Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Please and thank you
Thread poster: Claire Titchmarsh
Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2006

Does anyone else have a problem with differences in culture, not just in language, when teaching your children to speak? I'll explain - my daughter (bilingual IT-EN) is 2 and a half, and refuses to say please or thank you. This is partly (in fact mostly) because it is never reinforced by anyone else in the family (or friends) apart from me. One of the first things I noticed when I came to Italy is that it's OK for little children to snatch things or take things without worrying much about per favore and grazie. Perhaps it's my rigid British upbringing but it really winds me up. On the whole, and having been an EFL teacher, I find that Italian children are allowed to get away with much more than in the UK (shouting, interrupting etc). Are Brits just intolerant? Does anyone else have similar problems and solutions? (I'd be glad to hear from anyone with culture clashes not just in Italy or UK).

Thank you, and grazie.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interrupting Aug 31, 2006

It s common among latins to interrupt other person when he/she s speaking.

I mean, among friends, or when you get carried away by an interesting conversation.

I don t know how to explain it.

It happens in Spanish sometimes.
Of course we say "please" and "thank you".

Sometimes, it s hard to understand another culture. You need to be "bicultural".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
no solution, but a thought ... Aug 31, 2006

Motherhood is long behind me, but it was not an easy period. Until she was 8 or 9, our daughter insisted on speaking English only to her monolingual Spanish-speaking father. It was a huge strain.

Here is my two cents worth: You are living in Italy. Do you enjoy the Italians? If so, those pleasant characteristics might be rooted in a gentle, permissive start in life. After all, your daughter has decades before her in which social constraints will be imposed upon her.

Whatever you do, don't fret too much!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Brits Aug 31, 2006

I have many friends from UK that come to Argentina very often.

They enjoy a lot being here and sometimes i have to stop them when they get kind of "too permissive".

Our immigration is basically half Spanish and half Italian.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:27
French to Spanish
+ ...
Prego. Aug 31, 2006

"Are Brits just intolerant?"

Don't think so, just "good maners".
I'm from Belgium, live in Mexico, 4 FR and SP speaking sons and I always insist in:

"Hello, May I?, Please, Thanks, Goodbye, You're welcome, Please do, Pardon me, After you, Ladies first, etc."

That's for my own education and from "mexican style", very ceremonial:

"Con permiso, Pase usted, Después de usted, De ninguna manera, Esta es su pobre casa, Por favorcito, Con permisito, ¿Me pasaría la sal, por favor?, Muchas gracias, Hasta luego, si Dios quiere, Nos vemos mañana, Dios mediante, No nos despedimos, nos vemos al rato, etc."

Sometimes, of course, not easy to have them do it and say it when they are very young, but afterwords, everybody says: "You have very well educated children, indeed!" That makes my day, I must say.

Bacio.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
Member (2010)
Italian to English
Please and thank you Aug 31, 2006

I also noticed that people don't tend to say "please" and "thank you" so much in Italy, particularly in less formal situations. It's a big cultural difference, which I initially found a bit disconcerting. It took me a while to realise that it doesn't mean people are being rude (I used to get upset about my Italian ex boyfriend not saying "please" and "thank you" to me), they are perhaps just being more informal and relaxed. I suppose "please" and "thank you" go without saying amongst friends and family. However, with my strict British upbringing, I couldn't get myself out of the habit of saying things like "mi passi il vino, per favore?" when amongst friends in Italy.
I have no experience of the classroom situation, so can't comment on that.
As regards your daughter, I suppose the only thing you can do is stress to her (when she is older, of course) that it is very important to mind your p's and q's in English in all situations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
Possibly age related?... Aug 31, 2006

I have two nieces, when they were around 2 years old, her mother (with the help from the rest of the family) was trying to teach them to say "please" and "thank you", as that appears to be the age during which they snatch everything away from people without further thought. At the time, we encountered a stubborn refusal from the girls to repeat the words. But somehow, somewhere, perseverance paid- off, and the message sank in; they are now 9 and 11 and both of them are considerate and courteous girls. Sure, they tend to get carried away from time to time, especially in their games, but in general they use "please" and "thank you" when required.

[Edited at 2006-08-31 14:36]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
ItalianLinguist
Italy
Local time: 17:27
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
mmmm... Aug 31, 2006

When I first visited the UK I was 19 and did an au-pair experience by a very typical British family. After a couple of weeks I was there, the "dad" came and told me:
"oh dear, why are you so rude?...you say please and thank you so rarely!!!”
I was just astonished because I had always thought to be a polite and respective person. I think it is a matter of language/culture. In Italy, if you order a coffee you say "un caffè" and "grazie" should come once you receive the coffee and you are ready to drink it. Ok, there are some exceptions saying "grazie and prego" all the time but they are not the rule. Another example: I was with an English friend having a dinner somewhere here, and she had just the half of the huge dish she received. Because of that, she was completely embarrassed and, believe it or not, she asked sorry to the waitress for her impoliteness (= leaving some food). British are sometimes too British as we sometimes are too Italiani..if you get what I mean. As for interruption: it happens often but that, believe me, is quite impolite here too!..And children are children. They will learn!
Ciao


[Edited at 2006-08-31 17:40]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
my little solution Aug 31, 2006

Kids are kids, and they are adorable no matter what..
But I think it’s important to point out and reinforce the right way of asking and receiving every time you have the chance to. On the other hand, a verbal explanation might not be sufficient at that age and they need a more age-appropriate approach, a practical demonstration on how ‘please and thank you' work.
This is my strategy with my son (same age of your little girl): it’s been told to him that please and thank you are two magic words that, if used, will allow him to obtain what he wants (with some limitations of course). If he asks for something without saying ‘please’, nothing will be given to him and if he doesn’t say ‘thank you’.. what has just been given to him will be taken away in a nanosecond. Magic!
It works for us.

