Cultural Observation

Topics: English language, United States, German language Pages: 2 (548 words) Published: April 9, 2011
Understanding Language Importance

I have lived in Mexico for the most part of my life and I also lived in the United States a couple years ago; language was never a barrier to me since I knew enough english to get around even if I was not sure if I was saying everything the correct way, I never felt intimidated by language until I arrived in France, at first it was very hard for me to get around due to the fact that I only knew a few words in french like “merci”, “mon amie”, “Je te aime” and “bonjour” of course it was not enough to even try, or at least that’s what I thought until I started trying to speak english to french people. Unlike experiences I’ve had in other countries before, in France it seemed impossible to find someone who spoke other language than their native one.

After only a couple weeks in France I found out that the language is a much more important aspect of the culture than it appears to be, the first week or so in Nice I was told that french people are often rude and have some sort of arrogance towards foreigners, especially american or english speaking people. As I began to familiarize with the streets of Nice and ways of transportation I often ended up somewhere I did not mean to be at, or simply lost. I found that whenever I asked for directions and tried to speak to someone in either english or spanish the vast majority of people would tell me that they did not understand and turn away; nevertheless I could always find someone who would try to communicate with me to help me find my way.

I started to compare different approaches at stores, busses and people at the streets; I often found that people who spoke english directly would not be treated as politely as those who spoke french. Coming from a border city with the United States I am used to foreigners arriving at stores and speaking english expecting to be understood, and often if the person in charge doesn’t understand he or she has to call someone who does, I know that...
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