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Friday, 9 September 2011


Have been thinking about this language thing, etiquette and basic differences between countries, and how you get raised. Everyone knows Spanish and Italian are fierce, French are a bit snooty but we can't say everything for definite, after all not all English are posh and conservative. In fact these are only stereotypes, after all as many family as many habits, right?!
I do know there are many differences between how me and Lee got raised, mainly cause of the culture of our countries, and of course the language. Examples, examples.
We don't just say 'you', we make difference between talking to a younger or same age person, and an elder one. We use another word with the same meaning, when we are talking to an older person, showing our respect. If you respect someone you don't first-name him or her straight away, you use their Miss/Mr/Mrs title. We don't have these titles. We do the above instead. Used to be like this in families as well, years and years ago, my nan for example wasn't able to call her own mum on her first name, cause back then it qualified rude.
Bad and selfish habit which I picked up too living here for years, is when talking about a group saying yourself first. That's just a wrong attitude and seems acceptable for all the English. It used to piss me off, but as I said, the years and the assimilation... We say 'Mum, Nan, Lee and me' putting yourself last, while English do the opposite 'Me, Mum, Nan and Lee'. Question of respect again.
There is a fine line between comfort and rudeness, and we are talking about tiny things, which for some perhaps don't even come in mind. I think it's more likely the difference between people and families than countries, but still...
When I go to Lee's parents' I expect to be invited in, want to take my shoes off, and wait to be offered a drink, having a short chat with his mum. That's how I got raised, but for now I realised, for them it doesn't necessary come across as politeness, but lazyness and discomfort. So after 24 years, I broke the habit and loosened up, even though it's harder than one would think. Now I just walk in with my shoes on, shout a -'Hello!', straight in the kitchen, ask them if they wanted a coffee or tea, and start to make one for myself. When done, just sit down in the living room, have a chat or just simply slagging off what's in the telly.
I for example would be furious, if my daughter's boyfriend would walk in to my house, with only shouting 'Hi!', started to make a coffee for himself without asking if he's allowed to, from my coffee and so on. It's not cause I'm selfish, it's cause I think it's rude. Well... At the beginning of the relationship definitely, but as I said, I still don't feel comfortable doing it, and we're together for over a year, and having a baby together. Get the point.
Another story is when you are among friends. When we invite a few over, we have some who just walks in, we have some who knocks and waits to be invited in, some of them opens the fridge and makes themselves a sandwich, some of them refuses to eat when you offer them food.
Different background, different people but that's why we are so colorful and interesting, aren't we?!

Not quite sure how it would work raising wise though. I want my girl to have less complexes than I have, but to be nice and polite the same time, and to see the difference between comfortable and rude. Probably the language thing will solve this problem, when the time comes I'll try and make her talk with respect to my Hungarian friends and family, until they offer her to start and talk to them however she wants, on the first-name basis.
I can kind of imagine it being hard, but to be honest I'm well scared of the whole language thing already. English comes naturally for me, Hungarian doesn't anymore. Something I have to do some serious work on.

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