Why Can't Gabachos Learn Spanish

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And is Mexican food nothing more than tortillas and meat?

DEAR MEXICAN: What is it about the many gringos/gabachos who constantly slaughter Spanish words? Spanish is easier to pronounce (and spell) than English. The vowels are always pronounced the same way. In English, vowels vary a lot—making it difficult for new learners. All the other letters are pronounced the same way, except for a few, such as J (guttural-sounding) and X (like the aspirated J). But H is always silent, Y is like I, and the double-L is pronounced "yah." Don't get me started about how common expressions such as "vamonos" became "mosey," "calaboso" became "calaboose" and "vaquero" became "buckaroo," etc.

Llamame Frustrado

DEAR CALL ME FRUSTRATED: Don't be too hard on gabachos. You simplify Spanish a bit much—don't forget that X sounds like "ch" when placed at the beginning of words, that we love to elide (you try getting a gaba to translate "No, pos 'ta pa'lla") and that trilling double-Rs ain't exactly easy. In fairness, Americans do know Mexican Spanish, from borracho to chichis to chica caliente to guac, torts and chimis. And the recently concluded World Cup taught American sports fans the wonder that is "Eh . . . PU-TO!" ("Hey . . . FAG-GOT!"), chanted at the opposing portero after every goal kick. All non-Mexicans in los Estados Unidos will slowly learn Spanish as their numbers decline and Mexicans increase—after all, they don't want to be economically retarded like non-English-speaking Mexicans, do they? Besides the only gabachos who should already know Spanish are those who live in the American Southwest—they've only had about 165 years to learn it, so give them a break.

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DEAR MEXICAN: As far as I can tell, Mexican food is all the same thing, based on one simple concept. Take a tortilla and lay it out open-face, then pile on it meat, lettuce, tomato and maybe some cilantro—and it's called a tostada. Fold it in half, and now it's a taco. Roll it up, and it's a burrito. Throw the burrito in the deep fryer, and now it's a chimichanga. The only REAL choice anybody has with Mexican food besides the amount of hot sauce is the tortilla (corn or flour) and the kind of meat. Is that all that Mexicans could come up with for their country's cooking heritage?

Culinary Boredom In Salinas

DEAR GABACHA: Wow, what did tortillas ever do to you? Not only are you pendeja, but you're retrependeja. For chrissakes, you don't even know the Mexican-food writings of your hometown hero, John Steinbeck. When he was going around the country while writing Travels With Charley, the Homer from Salinas wrote to his wife that he had prepared a bowl of pozole (he called it "pissoli"), which doesn't involve tortillas (though it can) or meat (though it can). He also loved Bohemia beer, writing, "Ah, Bohemia beer and the Pyramid of the Sun; entire civilizations have created less." Finally, tamales make many appearances in his works, from Tortilla Flat to The Pastures of Heaven and more. Besides, what's gabacho food if not bread, a choice of meat and gallons of corn syrup?

 
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90 comments
Elias Lopez
Elias Lopez

I know a couple of White friends that speak Spanish without an accent. One of them learned the lingo by hanging out with Mexicans only. The other one spent two years of high school in Spain> Both of them are very proud of being bilingual.

MeToo
MeToo

MMMMM......... pozole. Now I'm hungry. Bastard!

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Because they're Mexicans through descent from Mexico that is their country.

If you're not from the area then you cannot speak the language because it's not in the gene pool for you to do so and the translation is even more difficult.

Ana Rosa Meza
Ana Rosa Meza

Let's face it, Spanish is meant to be spoken and conjugated for the two ways it is meant to be spoken: formal and the informal, USTED versus TU. How many Americans of Mexican descent, 1st generation, can do that? When taught to a non-spanish speaker, that is the brain twister for the person. It takes perseverance to speak it well. And about learning english, Ethnic onclaves will almost always contribute to the immigrants deference to using one's own native language as there is little need for english...

cynthia.curran8
cynthia.curran8

Most of Us are lazy to learn Spanish its the truth. I read about more middle to upper middle class Mexicans and Korans and so forth getting English tutors but I doubt you will find tutors for Spanish as much.

centrifuge909
centrifuge909

It seems to me that if the country you come from is so horrible that you have to risk life & limb to flee it just to come to the US, out of sheer respect for the apparent saving grace of this country and all that it offers, perhaps you should learn English.

Putting myself in different shoes, I can't fathom the complete lack of caring and respect it takes to arrive in the new country, then start waving the flag of my former country around while refusing to learn the language of my new country. And all the while continuing the flawed ethics and culture of that former country.

