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A Small Disaster!
October 5, 2011
16:42
JWood424
CT, USA

Experienced Language Hacker
Forum Posts: 228
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July 9, 2011
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I live in an area of the US where there are quite a few Spanish speaking people, however sometimes it is easier to recognize these people right away, while other times, it's tough to tell.  I had to laugh a little at Benny's Facebook post about how easy it is to find Spanish speakers in the US, as last night I hit a bump in my journey to speak Spanish.

I went to dinner with my brother at a pizza restaurant, which would typically be run by Italian families around here.  While we were eating, I was discussing my attempts to both improve my Spanish and learn Italian all at once.  He was impressed with my level of Spanish and told me the only Spanish he was able to pick up was in the forms of swears and slang from the kitchen workers in the restaurant where he worked. 

While we were eating, we overheard our waitress talking with the kitchen staff and despite speaking perfectly clear English to us at our table, she was speaking fluently in Spanish with her coworkers.  I mustered up the courage, and the next time she visited our table, I stuttered out, "Hablas español?" (You speak Spanish?)  I was hoping this would give me the chance to further impress my brother while having a chance at speaking a bit with a native, however, while she responded "Si" (yes) she continued speaking in English after that.  I was a little disappointed, but made one more attempt as we left the restaurant by offering "Tengas un buen noche!" (Have a good night) but slipped up myself by actually saying "Tengas un buen notte" (night in ITALIAN!)  She understood and politely said "thank you," but I felt like crawling under the table after that.  Upon returning home, my fear subsided and I could have given a speech in Spanish had I wanted to, but when faced with a real opportunity to speak, I froze.  Had she been more receptive, I wonder how it would have gone?  Anyone else face similar problems?

Speaks: English Learning:  Spanish    Wants to add: Portuguese  If you´re bored and want to follow my progress, check out: http://jaimito424.wordpress.com/ 
October 5, 2011
22:04
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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July 15, 2011
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It happens man but don't let it get to you. You confronted her while she was working which possibly explains why she switched back to English so quickly. I am a very friendly person and love talking to people but sometimes hours into my double shift I am not particularly in the mood to talk to anyone. I, as a proletariat, in the past tried to have conversations with people in different languages while at work and have my boss give me shit about it because I was taking too long. Maybe during your visit she was in a hurry or she thought that you were hitting on her; who knows.

Your Spanish-Italian mishap happens when you learn two languages at the same time especially ones as closely related as Spanish and Italian, you're bound to mix something up now and again. No worries, you'll get it eventually.

My advice to you: Next time you eat there ask for her to be your server and give her a generous tip (like 25-30%). Believe me, I've been a server on and off for years and we always remember the clients who tip well. Next time you go in she will likely remember you and more likely to give you more attention. If you can, go there on a weekday around 3-4pm when it's slow so that you can spend more time speaking with her and explain, in Spanish of course, that you only want to speak in Spanish and I'm sure that she'd be more than happy too. 

 

We all face these problems and that is what makes language learning so rewarding. Keep it up!

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
October 5, 2011
22:06
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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P.S. I wouldn't call it a disaster because stuff like this happens regularly during the language learning process.

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
October 5, 2011
22:10
Alasdair
Canterbury, England

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July 28, 2011
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Kevin's advice sounds pretty sound

 

Just make sure she doesn't get the impression you're tipping because you want a date or something (unless you do, of course) 

October 6, 2011
00:24
Randybvain
Cheltenham, UK

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August 2, 2011
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All the time, all the time…

I remember that once I worked in a shop in Gdańsk and one pretty girl came, she spoke English, so I asked her where was she from. So she answered that she was from Ireland. So I asked her Tá Gaeilge agat? - You speak Irish? She was confused, but after a while answered - Yes. And then I understood that I made a mistake, I should have said An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? Do you speak Irish? I was sooo frustrated – to find an Irish native in Poland and botch ityell

Native: Polski | Fluent: English Cymraeg  Français | Elementary and beginner: LATĪNVM Русский
I learned also a bit: Ελληνική γλώσσα Словѣньскъ Gaeilge I would like to learn: Català Deutsch Lietuvių 官话 Kaszëbsczi jãzëk
Polska strona języka walijskiego

The Minstrel's Glade

October 6, 2011
07:42
JWood424
CT, USA

Experienced Language Hacker
Forum Posts: 228
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July 9, 2011
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I told my co-workers my story this evening at work (in Spanish of course) and they laughed at me a bit.  While I was not intentionally flirting with the girl, it certainly came across that way.  And Kevin, I bet you are right on with your point that she was probably tired after a long shift.  We were two of the last customers.  I too know how it feels after a long day at work to have someone speak another language towards you and you want nothing more than to turn the other way.  It's definitely a learning process, but thanks for the feedback.  I definitely need to get back out there and try again, but with a little more preparation first.

Speaks: English Learning:  Spanish    Wants to add: Portuguese  If you´re bored and want to follow my progress, check out: http://jaimito424.wordpress.com/ 
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