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  1. #191
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Observation on American and European tourists
    LOL, I'm not going to disagree with this. ^^

    However, just to contextualize my comments. My own background is a bit different, I'm already a bicultural/bilingual American as I was born and have lived during my formative years in the "motherland". I've studied 3 languages in addition to English and my mothertongue. I've also travelled/ lived abroad in Europe (Spain), Latin American (Peru and Mexico) and Asia. I live in a huge tourist attraction city (Washington, DC)

    And I've encountered a lot of tourists, backpackers, US military stationed abroad, and expats of Asian, European, and American/Canadian background. It's admirable that Europeans are multilingual but as EffEm pointed out that's also partly due to geographical proximity and necessity. I think mentally there would be more of a comfort level.

    The short answer:

    From my personal observation, there is not much difference between an American and a European tourist *outside* of an European or American context.

    ----------
    The long answer:

    Obnoxious tourists also rub me the wrong way, but honestly I think part of this is just 'groupthink' and the fact when people are in different countries/cultural contexts - they just don't care about people outside their group. And how comfortable people are outside the familiar.

    I have to disagree that it's only Americans who are gauche or inconsiderate in this way. I don't disagree that Americans are rude and don't try hard enough in your book, since you are speaking from the perspective of a 'native' and insider. I would imagine that European tourists in general feel more a part of and invested in getting along with 'the natives' especially if they're part of the EU.

    However as a 3rd party outsider, when I was travelling in Europe and Latin America, tour groups and small groups of other Europeans were really...basically they stuck out. People in tour groups or their own small groups are not particularly friendly and are generally stand-offish if not downright rude and demanding. They are kinda like roaming groups of bulls in a chinashop. I saw some behavior that was almost comical and some that was downright racist. And in the south of Spain in Andalucia, lots of British expats party and even live in Spain without learning more than survival Spanish words - on par with Americans I think.

    Travelling through really 'underdeveloped' parts of Peru I met many backpackers/tourists of European extraction who barely spoke or did not speak Spanish or Portuguese who were trekking through Latin America. It's quite common. In general there's an attitude that they are better than the natives - you might say I'm judgmental or paranoid but if it this attitude is 'subtle' it eventually comes out blatantly.

    Trying to tie this in a little to the OP etc., language and whether you bother to learn the 'native language' is significant only as much as it reflects your larger attitude and level of respect for 'the natives'.

    In general, the attitude of the tourists from the developed world (US/Europe) was similar across the board regardless of their native tongue. In general, I cringe and I try to stay away from (other) tourists. Especially when I see a group of mostly middle aged to older ambiguously European tourists. Or groups of early 20 something backpackers looking to party. Even in DC (which is a huge tourist draw) groups of tourists need to be avoided as they do the 'groupthink' thing and take up LOTS of space and basically get in your way. I think part of that is almost inevitable for a tour group regardless of location in the world.

    Basically - I think it is possible to be a respectful tourist, but I think this has more to do with an individual person's actual desire, awareness, and level of respect for people who are different from them.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  2. #192
    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I think the English are probably the worst tourists,
    Have to say I agree, sadly, at least in my experience.

    When I've travelled, mostly camping, I always pray not to be placed on a pitch near any British people. Which, thankfully, isn't too difficult to achieve, since they seldom leave their sacred island and, when they do, the Spanish bear the brunt of it.

    Dutch, Germans, French, Americans, Canadians, Chinese - you name it. They come prepared, they come willing to share, to socialise. They leave their caravan/tent doors open, they sit out in the sunshine, they offer a can of cold drink to the just-arriving and exhausted backpacker and a fresh cup of Joe to the bleary-eyed tent-dweller struggling to light a camping gaz ring with damp matches; they quieten down by about 10/11pm.

    Not the British. They fence themselves off with windbreakers or sit inside with closed doors. They don't speak or say hello to anyone, and act as though it's the ultimate rudeness if you dare to ask if you can borrow a can opener/use a free socket to charge your mobile phone. And yet, many of them, at the same time as being this way, are obnoxiously drunk and loud well into the small hours of the morning, leaving copious amounts of litter behind them. And they make no effort whatsoever to speak the local language.