Ciao!

[Edited at 2006-08-31 15:44]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:27
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Yes, very much depending on culture Aug 31, 2006

Finns thank a lot more and in situation, where foreigners thing it inappropiate. So we thank everytime after eating a meal, not to the divinity but to the host. French in Finland find it irritating, I believe, and it was quite unknown to me in Germany.

But we hardly ever say please, that is the most difficult thing to learn for Finns I believe.
The reason seems to be that Finns never had a real nobility nor were they ever serves, like most people were still a few hundred years in Europe (serfdom was abandoned 1850 in Prussia, 1861 in Russia etc.).
At the counter we pay and say "Thank you" and the cassier says "Thank you" too. Never please, it sounds silly, and the other thinks your are making fun of him/her.
"Good manners" are of course much more important in class-societies like Britain.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:57
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Good behaviour and please and thank you Aug 31, 2006

My daughter (five years now) is quite unpredictable. She can be the epitome of goodness if she chooses, she can be the opposite too, if she chooses!

A lot has to do with upbringing. My daughter will use please and thank you if there is anything to be gained out of it. For example, she can't (yet) reach up to the shelf where many interesting things (from her point of view) are kept and she may be quite profuse in the use of pleases with her elder sister to cajole her to hand over an item of her fancy from the shelf.

Saying please and thank you doesn't seem to be something she will imbibe from her culture, though this is drilled into her from the English-medium school which she attends. But I doubt if it will ever become a second nature with her (or any Indian kid of her age). That doesn't however mean she a brat, she is quite charming in her own way and polite too by the standards of her milieu.

So I suppose just mouthing the words please and thank you hardly mean anything, unless along with them the sentiments behind them are also internalized by the children. These sentiments may exist in one culture and not in another culture, which doesn't say anything either way about either of the cultures.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Anatovcav
Local time: 11:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Country Culture-Family Culture Aug 31, 2006

Hi Claire!

This is definitely a cultural matter.

I lived all of my life in my natal Caracas, Venezuela and moved to United States almost four years ago. Not losing my cool because of the way Americans behave and let their kids behave has proved to be a challenge to me. American adults and children do say 'thank you' and 'please' though.

In here, if you see someone mopping the floor, you will many times also see people walking right on top of the wet area, even if there is a dry area to walk on. This is quite common to see here but it would be considered rude and inconsiderate in my quite rude Caracas. And that taking into account that people from Caracas tend to be just as rude as corteous are those from the countryside--but that city/
countryside contrast happens everywhere.

I was brought up by a non-stern (according to Venezuelan standards) divorced-mother, but 'thank you' and 'please' were no optional.

I think that more than the culture they live in, it is the family who ultimately instills values in their kids. My Italian-American husband, now 43, was taught as a kid not to walk on the wet area if someone (mamma or an employee) is mopping. That is why he still doesn't do it as an adult.

I wonder, what do I do that is considered rude in here but just fine in Venezuela. It has to be something.

Claire, my solidarity to your present and future hard work. I know that if I get to have kids in USA I'm going to be in your shoes too. As per your daughter, it is my theory that she is going to turn out fine. Because you care.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:27
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Great strategy Aug 31, 2006

texjax wrote:

Kids are kids, and they are adorable no matter what..
But I think it’s important to point out and reinforce the right way of asking and receiving every time you have the chance to. On the other hand, a verbal explanation might not be sufficient at that age and they need a more age-appropriate approach, a practical demonstration on how ‘please and thank you' work.
This is my strategy with my son (same age of your little girl): it’s been told to him that please and thank you are two magic words that, if used, will allow him to obtain what he wants (with some limitations of course). If he asks for something without saying ‘please’, nothing will be given to him and if he doesn’t say ‘thank you’.. what has just been given to him will be taken away in a nanosecond. Magic!
It works for us.

Ciao!

[Edited at 2006-08-31 15:44]


Great strategy - it worked for me too, with my children and now with my grandchildren. An added advantage (from both the parents' and the child's point of view) is that well-behaved children are well liked and are welcome anywhere, regardless of culture. In the long run, that is even more of a reward than getting the cookie they wanted.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
Russian to English
+ ...
Not sure if cultural, but at the age of two she'll do what you as a mother teach her. Aug 31, 2006

I have no idea if it's cultural, and having lived in so 4 different countries I don't think I could see a pattern (although Italy is not one of them). I think it's more that she's two - that's the age, you know, when you as a mother got to teach her to be polite.

[Edited at 2006-08-31 16:32]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Six of one, half dozen of the other Aug 31, 2006

When we cross cultures, we are very aware of breaches in terms of the standards of politeness we grew up with, but it takes a conscious, deliberate effort to notice where we are the ones who aren't acting in accordance with local standards, because we are acting "politely" according to what we were taught.

It took me some time to get used to the fact that it is no breach of manners in Mexico for someone to say "Give me that" without a "please" or "would you be so kind"; to ask for help from the clerk in a shop in front of me even though I have been waiting longer than they, or interrupt a meeting or class to which one arrives late by murmurring a greeting to everyone. Yet it isn't that Mexicans are less polite than Canadians. On the other hand, I had to learn: never to enter or leave anyone's presence without greeting and taking my leave respectively; to shake hands with friends and relatives every time we met and parted; and when coming upon someone eating never to fail to wish them a good meal, and various other things that just weren't part of my "manners repertoire" as a Canadian.

It may be difficult to do, but perhaps the ideal is to teach your daughter the different forms of politeness that go along with each of her languages. When she is speaking English, she certainly has to say "please" and "thank you", but there may be other things she has to do and say when speaking Italian with her Italian family that are not necessary by British and English-speaking standards of politeness.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Please and thank you

Advanced search






CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs