Do Spanish speaking people find it offensive when a nonnative Spanish speaker tries to speak Spanish with them

Do Spanish speaking people find it offensive when a non-native Spanish speaker tries to speak Spanish with them?


I’m gonna give you a straight answer.
Apologies if I step on any toes.

I’m an American living in Mexico City.
I speak Spanish to Mexicans every day and nobody has a problem with it.
In the United States, or even in the north of Mexico, it’s a different story.
Try to speak Spanish with people on the street and you will get one of three reactions:
I should point out that I’m visibly white.
You may get a different reaction if you are not.
Now that I think of it, though, I have Asian friends who speak Spanish very well and have experienced the same.
In addition, I have a Spanish-speaking Russian friend who had a very annoying trip to the north of Mexico… but I digress.

Like I said, deeper into Mexico, and generally elsewhere in Latin America, people have no problem talking to you in Spanish.
They may take it for granted that you speak Spanish, or if they’ve determined that you’re a foreigner, they may be happily surprised that you speak their language.
I puzzled over this for a long time and came to the following conclusion.
Rightly or wrongly, many Latinos living in or near the United States feel they are second-class citizens.
There is little they can do to change that, but when they can do and do do is seal off their culture from outsiders to defend themselves.
If you are visibly non-Latino and attempt to use Spanish with Latin Americans in the United States, you’ll probably run into some resistance from some people.

I think instead of trying to speak Spanish with people on the street, you should practice Spanish with Latino friends who already trust and like you, thus avoiding the potential irritation to you that could result from rifling through the cultural baggage of the Latino community at large.
My 2 cents.


I think it depends on the context.
If you’re traveling abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, most natives would be delighted you speak to them in Spanish and you should try practicing it as much as possible.
Otherwise, how else can you expect to improve? In the US, if you are in a Spanish speaking club, establishment, or group, then by all means go for it.

However, below are some scenarios where speaking in Spanish to a total stranger might be offensive:
In conclusion, while your desire to learn and practice a new language is commendable and you should definitely pursue it, it is important not to assume every Spanish speaker is willing and happy to stop their lives to serve as translators, cultural tour guides or language partners to a complete stranger.

Depending on what led them to leave their countries, some might want nothing to do with Spanish (an unfortunate fact but not for anyone to judge) and just want to assimilate and be like everyone else.
Others, might oblige you under the right circumstances but not at the expense of making others or themselves feel uncomfortable.

So, my humble advice is that if you come into contact with a native Spanish speaker on a regular basis, ask him or her about giving you the opportunity of conversing in Spanish.
Most people would find that approach respectful and genuine and likely respond well to it.


No not offended, I think maybe annoyed would be more appropriate.
Personally for me, it really depends on the situation and setting.
Like there's a convenience store near my house, it's owned by Indians that look Middle Eastern.
He's a handsome guy my age who is very friendly and said he wants to learn Spanish, he took an interest in me.
He would always “try to practice” with me.
I wasn't a fan.
I'm completely bilingual and accentless in both English and Spanish but when one goes to a convenience store it's because you want to be in and out.
He started to do this more and more and eventually would even have me there holding the line because he's “trying to practice”.
I would respond to him politely, but to me, you have to learn to read the person.
I certainly wasn't enthused to be giving someone free lessons, nor did I want to be held up or hold others up just because someone thought it was an appropriate moment to ask for a complimentary lesson.

Another area, we have an employee that happens to be a black man.
He's been working for my dad for 25 years.
My dad's first language is Spanish, he has been in the U.
S.
for 45+ years but has the thickest accent but I think that's because he's slightly hard of hearing and you can't pronounce what you can't hear, you pronounce as you hear.
However his Spanish is perfect and actually if he could that's all he would speak.
It surprises me and I feel it to be such a lost opportunity for Henry, that's our employee’s name, not to know more than 3 words of Spanish but he although wishes he could speak Spanish, it just never really dawned on them.

I've had friends of all races and ethnicities and have been very happy to teach them words, phrases and about my knowledge of Latin American countries, customs, traditions, etc.