    I wasn't born in the UK, but as I've lived here since my late childhood, my English is indistinguishable from a native of the Northern parts of England. I refuse to speak it when abroad, because I'm anxious NOT to be tarred with the same brush. If I can't manage on whatever the local language is, I ask "parlez-vous Français" and if "non", I'll go to German or Spanish before I use English as a last resort. I find that the perception that you "can't travel" without English is, in fact, a myth. I've been in areas of Europe where I couldn't find a single English speaker, and Russian has served me better!

    I notice that when I take my own car (with a British licence plate) nobody approaches me at the campsites. If I hire a car in France, it's a different story.
    Last edited by proximo; 06-08-2010 at 08:28 PM. Reason: spelling & grammar
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  3. #193
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    1.) This probably has a lot to do with it; what is considered polite in one culture is considered standoffish in another.
    I think that's probably part of it.

    2.) Do British people really stress the first syllable of 'garage'? I somehow never noticed that before...
    Yes and we also usually pronounce the second 'G' in it as a hard G. I'm not sure why the actress in the sketch didn't, maybe it's a regional variation she let slip into the RP accent she was doing but everyone I know pronounces it as she did and with a hard G (and also more of an 'i' than an 'a' sound now I think about it).

  4. #194
    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    I think that's probably part of it.


    Yes and we also usually pronounce the second 'G' in it as a hard G. I'm not sure why the actress in the sketch didn't, maybe it's a regional variation she let slip into the RP accent she was doing but everyone I know pronounces it as she did and with a hard G (and also more of an 'i' than an 'a' sound now I think about it).
    you mean "GA-ridge"

    (yes, for once I came up with a QUICKER way to explain something )
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  5. #195
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proximo View Post
    you mean "GA-ridge"

    (yes, for once I came up with a QUICKER way to explain something )
    Not the ga-RAAAAHJ?

    Or simply, GRAAAAAAAAGJHHH!!!
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  6. #196
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proximo View Post
    you mean "GA-ridge"

    (yes, for once I came up with a QUICKER way to explain something )
    Yes that's it, although I don't know whether people with different accents will read that the same way we do anyway, as our vowel sounds are different.

    There are a few other examples of trans-Atlantic emphasis differences that come to mind too. There's ballet (which oddly Americans say the French way and we don't), Carribean (this sounds so different I only realised that the two pronunciations referred to the same place when I was about 16) and research (although some Britons say this the American way now). Can't think of any more. I keep wanting to start a thread broadly about accents and dialects because I find them so interesting, but I thought it was just me.

  7. #197
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    ^ there are several other words that follow that same pattern, more or less, when it comes to pronunciation.

    filet (of fish) is fill-AY in the states, often FILL-et in canada, the uk.

    can't think of any more.. heard that this was just the brits being contrary..

    ..however, there are some where the brits seem to keep the french pronunciation more than americans:

    - foyer
    - niche
    - vase

    am american, myself, but learned "neesh" and "vahse"

    interesting..

    edit: good idea, compulsive rambler! that could be fun!
    "Develop interest in life as you see it...the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." -- H. Miller
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  8. #198
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    do you know these people who always put the emphasis on the "c" or "k" sound whenever they say a word? like the word "ticket" or "pack"? I need to know what linguistic group these people belong to so I can hate them.
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  9. #199
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    ^ hahaha, i don't know really how to classify them either!

    it's possibly just careful speech, or maybe something carried over from a person's native language if it isn't english. an emphasis heard on the /k/ of "ticket" wouldn't be unusual, as the /k/ is at the start of the second syllable. i'm less sure about the emphasis at the end of a word.

    fwiw, this "emphasis" is called aspiration and generally occurs in english sounds /p/, /t/ and /k/ at the beginning of words or syllables. you can tell if you're "aspirating" by putting your hand in front of your mouth as you say a sound - you would feel a little puff of air. many speakers of english don't aspirate in the middle of words. take, for example "butter" or "city" or "waiter". not many native speakers actually say a real, aspirated /t/ in any of those words. i definitely don't. "ticket" is the same way.
    "Develop interest in life as you see it...the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." -- H. Miller
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    I'm a FiNe SiTe to see!

  10. #200
    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    do you know these people who always put the emphasis on the "c" or "k" sound whenever they say a word? like the word "ticket" or "pack"? I need to know what linguistic group these people belong to so I can hate them.
    I'm not sure whether you mean Scousers? Their c/k/ck sounds are quite marked...
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