HomeQ&AWill my poor Spanish offend? For Mexican citizens especially

Will my poor Spanish offend? For Mexican citizens especially

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I am traveling to Playa del Carmen in two weeks. My Spanish is very limited but I'm trying to learn it properly. Will I offend the local citizens if I attempt a few sentences, then ask if they speak English? Or should I just keep quiet?

Voy a viajar a Playa del Carmen en dos semanas. Mi espan~ol es muy limitado, pero estoy tratando que aprender correctamente. Ofendere' el gente local si hablo un poco espan~ol, entonces preguntare' si hablan ingle's? O deberi'a guardar silencio?

Sorry about the tildes. I can't seem to figure out how to use them when posting to this site.

Thank you for your advice.
Gracias por su consejo.

5874 views
updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by keybordrfm

10 Answers

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Well Steve it has been more than 2 weeks since she posted that lets just hope that her vacation went well!

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by eric_collins
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Remember after a couple cervezas your Spanish or your perception of your Spanish will get much better. Its seems after a couple of beers your inhibitions loosen and you are willing to try phrases that you wouldn't sober. And if you buy your bar mates a beer or two their acceptance of your Spanish will become even more accommodating. This technique works even better with Sangria. Even in Germany they would appreciate your attempts at speaking the language, but in order to facilitate the business transaction or conversation they would cut to English.

updated JUL 26, 2009
posted by Steveabn
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Thanks. I know I was warned when I went to France that the people there don't like Americans speaking French badly. I hope the people in Mexico don't mind that I'm not even close to fluent. I'm trying very hard to learn, but it's been decades since I had Spanish in school, and I don't learn as fast as I used to. I don't want to try their patience, but I don't really have anyone here to practice with ahead of time. Anyway, I know we'll have a great time.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate your thoughts.
I read that Germany is similar that if you are not good at speaking German they will just speak to you in English. But in my experiences, with Spanish and English speakers, we respect people for making an attempt at our languages. My Spanish isn't that great but when I use it at work they help me and try to speak to me in it to make it better, just like they know little English but they are learning so I help them if they have a question about words English. I'm sure you will be fine.

updated JUN 24, 2009
posted by brandon2
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Try to speak Spanish the most you can. Many people like me don't ever have the chance to go abroad where English is spoken. And have a good trip.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by Pablo_
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Muchas gracias a todos por su consejos. Thank you all very much for your advice. Annie, have a great trip to Costa Rica. Toni, especially thank you for your insight. I will feel better about asking them if they speak English, and I will be careful not to talk too fast or use non-standard phrases. But I will also have fun trying out my minimal Spanish here and there. Thanks everyone!

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by keybordrfm
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Siendo Playa del Carmen un importante destino turístico encontrarás que muchos prestadores de servicios pueden comunicarse en inglés. No ofenderás a nadie al preguntar si hablan tu idioma. Si decides comunicarte en inglés trata de no hablar rápido y sobre todo usa el inglés más estándar posible.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by AntMexico
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I know exactly how you feel - this time next week I will be in Costa Rica and hopefully what I've learned here at Spanishdict.com will stand me in good stead.
Keybordrfm - good luck - and have a fantastic time!

Annie.

updated JUN 21, 2009
posted by nonombre
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HI Key, I am from Spain, and lazarus will confirm, we always like a person who at least tries to communicate in Spanish smile People will sure prefer that to your directly addressing them in English like taking for granted that they should know. I would recommend you speak Spanish , the level or proficiency is really quite unimportant.

Lo importante es intentarlo y te deseo mucha suerte y unas buenas vacaciones en México. grin

updated JUN 20, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Thanks. I know I was warned when I went to France that the people there don't like Americans speaking French badly. I hope the people in Mexico don't mind that I'm not even close to fluent. I'm trying very hard to learn, but it's been decades since I had Spanish in school, and I don't learn as fast as I used to. I don't want to try their patience, but I don't really have anyone here to practice with ahead of time. Anyway, I know we'll have a great time.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate your thoughts.

updated JUN 20, 2009
posted by keybordrfm
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I think you are worrying too much about what's going to happen. Just be natural and practice your Spanish if you feel like it. Maybe if people see that you are trying you'll make some friends that want to help you.

updated JUN 20, 2009
posted by 00b83c38
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