One of my first jobs was at Starbucks there was a Portuguese guy that would come in.
Because we became friendly and I knew he was a native speaker and because I want to learn to speak the other Romance languages, I would “try to practice" Portuguese, with him.
Finally, I got the hint he wasn't in to it, so I stopped and our relationship didn't change, I just simply befriended a Brazilian that was happy to teach me Portuguese and I happily returned the favor and taught him Spanish.

My dad for example loooves it when people say anything to him in Spanish, he instantly likes them.
Me not so much.
To me, it's like if I find out you're German and I throw random German words at you or say a random phrase in German and stand there waiting to hear “Wow! That was so good!”
It also annoys me when for example, this black chick, at work, Jasmine, who is a lesbian and absolutely enamoured by Latin women, comes over, mind you I’m literally in the middle of a transaction with a customer but she's oblivious to the fact and “trys to practice" with me.
Or starts singing a bit of a Spanish song.
Or randomly comes over to tell me she likes arepas or an obscure, to me, Central American dish.
But when I say anything in an African language or anything about Africa she looks at me like “why the fuck would you even say that to me, I don't know!” And yet when I've said “I have no idea what gandulas, even are.
” In reference to her saying she can't stop eating arroz con gandulas.
To which her response was “HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT ARROZ CON GANDULAS IS??!?! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT!!!” I tend to not want to associate much with Jasmine not so much because of this but because she's a very racial type person in the sense of always wanting to talk about race(s) or ethnicity/ies at work.
Which makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
She's always “you know how white folks do.
.
” “no I told that nigga that…” “bruh black people be…“why is it that Latino folk…?” “oh yeah you know them Asians be…” and then sometimes she does this thing, where she groups us and says things like “man but you know us black and Latino people be…” or she disassociates and she says “yeah but you know you white people are quick to trip on…” it all makes me incredibly uncomfortable!
I would say in general regardless of your race or ethnicity and even if you're of the person's race or ethnicity don't talk about race or ethnicity or anything related at work.
If you want to learn another language which is a super beneficial thing in so many ways economically, socially, even health-wise studies even show learning another language will stave of dementia and other cognitive and psychological issues.
It's an amazing thing to do but do so on your own time.
Befriend someone who speaks the language that interests you, hang out together, date, marry, don't have this be your sole reason but it can definitely be a plus.
Don't try to go to school at your work place or someone else's nor ask for a professor when someone is running errands.
I'm all for learning, it's an incredible thing but there's a time and a place.
Once again read the setting, situation and the person.
Emotions are universal, we all speak that language, we all know what's what.


I recently came back from Bogotá, the first time I’ve stepped foot on South American soil.
In my entire time there (plus the time I was transiting through Mexico City), I’ve only had to use English in three instances:
Both here and in the two other times I was in a Spanish-speaking country (Mexico in 2015; Spain in 2012), no one found it offensive that I spoke Spanish to them despite being an obvious foreigner who doesn’t speak Spanish natively.
In fact, when I tell people I speak Spanish, they feel relieved, especially when they’re not so sure of their own command of English.
(That one waitress at the hotel restaurant in Bogotá certainly seemed relieved when I told her I speak Spanish.
)
In most of the Hispanosphere, I’m seen as East Asian, and so when the subject comes up I had to tell people that I’m Filipino and we too are a Spanish-speaking people despite only having a very small minority that is still able to do so.
People are generally surprised since I’d posit not many are aware we exist; one Uber driver I talked to in Bogotá said that to most Colombians, when they think of “Asia”, immediately the picture is China, Japan or Korea, and they generally don’t speak any Spanish at all.

That said, your mileage may vary.
My aunt — herself also a Spanish speaker (though she claims my Spanish, like my Chinese, is better than hers) — was in Barcelona a couple of years ago and in a restaurant some waiters refused to speak to her in Spanish despite being Hispanophone.
Sure, it may have been because of the political tension at the time (after all, the Catalans are proud of their language), but it boggles my mind why that would’ve happened there.

I should note though that at least, the Hispanosphere is nothing like France, which is famous for having people who absolutely will refuse to speak French to foreigners.
Except in the United States, where I have a very difficult time speaking Spanish even in my own neighborhood (simply because I default to English for obvious reasons, or vice-versa), generally in my experience people don’t take offense at me speaking Spanish.
In fact, I think they’re glad I’m able to speak with them on equal footing.


