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Culture —– Visita personal

by Brandi

calendar image

August 10th, 2009

Vocabulary For The Blog To Help You Learn Spanish:

porque – becuase (“por que” – with a space – is “why”)
técnica – technique
papi (paw-pee) – child’s word for “father”
-mente – -ly (this is a suffix or word ending; “mente” at the end of a word means “ly” in English)
cortés – courteous
besito – kiss
mujer – woman
abrazo – hug
casas – homes
gente – people
muy amable(s) – very friendly (plural)
misionero – missionary
hombre – man mami (maw-mee) – child’s word for “mother”
diferencias culturales – cultural differences
padres – parents
puerta – door mencioné – I mentioned
una persona – a person
amigos – friends
visita personal – personal visit
boletín – newsletter
niño – child

For this week’s boletín, I want to discuss some of the diferencias culturales when visiting Latin America.

As I mencioné in previous boletines, if you are visiting una persona you are good amigos or relatives with, and you are a mujer greeting another mujer or hombre, you would customarily give them a besito on the cheek. When hombres greet hombres, they will usually give each other a handshake and often an abrazo. The Latin culture is a very polite and cortés culture and the gente are generally muy amables. If this is of interest to you then click here to learn Spanish.

I had the privilege of visiting Latin America as a misionero for two years and visited literally thousands of gente in their casas in different countries. One of the things that really interested me is when we would knock on a puerta to visit a familia, usually a small niño would answer the door. We would then ask the child, “¿Se encuentra tu mami?” or “¿Se encuentra tu papi?” (Is your mom or dad home?). In every region I went to, the niño would usually say “No está” (He or she isn’t here). What got me, was that they would tell me this even if their “padres” WERE home.

At first, this really frustrated me porque in the United States, for the most part, when someone comes to the puerta, if the padres are home and available, the child will say that they are home and will go get them. (Of course there are some exceptions to this.)

Finally I learned a técnica that was rather fun and worked well. Here’s what I did; when a niño would answer the puerta, I would ask, “¿Se encuentra tu papi?” and the niño would say “No está”. Then I would quickly say “¡Tráelo rápido!” (Hurry and get him!). The niño, sin pensar (without thinking) would automaticamente run and get his dad (or mom). After I started doing this new técnica, getting in to visit people changed from drudgery to a juego divertido (fun game). I loved visiting the Latin people!

Moral of the historia: The Spanish culture is fun and fascinating. It is fun to get to know the culture and adapt yourself personalmente to it.

Sneak peek at next week: Other funny things people say at the door.

¡Hasta la próxima semana! (Until Next Week!)
David S. Clark — President / Director

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2 Responses

  1. Laura Miller says:

    In rural parts of Costa Rica, they leave their doors unlocked. It is muy grosero (and illegal) to enter a home sin permiso.

    Instead of knocking on the front door, you yell out “¡upe!” (pronounced “oo-pay”; “anyone home?”)or you might yell “¡hola la casa!” (hello, the house; less common). Either way, you will probably get a response from an adult. Most likely a curt “¿Qué quiere?”

  2. danwize says:

    It’s a lot like that in Brazil too. Instead of yelling though, people stand outside their gate and clap. Thanks for the comment!@Laura Miller

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