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Good Morning, Gringos . . .

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 11:53 am
I had been contemplating a thread with the topic i will introduce, but had hesitated--however, a trip to my gas station convenient store has decided the issue for me. When i arrived there, prominently displayed by the check-out counter was a Nestles candy display. It advertises "Caje . . . " well, i can't remember the names, but it advertises candy bars which are popular in Latin America--such as Carlos V, and Carlos V Blanco.

NAFTA has numerous faults, dog knows, but taken all-in-all, i think it has been a good thing for North America. In Canadia, of course, most things appear in French and English (not all, though, despite what Lovey likes to tell me, i see plenty of English only signs and advertising). Here in the U.S., i've seen items for years with text in English and Spanish, English and French, and, most rarely, English, Spanish and French.

What is striking to me is the influx of Spanish speakers into central Ohio. I switched to a credit union for better rates and fees, and our credit union has never missed a trick with the Spanish speakers. The Spanish-speaking population of our area has grown ten-fold in as many years. At the Credit Union, there is a display of brochures in Spanish as large as, and as prominently displayed as that which is in English. They have several ATM locations, of course, and the ATM at the branch which i frequent is in Spanish, although there is an option for English ("Se habla inglese--pressar 2" -- or something to that effect--i am, sadly, not a proficient speaker of Spanish).

Fortunately, the bag of Dolly Madison Mini-crullers was printed in English, so i was able to get a healthy, nutritious lunch . . .

What have been your experiences?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 7,462 • Replies: 39
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 12:22 pm
English is the international language so we in the US need not worry about seeing other languages in use in print or use in our county. Other langauges can only enhance this our knowledge. A simile is the accents of the natives of this country (Mexicans are native Americans). Lots of times when I first moved to Virginia I had no idea of what people were saying because I did not understand Southern, then I had to learn Baltimorian, next Philly and Pittsburghian. And New Yorkese. Ohioan is also very strange. Confused

My failure to learn Spanish as a child has hindered me as an adult I believe. I live at least half my life and almost all of my childhood 6 miles north of Tijauna, Baja California, and do not speak the language. Can use some words correctly read some. But how embarassing, Embarrassed what was I thinking in not learning Spanish. Now at my age I spend laborious time trying to learn the language, Sad this is one area if kearning that wanes with age, learning to think in, converse in, and write in spainish is not impossilbe for me, just really difficult. And worse I see the kids just zoom through it. Laughing
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 10:04 pm
IMO, a bilingual (or even multilingual) society is a consummation devoutly to be wished. And in the case of Spanish in the United States, there is a historical reason why this should come about. In fact, I'll make it stronger -- we have a moral obligation to encourage Spanish-speakers, not just tolerate them. Virtually all of the American Southwest was a part of Mexico prior to 1848. We took all that immense territory as war reparations. Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony prior to 1898. We acquired it and never allowed it to become independent, as we did with Cuba. We have no moral right to force these decsendants of a conquered people to adopt English as their primary language.

Y gracias, Setanta, para vuestro contribucion.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 11:02 pm
Hmm, I agree with everybody. I relate to Joanne, I lived in LA for decades, some of my best friends are (oh never mind), but I grew up in the fifties in a sheltered way, living with my parents at my aunts, going to a school I had to take two buses to, and learning Latin. Now I am glad I learned Latin, see just see how useful to me it is in everyday spelling, but I wish I had had also been able to take Spanish and French. My school only offered French, which I didn't take since I deemed myself material for absorbing Cicero and Virgil, cough. In college I took a semester of German, so now I am not frightened by funny letters, but that is about it. In deep middle age I started in with Italian, and I can read it to some extent but am molasses-y in speaking. Some friends spoke Spanish well, and when we all went to Mexico they did most of the talking. I understood the gist of a lot of it but could never really communicate myself past asking for directions and a few conversational bits.

I took it once in a night class at and left after one class because after three hours we only learned to say one to ten. I should have stayed, maybe I would have gotten it.

I also agree with Joanne about enjoying the enrichment of the flow of language back and forth here. And agree with Merry Andrew's comments on Mexico's loss of the southwest and the language implications.

Irish and Chinese and Scandinavian...I wish we all knew more of the immigrant languages. I wish many family names hadn't been modified on arrival... I like the richness of the american culture in my home town of Los Angeles.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 11:17 pm
Around 40% of English is derived from French. I wonder if similar statistics will one day be said of Spanish.