Of course not! I’m a native speaker from Mexico and I really feel grateful when they speak to me in Spanish.
Well, not only Spanish speakers, but many people feel grateful when you speak to them in their language.

Moreover, there are people as well who are quite intolerant when you try to speak to them in their language and want you to be so perfect, without mistakes, which is practically impossible.
Or they simply don’t want you to speak their language.
There are.

For example, I have experiences with French people and some Germans.
According to many French, you need to speak to them in a perfect French, without any mistake or otherwise, they reply in English or in my case, they reply to me in Spanish, which is frustrating because they don’t let you and they are somehow selfish in my opinion.
My French is not perfect but I can speak it quite good.
I have a B2 level or maybe I can have a C1.
So, that means my French is not bad but they are so intolerant but there’s quite a double standard here.
When they learn Spanish (or other language) or speak it, they insist so much even if they commit the worst mistakes.
So, I hate their double standard.
I don’t generalize because not all of them are this way and with some Francophones I could practice my French and they were nice but others, simply don’t stand a broken French.

So, Spanish speakers are not like this.
As they told you already, on the contrary.
It’s nice that you speak Spanish to us and besides, many natives don’t speak anything else.
But we don’t get offended unless you’re making fun of it or if you’re just messing around and disrespecting, obviously we’ll get offended.
We’ll realize about it.
So, don’t make fun of it or don’t fool around.

Yet, it can be the worst Spanish but if you show interest and you’re doing a great effort, we help you improve and we’ll motivate you to keep learning.
You will have funny mistakes, yes.
You’ll have awful mistakes, you will, but the majority won’t make fun of your Spanish and if there’s a jerk around that does, don’t listen to those rude people.
Just stick up with the people willing to help you and keep a good track towards fluency.

Now, in my personal opinion and relating it to my experience with French, I find it offensive when we Spanish speakers want to speak other languages but the natives won’t let us practice and answer to us in Spanish and it becomes frustrating.
Even two or three native English speakers reply to me in Spanish when I address to them in English.
My English is near-native and still, they don’t let me and others speak to them in English.
The English speakers should feel grateful but well, with English natives it’s generally not a problem because most of them don’t mind except the two persons I told you about.
With French people and some Germans, it’s selfish that they do that and they should realize they were learning languages and understand and therefore, they should help just a bit but many are too intolerant.

But don’t worry! Spanish speakers are not like that.

In conclusion, 90% (I think) of people aren’t offended.
On the contrary, no matter how many mistakes you have.
That’s why, many foreigners learn fast Spanish, because of motivation and many helps from natives, along with the fact that Spanish is not a relatively hard language or at least compared to some others.
But if you fool around and you make fun of the language, we get upset.
Feel free to write me if you need help in Spanish.
:)


I’m obviously a white guy, but I do speak Spanish, mostly at work because I work for a non-profit in the Latino community in San Francisco.
Most Spanish-speaking people are grateful that I speak their language and understand them, however, sometimes that can backfire.

The other day, there was a situation as I was commuting into work, where a mono-lingual Spanish speaking woman was asking for directions on a certain bus she had to transfer to in order to get to a specific location.
Everyone she was asking for directions spoke English ONLY, no Spanish.
So, I volunteered that I spoke Spanish, and proceeded to give the woman directions in Spanish as to which station she had to transfer at, and the number of the bus she had to transfer to.
She was in the process of thanking me, when another woman (who mind you, had been standing there the WHOLE time I was speaking Spanish) FINALLY spoke up and rudely proceeded to correct me in EVERY single mistake I’d made whilst communicating directions.
And then re-translated EVERYTHING I had just told the woman.
It was RIDICULOUS! This happened in California, and all I got were rude hostile looks from the woman who at first wouldn’t even speak up.
OBVIOUSLY, I was understood, and my Spanish wasn’t that bad.
This NEVER happens to me when I’m traveling around in Spanish speaking countries, ONLY here in California.
Go figure ‍♂️