Think about this: would any of us move to Mexico (I know, bare with me here) then start publishing articles on why the locals don't speak English well?! No...that's ridiculous! But for many Hispanics, I hate to sat it, it's completely reasonable.


And THIS is reason #17649 why people have a hard time accepting many immigrants.

bonsainut
bonsainut

Uh... Spanish is super easy to learn compared to American English.  Spanish utilizes approximately 1/3 to 1/2 the number of words, has many fewer idioms and colloquialisms.  The question shouldn't be why more US citizens don't speak Spanish - but why more Hispanics living in the US refuse to speak English!  Funny thing - when I lived in Germany, I learned German and spoke it (albeit poorly) any time I wanted to converse with the local populace.  To me it was a sign of respect, as well as a sign that I knew which country I was in.  Or as they say south of the border "creo que es importante para hablar otras linguas, pero quando estoy en Los Estados Unidos, hablo Englese!"

Araceli Morales
Araceli Morales

William Thomas seras tu el pendejo pinche puto. But please elaborate on how I'm the pendeja

Miguel Berumen
Miguel Berumen

What is interesting is that Gabachos actually make an honest effort to learn Spanish and just can't one of my best friends is from Minnesota been trying to learn for like 10 years still can't get pass the basics. However ask any Gabacho/a to say curse words and they know them all, same like Latinos, I was in Argentina and some kids no more than 10 where shouting "wat da fak", guess we would have to use curse words to communicate in a lingua franca.

BillxT
BillxT

Kinda irritates me when I go into a restaurant run by Mexicanos, request a "Bo-eh'mia", and get back "Bo-heemia?". I pretty universally reply "Bo-heemia? No, umBo-eh'mia, por favor". In fairness, pretty much all people hear what they expect to hear. Good beer, though. Wish I could get XXX, though, I haven't had one in more years than you've been alive.

lonhall
lonhall

Bullshit. Este gabacho puedo hablar y entender español muy bien (pues, el español tan chingado de los mejicanos <jijijijijiji>)

Araceli Morales
Araceli Morales

Fred Smith actually spanish is spoken in many parts of the world, north america, south america, europe and africa so :p

Araceli Morales
Araceli Morales

first of all don't tell me to shut up, second of all your comments make you look like an ignorant asshole. third "mexican" fast food is not real mexican food

Lynn Maners
Lynn Maners

Just try learning an agglutinative language, like Turkish, or a tonal language, like Chinese! Ay, caramba, as El Barto would say!

Fred Smith
Fred Smith

english is spoken all over the world.. can't say the same thing about the spanish language.....

Chris J Caroselli
Chris J Caroselli

Oh shut up, it's nothing more than the play-doh of fast food, "How do you want your rice and beans arranged?" "I want mine to look like a taco!" "Make mine into a burrito!" "Can you roll mine into a burrito, but with more rice and less beans?"

Chris J Caroselli
Chris J Caroselli

Because the sign on the fence you and your brothers jumped over said "United States Of America", not "Estados Unidos de América".

Demo Lition
Demo Lition

Lets start a petition and get rid of Ask A Mexican. Column suuuucks. The dude is just asking himself race baiting questions anyways- really, you don't think anyone out there wasted his /her time writing the mejo?

Chrixtian Natharent
Chrixtian Natharent

Spanish is a verry complicated language to learn,most gabachos just don't have the brains!!

Christy Arias
Christy Arias

Jerry Vazquez Mi familia son nativos, Cherokee Indian. Como soy mal? Espanol viene de Europa tambien. No se la idioma de la Indijenas solo Ingles y Espanol.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

Estas mal christi en este pais se deve ablar el idioma de los Indijenas nativos no un idioma que viene de europa. Mucho se dicen americanos asi como uste pero savia uste que america fue nombrada por americo vespusy un italiano que era gay y violador de ninos. Yo no soy americano yo soy de Cemanahuac de este continente

David Rodz
David Rodz

Seriously? ?????? Why can't all immigrants (asians, middle easterns, latinos etc.) Learn english welcome to the United States of America

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

In high school I took French...and I know part of it was because I was rebelling against the notion that I HAD to take Spanish because I lived in SoCal. I don't completely regret my choice because there are a lot of French-speaking people all over the world. I am picking up some Spanish...through trial and error. :-)

DonAlbertoDoyle
DonAlbertoDoyle

Lettuce?  Well Taco Bell me and call me Sally, I never heard of lettuce on the inside of a tortilla.


