Jul 31, 2006, 3:07 PM
Post #8 of 17
Hmm, I think we have some misunderstanding here. Granted, as European I am used to more rigid rules and regulations (EU regulates for example the minimum size of cucumbers or strawberries that can be sold in EU territory, thus rendering some of the tastiest local variants illegal... unless you grow an consume them yourself; Sweden regulates even the minimum length of a hat shelf in an entryway to a single family home or an apartment and you won't get a house loan if the shelf length differes, or... horror of horrors, there is no proper entryway ... as is the case in most American style houses...), that is the case in the USA , which in itself, as I have learned here, is more "organized" than Mexico. I like the US flexibility better than European rigidity and don't see a reason why I would not like an even grater amount of freedom in Mexico.
Re: [esperanza] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...
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As a continental (vs English language native) European I am also used to languages, where, contrary to English, pronounciation is logical (? please, it's just a thought shortcut, don't you Bubba and company get defensive) vis a vis spelling. Spanish is such a language, and thus the rules that apply to other continental European languages should - logically - apply also to Mexican - and generally Latin American Spanish. I might be wrong - after all I am not a linguist by profession - I never studied linguistics, just languages and only for the purpose of being able to communicate in them.
Being from Poland, I was aware, that I would have many times run a risk of being treated in Western Europe - or even in the United States - like Mexican immigrants usually are in the USA: like a second (if not third) class citizen, and suffer the effects of prejudice in the form of more limited employment opportunities, lower incomes, limited social circles etc. etc., despite my education and expertise. Language for immigrants can be a tool to counter such prejudice, but you have to totally disregard local dialects and be aware that your vocabulary, grammar, syntax AND pronounciation identify you as a foreigner, but a highly educated foreigner, not an unskilled (what you Americans politically incorrectly call) "white trash".
Yes, I do learn with time to recognize regional differences, dialects, colloquialisms etc. but I personally try not to use them. People, especially educated people, like to think that they are liberal minded and prejudice free, but this is largely an illusion: many harbor subconscious prejudices and are quick to classify - to judge and misjudge on the basis of a first impression of a person: not only visual but speach related as well.
Being careful to use perhaps at times overly stuffy language served me very well in every country in which I lived: I have rarely -if ever - been discriminated on the basis of my national origin ( or my immigrant status), not in Sweden, not in Germany, not in UK or USA because - in addition to being "lillywhite" (I know it helps to be a very fairskinned blueeyed blonde - unfair, I know) I use language in a way a highly educated native uses it - albeit with a foreign twist. I have seen equally - or more - educated immigrants ( and equally "lillywhite") both in Europe and in the USA, who were treated like dirt, and denied opportunities, because their language was not up to "snuff" - their language made them sound uneducated.
Mind you, most natives, no matter what their upbringing, use a different language in official settings: at job interviews, presentations to clients (especially executive level clients), in classrooms (if they teach college), at official dinners, fundraisers etc. etc. And listening to Spanish language cassettes (maid in Spain) it was easy to tell a social class of a speaker: a coincidence? I don't believe it. So there is always a proper way ( or a way considered proper if we want to slit hairs) to use a language in order to be treated like an educated native and not trampled over. This is usually the language used by national newscasters, etc. It might have some local coloring in pronounciation and vocabulary, but it is easily recognizable as "model" use of language.
And that's what I ask about: about "the" model ( or "a" model, if there really are more than one models) rules. The local variations and colloquialisms are of a far lesser importance to me. My experience tells me that "proper" language is always understood, local dialect might or might not be. Thus I don't see it as lack of flexibility but as a sui generis insurance against possible prejudice.
P.S. Now, I'd like to challenge Irish to express it in 25 words or less.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!
(This post was edited by MariaLund on Jul 31, 2006, 3:19 PM)