No they perfer that you speak Spanish.
In America when you are aprendiendo español like me they are very loving and helpful.
They are super happy you care about learning their language and are extremely nice to you.
Even spanish speaking people around you start to smile.
And they become friendly.
I am a black american learning Spanish.
In a America there is a lot of arrogancy where they want to make people from spanish speaking countries to learn English.
Spanish speaking people are stigmatized as being illegal immigrants and other bad things.
So when you spoke to the lady in Spanish she probably thought you were talking down to her because she is proabably trying to pass for American.
But they cant because they look different.
When i was in the Dominican Republic no one speaks english.
And they were frustrated i did not speak spanish.
When in America where they are mostly bilingual they will love you more speaking spanish.
Now also if you are speaking castilla spanish to latin american that dialect is sort of pompous to them.
Their racism is defined by how well you speak the language.
Colombia Venezuela honduras Panama Guatemala speak closer to the spain spanish.
But still different.
Countries like Mexico and Dominican republic speak spanish differently.
Thats what i am learning hood spanish.
I dont want to come off as uppity.
I rather come off as common folk so i can blend in and not be a target.
Most people in this region speak Latino Spanish.
So this is just my opinion.
People who come to America want to be treated as if they are from here.
They dont want to be looked at as Spanish in front of Americans.
So if you speak their dialect she may not have gotten angry.
If you are speaking castillian spanish to a Latino and they can speak English they would prefer you to speak english especially if you can.
Maybe try learning different dialects.
Hope that helps


I’m Mexican-American and I actually have the same exact experiences in the US that were outlined by Nictus below.
My sister believes it’s because many Latin Americans find it insulting to speak to them in Spanish, given the fact that they’ve made great efforts to learn English, which makes sense, and I support their efforts.

It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of these experiences happen at shops or restaurants and with service staff, which makes their potential discomfort even more understandable (with the potential threat of a strict supervisor’s leering gaze burning holes in their backs), though I have noticed that obvious emigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America are spoken to freely in Spanish, as needed, which makes sense since English is not their dominant tongue and it’s just more expedient to speak Spanish.

I should also point out that my Spanish is very good and pretty much accent-less.
I assume many of you may think that it’s atrocious and that’s why some native speakers avoid holding conversations with me in Spanish.
I’d also be remiss to point out that I now live in Southern California and, when certain Lyft drivers find out that I can carry on conversations in Spanish, then it’s game over, and I’m peppered with questions in Spanish the entire time down the 10 Freeway, when I really just want to get to Santa Monica and have a drink.
So, it breaks both ways, depending on the person.


I’m not a native Spanish speaker, but I don’t think that matters.
Tagalog is my first language, and personally, if a non-native speaker were trying to communicate with me, I wouldn’t be offended at all.
In fact, I’d be really happy that they’re making an effort to speak my language.
It would be a little amusing (in a cute kind of way) to hear the mistakes, but hey, they’re trying.

I went to Spain a few months ago, and I was able to practice my Spanish.
At one point, I had only communicated through nodding since I had nothing to say, but then I spoke in Spanish and the shop owner smiled brightly and said, “Ah, hablas español!” I highly doubt anyone will be offended.
They’ll know you’re not a native speaker and they’ll definitely forgive you for any mistakes you make.
I mean, after all, you’re still learning.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
If anything, they would appreciate that you’re making an effort, instead of being like other people who go to a foreign country and don’t even at least learn how to say “hi” in their language.

So, don’t be afraid to use it with native speakers.
The key is to just keep speaking, even if you make mistakes.
They’ll understand, they won’t be offended.
Practicing with native speakers is the best practice you could possibly get, and it’ll only help improve your speaking and listening skills.


I agree with most of the answers here.

I do not find it offensive, in general.

I actually like it/encourage it, as I try to do it myself with other languages.
I find it awesome that someone tries to speak your language, specially when visiting the country where Spanish is the native language.

The other day I went out with a few friends, here in Mexico, and one of my friend was going to meet up with other friends after and he invited me to join them.

He didn’t told much about them, only the fact that all of them were from Iran.

So, on our way to this next bar, I did a quick google search for some Farsi (Persian)basic phrases, and learn them.

And a few minutes later, when I met them, I greeted each and one of them in my super basic and probably disastrous attempt of Farsi that I had acquired a few minutes before.

Salâm, man Cristian-am!
Halet chetore?
Salâmati!
The outcome: Smiles and laughter.
Followed by brotherly hugs and of course, immediately a second quick course of new words and phrases, some of them colloquialisms.

