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Jimmy 1st May 2006 05:53 AM

Please and Thankyou in Spain
Hi Ben and Marina,

When I was visiting my cousin in La Coruña in 1998 - everyone (the Spanish) kept telling me not to be so polite - "stop saying please and thankyou all the time" spanish teacher (una catalana) said also - "please and thankyou are not used as often as in english" - except for big favours, receiving gifts etc. But between say a family it's all - pass the salt, get me a cup of tea, give me it etc. without the social niceties on either end. It's very difficult, being an english speaker, to remove these when I speak spanish. I know it is fine to keep them in my conversation, but just wondering deep down in the cultural heart of it all, does it make you sound more foreign to keep the please and thankyou? - and also, how would you differentiate in spanish asking for something in a more stern and forcefull manner (in english you would leave out the please and thankyou - but they are already gone in the spanish method)?

Thanks, O0

Alan 1st May 2006 09:47 AM

It's all in the tone of voice.

Ben 1st May 2006 04:34 PM

A lot of it is definitely in the tone of voice. And it´s true that we do use please and thankyou way more than the Spanish do. Sometimes the Spaniards use 'anda' to make a request more friendly - pasame es sal, anda. Ponme un cafe, anda.... it's a bit like a casual 'please'. I think Marina is the one to really answer this question...

Marina 1st May 2006 09:46 PM

If you feel more confortable using please and thank you in Spanish it's fine you don't really have to worry about it. And as a Spaniard I think is good to be polite and ask with please when in a Shop, Restaurant etc. However is true that I don't tend to thank my family members unless they do a speciall favour for me, like watering the plants when we are on holiday or picking us from the airport, but not If my parents invite us for lunch at their house (instead I might say the food was delicious) and definately not if I ask them to pass the salad while eating.

Two examples to show you the Spanish normal way and the forcefull manner:

¿Me pasas la sal?

Pasame la sal!

outpostbabu 2nd May 2006 02:26 AM

I've also wondered this, usually forgetting to say "por favor" when making requests in Spain. How about things like "quiero" vs "yo querría" vs "deseo"? Is it looked down upon if you (as I often do) go with the first thing that comes to mind? "quiero un café" for example? Maybe this is a good topic for a podcast.

Brian 2nd May 2006 12:56 PM

I would add that in our extended family, we soften the formality of "please" by shortening it to "porfa".

And, as Ben would say that "anda" is a little more casual, it should definitely not be used in a situation where manners should be used.

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