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Ain't it Strange

 
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1818
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:24 am    Post subject: Ain't it Strange Reply with quote

I got to thinking that despite being here 10 years, there are somethings that I'll never really get used to. Among these are:

- The formal/informal paradox. In a country where informality is the norm, I still feel a little uncomfortable with the extreme politeness sometimes shown, e.g. Always asking permission to leave elevators, cross a room, etc ("Con permiso"). Having to say goodbye to everyone on leaving a party.

- Having to be careful when using my very British humour (anything goes), and generally unintentionally offending people who take the humour literally

- Being called "Joven"

I'm sure there are others, but to kick off this thread and the forum, does anyone have any other thing that takes a lot of getting used to?
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9393
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've enjoyed the formality that comes with such exchanges. Rather pleasant to say buenos dias/tardes/noches to just about anyone. It's crossed into my English I notice when I'm at home in Canada.

Using joven I still can't do. Does anyone ever call you patron, Phil?

I can't get used to not lining up at a store or counter. Or rather, why some places have lines and others don't.
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1818
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Does anyone ever call you patron, Phil?


Only when they want me to be their patrķn, i.e. when they want money!

I got the reverse shock when I went to England, in that nobody shook hands. We just don't do it in England, except in a business situation, but it seemed strange!
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:

Using joven I still can't do. Does anyone ever call you patron, Phil?

.


I bet you`ll like it less when they start calling you Don......I actually like being called Jefa, hehe, not so crazy about Doņa.

I hate when people but in front of you in line or while waiting to buy something and even though the person behind the counter, or stand, knows it, they still go ahead and take care of them first. I usually walk away and don`t go back for a while. Sometimes that actually helps, sometimes doesn`t.

I don`t care for tu-usted, it seems too much to fall along social class lines. On the other hand, I don`t like being called tu in a store by a smart ass 16 year old.
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1818
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I bet you`ll like it less when they start calling you Don......I actually like being called Jefa, hehe, not so crazy about Doņa.


Actually, at 48 years old, I don't mind!

Quote:
I don`t care for tu-usted, it seems too much to fall along social class lines. On the other hand, I don`t like being called tu in a store by a smart ass 16 year old.


Yeah, strange one that. Can be used (ud.) both for respect, or for putting distance between you and a supposed inferior. As I don't use it too much, I have to remember to use the right conjugations - oiga & mire, not oye & mira, and referring to someone you are talking to as "lo" seems like talking about another person!
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
Guy Courchesne wrote:

Using joven I still can't do. Does anyone ever call you patron, Phil?

.


I bet you`ll like it less when they start calling you Don......I actually like being called Jefa, hehe, not so crazy about Doņa.

I hate when people but in front of you in line or while waiting to buy something and even though the person behind the counter, or stand, knows it, they still go ahead and take care of them first. I usually walk away and don`t go back for a while. Sometimes that actually helps, sometimes doesn`t.

I don`t care for tu-usted, it seems too much to fall along social class lines. On the other hand, I don`t like being called tu in a store by a smart ass 16 year old.


Where I live, I get called seņora (which I´m not fond of) and sometimes seņorita (which I like better), but never doņa or jefa.

I hate the butting up in line thing too. This happened to me once at the pharmacy counter in Sanborn's. The young clerk was looking for something for me behind the counter, when a sort of bossy lady came up and started asking her for something. The idiot clerk stopped what she was doing (for me) and started helping her. I very politely, but firmly, said that I was next to be helped to the new customer, who backed off immediately, and the clerk then went back to me. I have no idea why these things happen. I would have thought that clerks in a "nice" store like Sanborn's would be better trained in customer service Rolling Eyes !

I kind of like the tú - usted difference. It is an essential part of the language and culture, and it's much more than a social class differentiator. It's also a way to show respect to an older person and is a way of being polite to anyone your age or older who is a stranger or not a friend or relative. If a smart-ass 16-year-old-in-a-store addressed me as , I would come back with usted!
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9393
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I for one am looking forward to Don...I plan to dress the part with panache too.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1101
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm frequently called Doņa--does that mean I should start dying my hair?

(Most likely it's regional and/or relationship based. I don't recall ever being called Doņa by a total stranger, and it's almost always followed by my first name, Doņa Melee.)
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Random strangers saying 'salud!' then waiting for you to say 'gracias!' so they can say 'de nada!' still seems like a waste of precious moments of my life but there you go.
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mejms



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite being relaxed and in general having a carefree attitude towards life, Mexicans are speed demons on the road. Flashing their headlights, turning on their left blinker, tailgating at 140 kph. Drives me crazy (no pun intended).
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1101
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, mejms--so true. Road Rage is rampet in Mexico. It doesn't matter if it's big city or small town. I think people fail to realize that the traffic as a whole is a system and they are part of that system. They seem to think all the other cars are their just to annoy them.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9393
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
turning on their left blinker


do you mean while coming up behind you tailgating? If someone does this in front of you, it is a signal to those behind that it is okay to pass on a two-lane road.
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mejms



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
Quote:
turning on their left blinker


do you mean while coming up behind you tailgating? If someone does this in front of you, it is a signal to those behind that it is okay to pass on a two-lane road.


I've heard of people using their left blinker to signal that you can pass, but as much as I drive around here, I've only seen that once in several years. And God knows there are a lot of chilangos around here. I was referring to tailgating.

Quote:
yes, mejms--so true. Road Rage is rampet in Mexico. It doesn't matter if it's big city or small town. I think people fail to realize that the traffic as a whole is a system and they are part of that system. They seem to think all the other cars are their just to annoy them.


The only way that I used to be able to fathom this was thinking that people were just a**holes, but I've come to realize that people are oblivious. I would say that those driving like this in Mercedes, Hummers, and BMWs feel entitled, but I see people in Chevys and Tsurus doing the same thing. It seems to me that same attitude towards not using car seats or seatbelts, having kids standing up and leaning forward into the front seat, people riding in the back of trucks at 120 kph, and kids even putting their heads out the window while Mommy's driving-- I'd say the reason for all this is the same reason for driving like a reckless idiot. Just obliviousness. I simply can't stand it. It's probably the number 1 thing that irks me about living here, probably because I spend so much of my time on the road for work.
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Adela



Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: informalities? Reply with quote

In my village, foreigners are called "guera/o, guerita/o :? :? "...I'm dark skinned and still called this, especially in the mercado.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1101
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I live, the market people refer to EVERYONE as guera/o. It's just what they do--even locals, even darker than normal locals. I used to be constantly looking around to see who was talking to me because all the market venders where saying guera, guerita. But then I noticed they called my mother-in-law that too and she was no where near "guera".
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