The second outcome: I sometimes hang with them or they invite me out, it doesn’t matter if my original friend is invited or not.
I’m now their friend too.


I speak Spanish from Spain fluently (Spanish people regularly just assume I'm from Spain; sometimes they think I'm Catalan).
In Spain, people never bat an eye; they just serve me or interact with me in Spanish; after all, that's how things are done in Spain.
Most Latinos I address in Spanish in the US when I overhear them speaking Spanish are delighted to respond in Spanish.
I also speak Spanish to a janitor at work, and she'll sometimes linger around my office to chat.
The first time we spoke, she said, “Usted no es mexicano.
¡Su español es diferente!” (“You aren't Mexican.
Your Spanish is different!”).
Generally, maids at hotels also tend to speak Spanish and always cheerfully respond when I ask for this or that in Spanish.
Ditto Uber drivers.

Occasionally, I’ve felt I was being treated a bit better when I spoke Spanish to US Latinos.
Once, at JFK, having flown in from Europe, I had to stand in the immigration line for non-Americans (being a Canadian passport holder), but the line was moving extremely slowly and I was going to miss my connection.
One of the staff members directing the lines was Latina (I heard her speak Spanish to someone else).
I told her something in Spanish.
Her face lit up.
She thought I was from Spain.
She asked me where I was going, and I said Pittsburgh, but that I was likely going to miss the flight.
She just grabbed me by the hand, took me directly to an immigration officer, who promptly admitted me to the US, and she then whisked me through to the next place I was supposed to be.
I made the flight!
Only once have I encountered a situation where people initially refused to speak Spanish to me.
It was with some delivery guys here in Arizona.
They were assembling a bed they'd delivered.
I spoke in Spanish to them, but they kept responding in (heavily accented) English.
Since the exchanges were rather brief, I imagine they just thought of me as some white dude trying to be condescending by talking to them in his crap Spanish.
At some point, I offered them some water and initiated some more serious small talk (that required longer, more complex sentences).
I noticed a change in their facial expressions.
It's like they realized I was a legit speaker of Spanish and was signalling social closeness by speaking their language to them.
And Spanish started flowing freely! At the end, they asked me if I was from Argentina (which is odd, because I sound nothing like an Argentine).
I said I wasn't and asked them why they thought I was.
One of them said it was because of how I pronounced my S-sounds weirdly! (I have very peninsular, almost sh-like esses; my Argentine colleague often makes fun of me: “Uuuuy, ¡qué castizo!”, which translates as, “Woooowww, how posh/peninsular!”; I'll note that she is technically “castiza” as she has mostly peninsular ancestry, with some Italian mixed in.
) I chuckled and explained I spoke Spanish from Spain.
We parted the best of friends who would never see each other again.
:)


Not at all! We love it!
We usually like helping people out, and it's great to see other people taking an interest in our culture!
We only find it offensive if you do so in a context in which we are trying to work or do business with you and yoi insist after whe have told you to stop.

For example, I have sent my fare share of bank representatives to hell on a bike because they kept using Spanish with me despite me telling them many times that I find their Spanish harder to understand than their English (despite of what their plake says they can’t really speak it, at all!) and asking them to use English several times, and they insisted because “they wanted to practice”.
That is annoying.
I'm trying to get stuff done here!
However if I am hanging out with someone by my own will, not trying to get anything done or forced to interact due to work or business, and the person wants to speak Spanish to practice it I’ll love to help.

To tell when it is cool and when it is offensive/annoying, just consider how you would feel if someone you met showed an interest in your culture and asked you questions about how things are in (insert your country).
In most situations, like hanguing out with an aquitance or the topic casually coming up in a conversation with a stranger, it will be nice to tell them about it and you may be proud to answer.
In other contexts, as in you are trying to get through the checking of a clinic and the receptionist keeps asking you about your country instead of listening to you and getting the damn thing done, it will make you angry.
It is the same.
The situations where the questioning would be flattering vs when it would be irritationg transfer to people trying to speak Spanish with us.