I love languages and am a bit sad that soon I'll be living in one of the most monolingual countries in the world. I like living in countries where multiple languages are spoken. Everywhere I go English is the second language so I get to live in at least two cultures. I hope that we will open up to more languages stateside. It's a pity that the fact that immigration (as opposed to music and other cultural influences) being the predominant cultural influence on America makes the foreign languages resented at times.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Nov, 2002 06:01 am
I think of the vast stores of literature and learning in the other than English language and wish I knew them all. But, heck, at 60 I am just now learning English.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 03:33 pm
This morning watching the news I say the Iraqi Ambassador to the UN go from English to French in the blink of an eye.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 03:35 pm
Gringo - grin·go Pronunciation Key (grngg) n. Offensive Slang pl. grin·gos. Used as a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 05:12 pm
The origin of the term "gringo" is said to be as follows: When the United States of the River Plate (Los Estados Unitos del Rio del Plata)--Argentina--first achieved their independence, the United States sent naval vessels there on a regular basis, to help them prevent the Spanish from landing to retake the territory, and, later, in a failed bid to help them take the "Malvinas" (Falkland) islands. The most popular song of the day, and one that the sailors and marines sang often enough to impress it on the memory of the locals was "Green Grow the Lilacs" -- you can figure the rest out for yourself, including how the term fell into disrepute.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 05:27 pm
It's great, man. I love tamales at Christmas.

And that's not meant to be flip, either. I really do. My grandpa moved from north Texas to the California central valley after the war, where he grew about half an acre of corn in the backyard and kept bees. A good chunk of his corn always went to Mrs. Chivera, who in turn would bring over heaps of completely homemade tamales (okay, I don't think she slaughtered the cow, but she did grind the cornmeal) on Christmas day. And if that exchange wasn't the heart of the hope of the West, I don't know what is.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 05:42 pm
that sounds great, Boss, there is nothin' like Mamacita's tamales . . . we used to stop in little town's in mexico just to sample the local product . . .
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 05:53 pm
I was once told by a Tex-Mex amigo that there actually is no such word as gringo. "It's actually just short for pinche-gringo," he said. (If you don't know any Hispanic gutter-slang, I'm certainly not going to translate that.)
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:10 pm
Nafta is great. We get Twix and Buttermilk and you can have all the Cajetoso and Carlos V you can consume. One exception: we will not export our Victoria beer.

Gringos, in Mexico, are only US citizens. Gabachos goes for other white foreigners (French and Canadians, mostly). Gachupines, or Gachupas, for Spaniards, and Sudacas for South Americans.
"Gringo" is the only nickname that became the "true" word, and it's so widespread it cannot be despective anymore. American-Mexicans (there are quite a few!) are quite proud of their Gringo heritage (they celebrate Thanksgiving, they eat their turkey, drink beer and watch American football).
in the meantime, we are careful not to say "gachupas" in front of a Spaniard and even more careful not to say "sudaca" in front of an Argentinian.

patiodog, I totally agree, if that ain't the heart of the hope of the west, I don't know what is, either.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:13 pm
Is it true that Argentines are the most despised of Latin Americans? (By other Latinos and Latinas, i mean.)
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:27 pm
Not at all the most despised: surely the most critisized.

They are the "nouveau poor", always bragging about their lost riches, and how great they were, and how stupidly humble the rest of Latin Americans are.

The Spanish speaking world is full of "Argentinian jokes".

-How does an Argentinian commit suicide?
-He jumps from the top of his ego.
-How does he die?
-The fall takes so long, he dies from starvation.


-Why did Gringos become so rich?
-They bought Argentinians at their worth, and sold them at the price the Argentinians thought they were worth.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:32 pm
Argentines are also the least "Latin" people of Latin America if I'm not mistaken.
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fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:41 pm
They're indeed very Latin. But they feel they're "European" Latins who happened to be born in the wrong corner of the world.

Honestly, I admire the personal self-confidence of the Argentinians. Some call it arrogance, but I find it helps them to cope. Besides, they're all very articulate.

Their big problem is not recognizing who they are, and suffering from that decades or centuries old "unrooting" from Europe.

Buenos Aires has, after New York City, the largest concentration of psychoanalist per capita in the world. One should have to ask why.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 08:44 pm
We've been called worse than Gringo for example gabacho!
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mayra
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2003 02:18 pm
que te pasa a vos???
Mira por que no te vas a donde ya sabes ,es mejor conocer primero y despues opinar y no meter a todos en la misma bolsa...sabes!!!????????
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mayra
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2003 02:20 pm
ahh que te pasa ??? arrugaste what I should say?? que todos los mexicanos son unos maricones!?????
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