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Old 05-22-2012, 09:39 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,889 times
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I'm half Spanish and half Italian. I'm not from a family where any one ethnicity was pushed, like speaking in Spanish or Italian, hanging flags or making references to our background. We were just regular English speaking people who were born in the U.S.

I'm in Florida now but may be moving to San Antonio. I realize the Mexican culture is big there, which is great - have no problem with that. The problem I run across is that any time I visit the southwest part of the country, Spanish people who actually speak Spanish start talking to me in Spanish. I have no idea what they're saying and they get a real attitude about that. I don't understand it. We're in the U.S.! It seems like a huge assumption to make that anyone who might look Spanish just ran across the border and now they need to be spoken to in Spanish, so they understand or feel at home. Is this how it is in San Antonio?

When I went to Arizona and Nevada this happened. Yet, anywhere from Kansas, New York to Florida, I'm spoken to like the rest of the normal, U.S. English speaking population. I've even been around Cubans and Mexicans in Florida, who barely speak a word of English, and still they try and speak only English to me. Moderator cut: see comment Do retail people, clerks, waiters, etc. mostly speak English or will I have a tough time paying for things at stores? There are parts of Miami like this (Cubans) but they don't make the same assumptions about me or get hostile about me not being able to understand them.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 05-23-2012 at 12:59 AM.. Reason: Political/illegal immmigration questions must be discussed in the P&OC forum only.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:50 PM
 
Location: San Antonio Texas
11,435 posts, read 16,468,433 times
Reputation: 5224
Quote:
Originally Posted by cindy2tx View Post
I'm half Spanish and half Italian. I'm not from a family where any one ethnicity was pushed, like speaking in Spanish or Italian, hanging flags or making references to our background. We were just regular English speaking people who were born in the U.S.

I'm in Florida now but may be moving to San Antonio. I realize the Mexican culture is big there, which is great - have no problem with that. The problem I run across is that any time I visit the southwest part of the country, Spanish people who actually speak Spanish start talking to me in Spanish. I have no idea what they're saying and they get a real attitude about that. I don't understand it. We're in the U.S.! It seems like a huge assumption to make that anyone who might look Spanish just ran across the border and now they need to be spoken to in Spanish, so they understand or feel at home. Is this how it is in San Antonio?

When I went to Arizona and Nevada this happened. Yet, anywhere from Kansas, New York to Florida, I'm spoken to like the rest of the normal, U.S. English speaking population. I've even been around Cubans and Mexicans in Florida, who barely speak a word of English, and still they try and speak only English to me. In the Southwest, is it always assumed that Spanish descent = illegal immigrant from Mexico that doesn't understand English? Should I take a course in Spanish before I move, so I don't upset the locals? Do retail people, clerks, waiters, etc. mostly speak English or will I have a tough time paying for things at stores? There are parts of Miami like this (Cubans) but they don't make the same assumptions about me or get hostile about me not being able to understand them.
As a 5th generation mexican-american, I can tell you that you will not have a problem here in SA, Corpus christi, etc., not too sure about the Rio Grande Valley area. Many of us have been here many generations and speak English as first language. Many don't even know spanish! the older folk might speak english mixed with spanish or spanish, but they are bilingual. I've lived in So Cal, and those immigrants over there demand that you speak their language. I hate em. They need to speak english or get out of this country. I'm not ashamed to tell that to their face either. In fact, I've done it.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:08 PM
 
Location: United Kingdom
432 posts, read 792,881 times
Reputation: 420
I honestly wouldn't worry bout it. I grew up in San Antonio " I'm White" but most of my friends are hispanic, and I speak more Spanish than the majority of them. You may get someone who comes up to you speaking spanish every once and while, or assumes you do but just shrug it off. It also depends on what side of town you're in. You will hear Spanish, but not to the degree of say a place like Miami. Hispanics are the majority in San Antonio, and a great deal of them only know English. You have new arrivals and the older generations who only know Spanish sure.. But San Antonio differs in regards to places like LA who have gotten a large influx of Spanish speakers very rapidly.

