than glad to chat in English with a storekeeper in Avila when she explained to me I was helping her with homework by practicing English. Did you mentioned you wanted to practice your Spanish? <BR><BR>Same happened to me in France, but I gathered I was probably butchering their language, so I just sucked it up.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 04:08 PM
  #4  
Maira
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
oops...time and money, that is....
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 02:02 AM
  #5  
LauraLamb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm sorry but I do feel that they should have taken the time to try and understand our attempts at Spanish. So many tourists in Spain launch in to English without even asking the natives if they speak it. I thought we were being polite in showing an interest in their culture but no appreciation whatsoever was shown by them for this. I thank you all for your comments and opinions.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 02:25 AM
  #6  
MH
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There are two distinct dialects in Spain: Castillan and Andulasion. My guess is that you were speaking high school spanish. If your course was as extensive as you say then what dialect were you taught? that could have been the language barrier. Also, many times when one wants to practice their spanish the spanish would like to practice his english. This happens all over Europe. I know that this was a disappointment as you obviosly really made an effort to mesh as much as possible. I give you a thumbs up for effort...but a thumbs down for calling them rude, as they probably get called alot worse for not speaking english. Americans can be very demanding when traveling abroad and get downright ugly when the French speak French,etc...
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 02:37 AM
  #7  
pedro
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There are more languages in Spain, other than castillian. At least galician, catalan and basque. May be you could explain to us where this happened.<BR>In Barcelona, Vigo or San Sebastian a situation like that you referred is more likely to occur than in Madrid.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 02:37 AM
  #8  
Andrea
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I encountered this situation when speaking French in Geneva when I first arrived (that people would reply in English). I think the situation I encountered is very similar to yours and I suspect that the reasons for the Spaniards' behavior was the same.<BR><BR>I think that there were two main reasons that people replied in English. <BR><BR>First, some people seemed to want to test out THEIR English. People mentioned this to me on more than one occasion.<BR><BR>Secondly, people figured out relatively easily that I was likely a native English speaker and were just trying to be nice or make the conversation flow more smoothly by replying in English. <BR><BR>I got around this by continuing to speak in French, and if necessary, to politely laugh, thank them for their patience with my French, and tell them I was trying to improve. <BR><BR>Of course, since my experience was in France, not in Spain, one could argue that it's not relevant, but I strongly suspect that the people you encountered in Spain were NOT trying to be rude, or to deprive you of a linguistic experience, but rather, were actually trying to be helpful.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 02:43 AM
  #9  
Andrea
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
(Um, yes, I do really know that Geneva is not in France. This happened to me both in Geneva and in Paris, but more frequently in Geneva since I lived there first and my French was worse - just oversimplified my recollections in the above post!!)
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 06:26 AM
  #10  
LauraLamb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We studied castillian Spanish and did so as a family for several months before embarking on our trip. Replying in English after we addressed them in Spanish was not the worst of it. They had a rather rude little habit of screwing up their faces and shrieking 'eh?' if they did not immediately get what we were saying. I'm sorry, but I do feel they should have acknowledged our efforts as visitors to their land, to speak their language. If you think about how much they rely on the tourist dollar, they shouldn't bite the hand that feeds them through ungratefulness.
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 04:08 PM
  #11  
dorothy mintner
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Prior to our recent trip to Spain my husband ,Walter( he's the brains of the outfit) obtained a Spanish phrase book and boned up on the language.<BR>Walter also spent many hours working alone with our Spanish speaking housekeeper, Rosa(the two of them are almost inseperable!).<BR>After all Walter's hard work and late-night toil with Rosa, those darn Spanish folks pretended not to understand a word that Walter spoke!<BR>
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 01:41 AM
  #12  
haha
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
&quot;El silencio de los corderos&quot;<BR>Favorite movie in Spain. No wonder...
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 05:43 AM
  #13  
x
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Having worked in tourism for some years I can say that there are a bit too many tourists that learn a few phrases of &quot;domestic&quot; language, pronounce them badly and expect reword for their &quot;effort&quot;.<BR><BR>Also, having learned some Spanish and used it for the first time in Spain, I can say that the reaction was generally positive and that some people could not be stopped speaking even when I lost the thread of the conversation!<BR>
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 10:03 AM
  #14  
LauraLamb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We thought as a family that it was very unfair of them not to give us a chance to use our Spanish. Especially as we ALWAYS took the time to correct the English (often bordering on the unintelligible) which was directed at us by the wait staff etc. On less serious note, one of the breakfast servers in our Madrid hotel on our first day there asked my husband whether he wanted tea or coffee. &quot;Tea please&quot; replied Larry... &quot;Tea please&quot; repeated the waiter as he poured it out. The same thing happened the following day and the next with this waiter being convinced that tea was actually called Tea Please.. what a hoot. From then on, we all called the waiter Tea Please!!! This was not the waiter who repeatedly accused my brother of being a chapero.
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 12:59 PM
  #15  
Graziella
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Never a problem speaking Spanish in Spain, What is this a joke?
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 03:55 PM
  #16  
Mary
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Laura, if you and your family want to practice your Spanish, come on down to Miami for your next vacation. You're almost expected to speak Spanish here, and believe me, no one will upset you by trying to speak English back to you!Myself, I'm concentrating on trying to improve my French.
 
Old Oct 30th, 2002, 05:36 PM
  #17  
Verdad
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mary is right! I routinely speak more spanish in Miami than I do in Spain or Mexico. It is amazing but true that less english is spoken in Miami than in at least the tourist areas of foreign countries. In fact, when visiting latino friends in Miami my wife and I are usually assumed to be latino too and assumed to speak spanish fluently. I actually find it fun but a little scary. I can say I am more conversant in spanish each time I visit.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2002, 05:07 AM
  #18  
Joyce
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It's hard to believe that everyone you spoke with knew English. Did you visit only tourist sites? <BR><BR>Earlier this year I visited Madrid, and frequently had to stop people in the streets, asking for directions. Almost no one spoke English. I was constantly being forced to speak in Spanish. This was very difficult, because despite several years of study, I do not speak Spanish well. <BR><BR>Of all the countries I have visited in Europe, the people in Spain seemed to have the least knowledge of English. By the end of my visit I had greatly improved my Spanish-speaking skills, but the experience was very stressful. It gave me new insights into what non-English-speaking immigrants to the USA must experience.
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
txtree
Europe
29
Jan 31st, 2015 08:01 PM
TravelerKaren
Europe
26
May 16th, 2014 01:16 PM
Alice9
Europe
22
Mar 22nd, 2013 11:33 AM
SueTGGR
Europe
16
Mar 28th, 2009 03:45 AM
zola
Europe
10
Sep 24th, 2004 05:19 PM

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 Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -