Category Archives: Politeness

EOI Fuengirola: 25th Birthday! Any Contributions?

This year teachers and students are preparing things for our 25th Anniversary Celebration. Some people are preparing songs, videos, activities of various sorts… And this post is to mention one of them:

The Mag. Before we part in December, for the winter holidays, is the deadline to hand in contributions for a multimedia magazine we will publish towards the end of the course, to celebrate!

And, for instance, we would like to include the post here on “seseo” and “ceceo”, by Melania

I’m also collecting thoughts by students on what it’s meant for you to study a language or languages at this EOI. (And as you know, we need to turn any references to particular teachers, to a general reference to teachers, so it’s best if you sort that out yourselves! 🙂

I also wanted to tell you all that if you are interested in contributing, you can talk to your teacher — or post here, if it’s about topics that we can bring up in Loving Andalucía. For instance, misperceptions or negative generalizations on Andalucía or Spain, so we can help people learn to see reality! 😀

It would be great to have pieces by students on places worth visiting in Andalucía, for instance! You can write an article, or do a more literary piece, or you can record an audio or video!

I’m also going to write a piece on politeness in Spain, so foreigners can learn about our culture and respect it. If you have ideas for this, or things you’ve observed, please, let me know. The piece could be cooperative writing! 🙂

Advertisements

More questions on being loud (Protest)

Aren’t people in Britain loud when they get together? We all know about how loud people in British pubs are — whether we’ve been to Britain or to a British pub in Spain. Many are also loud when they are on holidays abroad. Locals know a lot about this.

So what’s the problem when local people are loud in bars in Spain? Perhaps it’s rare (not very frequent), because locals are mostly not having drinks with friends, but working, in places where tourism is the source of income. Could it be because they laugh more or louder?

Why do business people exert such tolerance when foreigners are loud and feel free to mimick foreigners’ disgust when locals are loud? The answer is rather sad.

Beyond stereotypes, it seems that groups of friends are loud in many different cultures.

It’s OK one does not like loud people, but it’s not OK to notice other people are loud when you do the same thing.

About the problems of not learning the language of the country where you live

Dear teachers and students,

Today some of us met to celebrate a New House gathering (the first gathering in two years in our hosts’ house), and some foreign residents started shouting at midnight sharp: “Be quiet, please!! We want to sleep!!”. I’d like to communicate some ideas that might help foreign residents who exhibit a lack of knowledge of the culture here think twice before behaving so rudely.

Cultural tips for foreigners living in Costa del Sol

Foreigners living in Costa del Sol seem to have devoted little time to their education, which shows in their lack of appreciation and interest in the culture of the country they live in.

When a Spanish neighbor has guests, and they are celebrating something, and you want them to be silent, don’t be rude and shout you please want to sleep, particularly if your neighbor doesn’t usually have guests. What Spanish people do, to avoid being rude to their neighbours’ guests, is call the hosts and tell them about the problem you have (not being able to sleep because they are having a party). The hosts reply might be: “Sorry for the noise, but we’ve organized this for Saturday night, and we’re celebrating something important, so please, be patient”. Or “OK, sorry. We’ll make less noise.” When the reason for wanting to sleep is an important exam, or a pressing situation, the hosts will probably say, “OK, sorry, we’ll tell people to leave now”. It would be a conversation, communicating – not You informing them and they doing what you want them to do.

Making your neighbors’ guests feel unwelcome is one of the rudest things you can do. It’s aggressive. So the approach is not about Your Rights. The approach is about tolerance, being good neighbors and learning to live together.

Mediterranean cultures are different to cultures in colder countries, and people from colder countries need to learn a bit about the culture of the country where they live, when it’s different to theirs – because the world can be seen and explained in many different ways, as cultural diversity in this planet shows.

So when people live abroad, learning the language is recommended because it helps to learn about the culture, and talk to and respect or even appreciate local people.

Let’s hope this posts helps foreign residents learn something that might help them consider that perhaps their alarm about Spaniards when Spaniards don’t behave like foreigners might just be a misperception due to their ignorance of what is happening and how to intervene in a civilized manner, culturally respectful, and not their idea that it’s Spanish people who are uncivilized and need foreigners’ reprimands.

About politeness

Sometimes people from other cultures think that Spanish people are not polite because they don’t say “please” and “thank you” as often as other people from other cultures. Politeness and kindness are expressed in different ways on this planet. In Spain, people often use the imperative for asking for something (“Give me this or that”), but their voice, their gestures, their humo(u)r, the famous “diminutivos” (a suffix that makes words “little” in a good way, like “-ita”, “-ito”, “-illo”, “-illa”) when it’s not a sexist use) often express politeness (Thanks, María, for reminding me of diminutives!) So not using “please” doesn’t necessarily mean you are being rude. In Spain, it’s kind, it’s polite to say hello and exchange a few words, even when you are a customer, when you want a good or a service.

politeness
Feria Ecocultura 2010

On the other hand, Spanish people also have the feeling that some foreigners are not polite. And here are some examples to illustrate why. When at the supermarket, foreigners living here, or spending their holidays here, are incapable of saying “hola” (hello), “dos bolsas, por favor” (two bags, please) or “gracias” (thank you) to the check out person. Even if Spanish-speakers try to speak English it is always kind, or polite, for foreigners to learn a few words at least. It shows you feel some basic respect for your hosts, or at least that is the feeling those hosts might get. Not saying a word in Spanish feels like when you travel abroad and reject food people offer you. Food is culture, and when we travel we need to be flexible and never say no to food that is being offered (unless there is some kind of problem, of course) because it feels as if you rejected the culture itself, its people.