Like spanish born i like when the people try to talk or at least say some words in spanish… more in my city (in San Fermines is very funny seen all the people of all around the world drunk and try to make themselfs understand).
And the year i worked in UK it make my smile remember in home… i allways try to help with pronunciation and when stupid guy teach some lame word or other and tell them that its a cool word
What i really dislike is when a spaniard go out of spain or latino america and try to speak in spanish to a no spanish person in a no spanish country, when they dont understand them they try again, louder and slower as if that will fix anything (Some english speakers are like this too) .
If you ever go to a restaurant in spain its almost sure that you will have to shout to make yourself understand because all the people are shouting… aboard spain you will if you go to a restaurant the loudest table that are not celebrating something or drunk, pretty sure they are spaniards


I would understand why we find it offensive but no.
We don’t find it offensive when someone who truly put effort and dedication into learning our language wishes to practice their skills.
In the end, the best way to learn a language is to practice with natives.
We really appreciate, at least in Spain, when someone speaks Spanish to us (even if it’s not good at all!) especially because a lot of people in Spain don’t speak English that well so in that case, you’re equal!
In Latin America though, it’s different.
Because of the great Latino community in the US, so many english speakers think it’s funny to approach latinos and use phrases they translated in google to get girls/guys (I’m talking the “Hola mami, quieres una cerveza?” kinda phrase) or just straight up sing La Macarena or some Shakira song.
Also, because the american influence is more prominent, much more people in Latin America speak English very well so it is prefered to speak english over spanish with natives.
However, if you truly put effort and are very determined to practice, neither will stop you or judge you.
Go ahead and buena suerte!


I’m not a native Spanish speaker either, but I speak in Spanish every time I’m with my Hispanic friends or in a environment where there are people speaking this beautiful language.
Sometimes, I surprise people who don’t expect me to speak Spanish because of the way I look.
I don’t feel there’s any resistance on their part when I do.
On the contrary, I believe they enjoy my efforts.

Like you, I also make mistakes when I speak Spanish and I have a friend from Peru, who is a teacher, who corrects me.
I don’t mind being corrected.
I want to improve my speech and get it closer to native.

I think the most important thing is that you are able to communicate in another language.
Mistakes are a normal part of learning.
The more you practice it with native speakers, and observe their way of speaking, the better you will be able to speak it.

Be bold and speak up! The more you do it, the more confident you will become!
All the best to you!


I think it depends on the situation.

For example: My mother finds it offensive because to her, it’s almost as if people thought she couldn’t speak English, we live in Florida.
So whenever another Spanish Speaker speaks to her in Spanish, she replies in English and ONLY English.

When I worked in retail, if we had a customer who spoke Spanish or French and had a hard time trying to speak in English, I would switch to whatever language and help them out.

If someone wants to practice their Spanish with me, I try to indulge them, even though I don’t feel as comfortable speaking Spanish as I do speaking English and French.
Because I don’t use the language that often, and I’ve forgotten certain verbs and expressions.


As a Spanish speaking person I would never find this behaviour offensive.
If this happened to me in California, where I live, I would feel good that a non-Spanish native speaker is practicing or simply having fun using my language.

I understand how some Spanish speakers could take offence by this.
If they thought you are speaking Spanish because you feel their English is not good enough.

I would start conversations in Spanish and then if the person is replying in English or if they look offended then politely ask them if they mind speaking in Spanish with you because you’d like to practice.
I doubt anyone would take offence after clarification.

It is offensive to laugh at people’s accent when speaking a foreign language or to be rude with others.
It is never offensive to speak Spanish to a person you know speaks Spanish.


I’m Spanish and I would say not only that I don’t think you would have any problem like that in Spain, but I can’t even imagine why someone could consider that offensive, so you can have an idea of how not-offensive it is.
Maybe some particular individuals in areas where Spanish is not the main language could dislike it (specially some parts Catalonia, Galicia or the Vasque Country) but even in that case it would be a particular idiot and not the standard behaviour.
Anyway, in that case they wouldn’t be offended as Spanish speakers actually, because they wouldn’t consider themselves that, but Catalonian/Galician/Euskera speakers instead.
But most people, understanding and speaking both languages, would be ok with you doing your best effort to communicate in a language they’re closer.

I understand now that apparently there are some areas in Mexico that could feel that way, I really don’t understand why someone would feel offended by someone trying to speak their language but I guess there has to be some reason in that particular scenario, but certainly not something you could extend to other territories.