Honestly don't worry about it, it wont be an issue. The only group of people who may expect you to know Spanish would be Mexican Nationals who come up to San Antonio for Shopping,Trips, etc.. They just do it out of habit and mean nothing by it. They'd always come up to my friends and start speaking Spanish, asking for directions etc. In return my friends would just point to me to talk to them.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:09 PM
 
4,268 posts, read 8,379,710 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by cindy2tx View Post
In the Southwest, is it always assumed that Spanish descent = illegal immigrant from Mexico that doesn't understand English?
I'm afraid this reflects your own bias. Many many Spanish speakers in the US are very much legal residents of the US. And just because people speak Spanish doesn't mean they don't speak English. And we do have such people as Spanish speaking tourists (many affluent Mexicans come to shop in San Antonio).

It's a cultural thing. In San Antonio (and many other parts of the Southwest), people grow up in bilingual homes. Spanish is often the default language for many people. There is no ban against speaking Spanish in the US. English is not even the official language. We have no official language.

FWIW, I am half Mexican, look very Mexican, and my very very white-looking 5 yr old's Spanish is already better than mine (she's in a Spanish immersion program). Lots of people assume I speak Spanish. I say I don't, and that's that (I am trying to learn, because learning other languages is ALWAYS beneficial and I regret not learning it as a kid). I highly doubt anyone assumes I'm an illegal immigrant when they look at me. They just assume (rightly) that I am of hispanich heritage. but then in other countries I've been spoken to in Farsi, Italian, Greek, Indian (assorted dialects) and assorted other languages because I look like I can pass for many ethnicities and people assume I am of their culture. I always found that to be a compliment and fascinating, as it opened up many cultural doors.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:54 PM
 
7,002 posts, read 10,281,171 times
Reputation: 5397
I don't think it reflects on the OP's bias; it reflects on other people's bias. Moderator cut: see comment

I'm a dark-skinned black person and people have come up to me assuming that I speak Spanish. However, I am not fluent in Spanish and have gotten by just fine here. Someone who doesn't speak English would be much worse off here.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 05-23-2012 at 12:59 AM.. Reason: Political/illegal immmigration must be discussed in the P&OC forum only.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:03 PM
 
4,268 posts, read 8,379,710 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by L210 View Post
I don't think it reflects on the OP's bias; it reflects on other people's bias. .
Other people's bias = hispanic looking people speak Spanish
(for better or worse, I personally don't find this offensive Moderator cut: see comment, it's a reasonable assumption)

Moderator cut: see comment

Moderator cut: see comment

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 05-23-2012 at 01:00 AM.. Reason: Political/illegal immmigration must be discussed in the P&OC forum only.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:53 PM
 
7,002 posts, read 10,281,171 times
Reputation: 5397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaka View Post
Other people's bias = hispanic looking people speak Spanish
(for better or worse, I personally don't find this offensive Moderator cut: see comment, it's a reasonable assumption)

Moderator cut: see comment

Moderator cut: see comment
Since the OP is not from here, all he or she has to go off of is the media. Moderator cut: see comment

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 05-23-2012 at 01:00 AM.. Reason: Political/illegal immmigration must be discussed in the P&OC forum only.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:43 AM
 
3,669 posts, read 5,916,409 times
Reputation: 1788
It is not important whether you know Spanish or not here other than the advantages in certain industries.

If you are not dressed like an immigrant you most likely won't be mistaken as one although many don't have fashion sense and might just wear basic jeans and a t-shirt without any special cuts or design. On the other end of the spectrum are more wealthy immigrants who dress better. Others commonly refer to them as "Mexican nationals" even if all immigrants are "nationals" if they do not become residents or citizens. I use to call them Easter Mexicans since before they would always invade the North Star Mall area during Easter week but now many are moving instead of remaining tourists.

Immigrants who have been here long enough and know English will become offended if you try and talk to them in Spanish and your accent isn't perfect. They prefer to speak English and reserve Spanish for fellow paisanos only.

Also Spanish, bilingualism, and code switching has an enduring presence in the Southwest due to being a border region and also because of historical immigration trends. The situation is mirrored in other countries with borders where similar ethnic groups live on both sides of a border and still maintain ties to any degree.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:47 AM
 
501 posts, read 839,526 times
Reputation: 481
The answer to the op's question is no. It is not important, nessessary or essential to know or speak Spanish in San Antonio.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:50 AM
 
16,437 posts, read 19,133,942 times
Reputation: 9518
Do you need Spanish? Depends.
As an Anglo I know I have to know Spanish if I want to know what half the people around me are saying. I don't want to be illiterate around 50% of the population. That's just me I guess. People tend to hide behind a language if they don't want you to know what they're saying.
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