Jan. 22nd, 2017

vinceconaway: (Default)
It´s interesting and revealing to notice things that I screw up in languages that aren't my mother tongue. A lot of things that give me trouble in Spanish come from my muddy thinking in English. Times of day throw me, for example, but when I say ¨good evening¨ before noon it has a different connotation: in English I look distracted or ditzy, in Spanish I just seem ignorant.

Another such example is when to say ¨please¨ and ¨thank you¨. ¨Would you like some coffee?" "Yes, thank you" is often how I would respond, and it's wrong in Spanish. Arguable, it's wrong in English too, and this is where things get revealing. I hear "please and thank you" a lot as a shorthand, and it's always been somewhat irksome for me since it cuts short what could be vital social lubrication through polite manners. Still, it illustrates a larger point that we, as a culture, have lost touch with some very basic manners.

Thankfully, I'm getting an ever-clearer picture on how to change this in my own habits as I embarrass myself on other stages.

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