Someone who makes the effort to speak in Spanish or whatever language that is not his or her mother tongue language is so appreciable and in my case, and everyone should consider that it is so polite and generous from someone who is non native trying to speak to others native speakers in order to get immensed in the new environment.

So no, it's not offensive :).

The lazy way is the other side, when someone is using his or her native language to be communicated to others when he or she is living abroad, so many English speakers speak English when travelling abroad, but being fair not only them, I'm Spanish and Spaniards tend to do the same while travelling, for example when going to Portugal where they usually use Spanish and we do not make the effort to speak in Portuguese while there are lots of Portuguese people who are able to speak a very good Spanish.


I personally am.
I was raised in the US of A.
I am not your personal tutor.
When I visit Hispanic countries, I am dressed touristy, carrying luggage, with backpack on.
Do not confuse me for one of the locals.
I am usually not considered one of the locals.
And just because I was born in Peru, doesnt mean I'm not looked at or treated as a tourist.

Most tourists in Peru stop and ask me questions when I am playing the role of tourists.
I'm just as confused as you are.
Don't ask me where a certain place, or what bus or train or plane to take, cause I am not even sure of my own.
I am a very forgetful person, and am very confused by my own trip journey, so don't expect me to be a know-it-all cause I'm not.
I don't know.
And especially dont expect to translate for someone that speaks English, just cause they're local.
If they don't speak English, move on! Find someone that does.
Another person.

Do not play the Google translate game.
I don't know you.
And if you're going to treat me like a dumb local, or your personal accommodater .
I dont want to be friends with you.

Try to always speak to Hispanics in USA in English.
And dont speak to them in Spanish, if you dont know alot of Spanish, almost fluent or fluent.
It confuses & weirdos us out.


Well, my experience with Spaniards (also from Spain itself) is that they certainly will not find it offensive, unless you start to translate conversations totally unnecessarily to a Spaniard whose Dutch (or the language of the country where the Spaniard lives) is perfect or at least good enough.

I started to learn Spanish in 1968 from immigrants in the Netherlands.
It could take some time until they would help you out to practice.
When you got really good friends with a Spaniard and his family it was no problem at all but before you reached that point some of them insisted in speaking Dutch even if it was bad Dutch because “in the Netherlands we speak Dutch and I want to practice my Dutch” but when I visited them in Spain they would also speak Dutch to show off their (often bad) Dutch language skills to their family.
Others would speak Spanish but in a simplified way: if they didn’t know Dutch verb tenses and plurals, they wouldn’t use them when speaking Spanish to you.
For instance somebody asked me in Dutch something that in English would have sounded like “you oliday espain?” and if I asked them to repeat it in Spanish it was “tú vacaciones España?” “and I work Ollanduh” would be “yo trabajar Holanda”.
It even continued when my Spanish improved more than their Dutch.
I went to Spain a couple of times and I got so frustrated by this behaviour that aftert 1982 this was one of the reasons I didn’t go back there anymore.
Although as I said, it was certainly not true for all Spaniards but it happened often enough for me to choose other holiday destinations!
Later I started to work as a social worker for immigrants and than my Spanish had become already almost fluent so I could easily require them to speak Spanish in order to make the communication better as I could tell them that in order to be able to help them I needed to understand them.

Nowadays I often use Spanish in social media, I am on several Facebook groups and I don’t see anymore Spaniards with reluctant reactions to my Spanish.


Offensive? Not at all! I’m a native Spanish speaker myself, and I find very flattering when non-native speakers make an effort to speak my language.

But, in any case, at least for me, there are two kinds of foreigners:
For this first group, I use to feel rage when they visit my country and they refuse to make even the minimum effort to speak in Spanish, because of the following: they seem to believe that I would be obligated to speak at least two languages while they would have the ‘‘divine’’ right to speak just their own and be understood.
.
.
Fortunately, these people are not the majority, but they do exist.

On the contrary, if they make a serious effort to fully communicate in Spanish, I respect this a lot.

For this second group, I assume that they have already made an effort to learn English as a second language so to can communicate with the rest of the world, and I’m also conscient that many of them have really difficult native languages.
In this case, when I see them speak in Spanish, It doesn’t matter if they cannot form a full sentence: is always a sign of respect from their part and it makes you admire them for their willness to learn and improve themselves.


