To commemorate Month #17 in Spain, I give you a list of cultural differences that have caused a breakdown in communication lately.
1) Meet Pete:
Pete appeared on a worksheet my co-teacher and I gave to our students earlier this week. In the exercise, a list of chores accompanies before-and-after photos of Pete’s room. Pete will do some of his chores (make his bed) but not others (change his socks [ewww]).The students must examine the two drawings to decide if Pete did or didn’t do the chore.
That first pic is Pete BEFORE he was given his list of chores. This is the AFTER shot:
The Million-dollar Question: When you compare the two, would you say that Pete did or didn’t open his window?
You’re probably thinking, Duh, of course little Petey opened his window.
However, most of the students put that Pete didn’t open the window. Why? Since windows in Spain open from the side, they were unable to tell from the drawing that the position of the windowpane had changed.
Has your mind been boggled yet? Here’s another:
In the States, here are some words that have been used to describe my hair color:
- Light Brown
In Spain, here are the words that have been used to describe my hair:
3) The way we view nighttime
If you think you can try cleverly rephrase a term with something more poetic or euphemistic, let me caution you from doing so in a second language. Unfortunately, I said “mujer de la noche” in class one day to mean “prostitute” and the teacher got hiccups from laughing so much. To the party-hardy Spaniards, calling a female “a woman of the night,” just means the chica loves a night out.
4) It’s all about the numbers
After months of exaggerating the curves of my 6s, I was told last week that my 6s still look like 4s. Forehead, meet keyboard.
*a woman of the night, obviously