As for the X, Gustavo, I'm surprised you didn't give it more credit-- Xilitla, Xochicalco, Taxco, Mexico, xtabentun, Mr. Mxzyptlk, mi x-esposa -- it's the most versatile letter in all of Mexpanol. 

Marc A. Morin-Lebel
Marc A. Morin-Lebel

I grew up speaking "français" & "italiano" @ home, so learning to speak & pronounce correctly in "español" was "muy facil". As far as "la comida mexicana" basically being tortillas, meat & other fillings....you could've fooled me! I've had some of the best carne asada dishes @ El Tepeyac, & not a single tortilla was in sight--excepting the tortilla chips & salsa for appetizer (Yes Gustavo, I lived in the East L.A./Boyle Heights area during my college years, even though I attended USC! ;-))

keithfresno
keithfresno

@tongue_twister_for_t  Learning a given language is not genetic.  While humans are biologically predisposed to acquiring a language, we have no genetic disposition to learn any certain one, regardless of what our blood relatives speak.

richard
richard

"enclaves" ana, not "onclaves"  Buena suerta.

keithfresno
keithfresno

@centrifuge909  I guess you've never been to Ajijic, Chapala, Alamos or San Miguel de Allende and heard some aging American or Brit screech about how annoyed they were that they couldn't find someone who spoke English in a store or restaurant.

keithfresno
keithfresno

@bonsainut  You learned German and spoke it poorly.  And you don't think that's what a huge amount of Mexican immigrants to with English?  If you were young enough and stayed in Germany, you'd have learned German a whole lot better still.  So do younger immigrants from Mexico who stay here and pick up English.  They'll always be non-native speakers, but they certainly learn a good bit of the language.  I'd cut them a break.

bonsainut
bonsainut

And yes I can trill my "r"s.  I learned how after watching all those "rolling writer Pentel Pen" commercials in the 1970s, LOL!  A dated reference to American culture that might be lost on our friends from down south.

keithfresno
keithfresno

@BillxT  I'd guess they're just pronouncing it as they hear most white people pronounce it.  It's likely almost a reflex for them, regardless of how impeccable your Spanish pronunciation of the brand name is.

centrifuge909
centrifuge909

Dont forget the Philippians...and other parts of the world visited by friendly neighborhood conquistadors.

lonhall
lonhall

welcome to California Frederico. Mas personas tiene español como su primera idioma aquí q los pinchis gabachos q solamente hablan engles.

keithfresno
keithfresno

Brains isn't the issue.  It's motivation.  Most English-speaking cultures see no reason to learn another language.  English speakers are used to everyone else learning English.  Even when you do try, it can be problematic in unpredictable ways: when I studied abroad learning a local language, just about all of the young people there who found out I was American wanted to speak English with me so they could practice.  It turned into a sort of battle where he who spoke the other's language better "won" and the conversation continued in that language.  As an advanced beginner, I rarely won those battles but I persisted wherever I could and learned well.


Most Americans don't find other languages interesting or useful, and don't bother making a serious effort to learn them.  Same goes for most Brits, Aussies, Irish and Canadians (say what you will about "bilingual" Canada- most anglophone Canadians really suck at French).

BillxT
BillxT

Yah, well, Marc, "As far as "la comida mexicana" basically being tortillas, meat & other fillings .." if you had never eaten an where but fast food restaurants, your opinion would have been different, so there.

centrifuge909
centrifuge909

@keithfresno @centrifuge909
Well not those places specifically but I've been very near there in the beheading capital of the world (Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, etc.) and I'm willing to bet the locals despise that behavior and can't fathom how one could be so rude, right?! Not sure what happens during that long trek north but somehow they become spoiled entitled bottom feeders just like the tourists they despise.

BillxT
BillxT

Standard pronunciation is the basis for comprehension of spoken language, hence I'm more that a little pedantic on that subject. Instead of mis-pronouncing it ala Americans, they should correct the pronunciation, and they certainly shouldn't presume to correct me when I do pronounce it correctly.

lonhall
lonhall

@BillxT @lonhall yeah, BillxT. Warn the nation!! Este gabacho bien viejo llega con su cabeza en su.... ;)


keithfresno
keithfresno

@lonhall Not yet, but maybe soon.  Remember, most 2nd generation Hispanics are stronger at English than Spanish.  Never mind what happens by the 3rd generation...

 
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