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What language do you use when you lose your temper?
Thread poster: RafaLee
RafaLee
Australia
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 19, 2004

What language do you and your family members use when you lose your temper?

Rafa


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Excellent question Jul 19, 2004

Though I am not married or have a bilingual family, I have made some observations about this question. I often get tongue-tied in my non-native language when very emotional. My solution is to go for it in my native language and disregard whether I am being understood or not.

One time I was in Greece and some guy hits my rented motorcycle with his motorcycle and starts unjustly hurling invectives and blame at me. I knew enough Greek to give him a couple of insults back, but I am clearly at a disadvantage. So, I gave it to him in English. If he didn't understand, that was his problem, especially if I was make some threat to him. A real cultural conflict here. We Americans take bad driving very seriously, whereas Greeks do not (uh oh, I may be instigating some Greek prozians here). This was a potentially volatile situation, both culturally and linguistically.

When happy, I also have the same problem sometimes. I have to think over the words before I say them. Not very spontaneous. I have a good enough level now to go to the soccer game and have it all come out in Spanish automatically at the emotional moments.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:16
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Under stress, the one at hand Jul 19, 2004

But I'm not talking about a family situation. I used to work beside the photocopying machine in a convention center, and everytime it jammed or ran out of paper (which was often), I would hear all sorts of unexpected expletives in different languages from colleagues who were not at all natives of the language they swore in.

This kind of situation seems to work on a "last touch" basis. For example, if the last language that the person concerned had been talking or working in for days had been French, I tended to hear "merde". Shift that person to German and he would start scheissing.

Note that language service workers are subject to a lot of interference. Children are equally fascinating because they mix languages without thinking twice about it.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:16
French to Spanish
+ ...
It depends... Jul 19, 2004

I use @[*&#! in French, and @[*&#! in Spanish.
Seriously, as born-bilingual, I take the better (well, no, the worst, I should say) from one and from another depending on what I want to say and has no equivalent in the oher... wich is very practical, indeed.

For example, in French it's "Putain de merde !"
And in Spanish: "¡Me cago en Dios!"

But, in the other hand, I only count in Belgian French...
I can't do it in Spanish (well, yes, I can do it, but it doesn't "get out" naturally)... strange thing.

Cheers.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 10:16
English to French
+ ...
Depends! Jul 19, 2004

I am not sure why, but I hear myself curse in a number of
languages, and I still have to figure out the pattern.
Yesterday, someone cut in front of me, an idiot talking on
the phone while speeding, and I swore under my breath in
Japanese, when I have been speaking German with a house guest
while translating into French for a couple weeks.
So go figure!


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IrinaGM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
English to Georgian
+ ...
Depends Jul 19, 2004

If I have to get explicit, I do not use my native language (Georgian) very often because women don't swear much in Georgia so I use English. During minor annoyance I use Georgian sometimes, sometimes English. It depends on the situation because there are some words that don't have quite as good equivalent in both languages. Usually, I never know what language is going to come out. There have been times when I have used German and Indonesian but not as often as English and Georgian.

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Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 20:16
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
In Albanian..... Jul 19, 2004

.....but a lot of other times I have cought my self cursing in Italian and rarely in English. But when it is up to fighting, that's, of course in Albanian. This depends a lot on who I am "speaking" to.

Fabiana


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Lydia Molea  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
English to German
+ ...
Depends on the situation ... Jul 19, 2004

When I drive and there are idiots in front of me, in English. When I mess up somehow, in German.
When I hit my little toe, in Romanian.
Whenever I curse in all 3 languages at once, the situation is REALLY getting dangerous


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 19:16
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
a story about a friend of mine.... Jul 19, 2004

Here's a story about a friend of mine - let's call him Tom...

Tom was born and brought up in New York by his mother. She was native Swiss. She speaks English, but being Swiss she also speaks German and Italian....

Tom tells me that when his mother gave him a telling off in English, it wasn't so serious.

If she started using German, he'd better go hide in his room for a week.

If she started bellowing in Italian, it was time to leave the house, go down the street, maybe even leave town for a while.....

Personally speaking, if I get angry with people, I do find it easier to get mad in German than in English - but perhaps that's only because I don't know enough Italian!



Alison


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
Member
English to Turkish
French, of course ;-) Jul 19, 2004

This reminds me of a memory way back in Istanbul. Around the seaside promenade I used to push the pram years ago, there was a parking lot where Kurdish boys of 15-16 were employed. While walking down the street I always heard them chatting and joking in Kurdish. One day a sudden fight broke among them, and after shouting at each other and back in Kurdish again for a while, they switched to Turkish expletives. And they switched back to Kurdish after the fight settled down as fastly as it broke out. I was surprised, and mentioned this to a Kurdish friend, with a query like "Hmm, don't you have strong enough expletives?" (Btw, we Turks are so proud of the creative and shocking qualities of our dirty language ) He said, and proudly!, that they did have words that would shock even a Turk, but as the boys were probably also related to each other, and as an expletive targeting the mother of another would amount to swearing to one's own aunt or cousin or whatever, they must have used Turkish as an alienating effect, to avoid swearing to their own kin in earnest.

As for me, there are a few phrases in English and German I like to use for the reason that I admire the concept behind them, but if the situation is really critical, and if I still feel that heat on my skin after breathing deeply three or four times, I unleash the irreplaceable native power


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish Jul 20, 2004

That's the language we speak at home, so that's the one that gets used. It has plenty of resources.

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Marketing-Lang.  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
English to German
+ ...
German! Jul 20, 2004

On occasion I've been surprised to find myself cursing in German. Somehow it is just such a wonderful language to hurl around... it really fits in your mouth, somehow.
I must admit, though, the longer I've been in Germany, the more often I "drift" between the two languages (along with English) and am not aware of which language I'm using or hearing.
But don't worry, dear clients: that's not the case when I'm working


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 19:16
German to French
+ ...
The language the other ones around me are able to understand Jul 20, 2004

When I am very angry, which does not happen very often, I usually try to explain why to the people who are around me. Should I do it in French in Germany or in German in Spain, this would not really be useful...

I do not swear because I do not like these words, using them would only make things getting worse for me.

But, before travelling in foreign countries, I learn such words for "just in case". I am glad never have been put into the situation - until now - to have to use them. But I feel safer having them in my head, like a kind of secret weapon!


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
English to French
+ ...
Depends on the situation! Jul 20, 2004

Strangely enough, I seem to be using English when I'm mad. Rarely, I use Dutch. French doesn't come as naturally anymore!

But when I'm *really* angry, and I don't want the others to understand me, I let out a few good old "sacres à la québécoise"... That feels good


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
If in English...>RUN! Jul 20, 2004

When growing up, I often heard my American father swear using a Colombian phrase that I never really learned the meaning. Every time I asked my Colombian mother what it meant, she told me to hush. So, when something annoys me I use "Cadajo no joda!" Hope I spelled it right. Which, my French friends find extremely funny.

I grew up in the South of the US, where I learned always to be a lady, so if I'm pissed off, I curse in French, since that's where I live, and what I hear the most often, and I don't feel like I'm REALLY cursing. Especially if I start off with "O la la...cet espece....etc."

If ever the day comes when I am so upset as to curse in English, it would be better for everyone present to run as fast as they can.


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