It all depends on context.
In general, though, we do not find it offensive.

If a foreigner is visiting a Spanish-speaking country, then the answer would be a resounding no.
We love it when people bother to learn our language enough to be able to reasonably communicate.
Even if it’s a struggle, you will find your experience to be vastly different if you try and speak Spanish vs if you dont.

If I am in a non-Spanish speaking country and I dont speak the language, and the other person speaks Spanish to me, I do not find it offensive.

If I am in a non-Spanish speaking country and speak the language, and the other person automatically starts speaking Spanish to me, then I find it offensive.


Do Spanish speaking people find it offensive when a non-native Spanish speaker tries to speak Spanish with them?


I’m gonna give you a straight answer.
Apologies if I step on any toes.

I’m an American living in Mexico City.
I speak Spanish to Mexicans every day and nobody has a problem with it.
In the United States, or even in the north of Mexico, it’s a different story.
Try to speak Spanish with people on the street and you will get one of three reactions:
I should point out that I’m visibly white.
You may get a different reaction if you are not.
Now that I think of it, though, I have Asian friends who speak Spanish very well and have experienced the same.
In addition, I have a Spanish-speaking Russian friend who had a very annoying trip to the north of Mexico… but I digress.

Like I said, deeper into Mexico, and generally elsewhere in Latin America, people have no problem talking to you in Spanish.
They may take it for granted that you speak Spanish, or if they’ve determined that you’re a foreigner, they may be happily surprised that you speak their language.
I puzzled over this for a long time and came to the following conclusion.
Rightly or wrongly, many Latinos living in or near the United States feel they are second-class citizens.
There is little they can do to change that, but when they can do and do do is seal off their culture from outsiders to defend themselves.
If you are visibly non-Latino and attempt to use Spanish with Latin Americans in the United States, you’ll probably run into some resistance from some people.

I think instead of trying to speak Spanish with people on the street, you should practice Spanish with Latino friends who already trust and like you, thus avoiding the potential irritation to you that could result from rifling through the cultural baggage of the Latino community at large.
My 2 cents.


No not offended, I think maybe annoyed would be more appropriate.
Personally for me, it really depends on the situation and setting.
Like there's a convenience store near my house, it's owned by Indians that look Middle Eastern.
He's a handsome guy my age who is very friendly and said he wants to learn Spanish, he took an interest in me.
He would always “try to practice” with me.
I wasn't a fan.
I'm completely bilingual and accentless in both English and Spanish but when one goes to a convenience store it's because you want to be in and out.
He started to do this more and more and eventually would even have me there holding the line because he's “trying to practice”.
I would respond to him politely, but to me, you have to learn to read the person.
I certainly wasn't enthused to be giving someone free lessons, nor did I want to be held up or hold others up just because someone thought it was an appropriate moment to ask for a complimentary lesson.

Another area, we have an employee that happens to be a black man.
He's been working for my dad for 25 years.
My dad's first language is Spanish, he has been in the U.
S.
for 45+ years but has the thickest accent but I think that's because he's slightly hard of hearing and you can't pronounce what you can't hear, you pronounce as you hear.
However his Spanish is perfect and actually if he could that's all he would speak.
It surprises me and I feel it to be such a lost opportunity for Henry, that's our employee’s name, not to know more than 3 words of Spanish but he although wishes he could speak Spanish, it just never really dawned on them.

I've had friends of all races and ethnicities and have been very happy to teach them words, phrases and about my knowledge of Latin American countries, customs, traditions, etc.

One of my first jobs was at Starbucks there was a Portuguese guy that would come in.
Because we became friendly and I knew he was a native speaker and because I want to learn to speak the other Romance languages, I would “try to practice" Portuguese, with him.
Finally, I got the hint he wasn't in to it, so I stopped and our relationship didn't change, I just simply befriended a Brazilian that was happy to teach me Portuguese and I happily returned the favor and taught him Spanish.

My dad for example loooves it when people say anything to him in Spanish, he instantly likes them.
Me not so much.
To me, it's like if I find out you're German and I throw random German words at you or say a random phrase in German and stand there waiting to hear “Wow! That was so good!”
It also annoys me when for example, this black chick, at work, Jasmine, who is a lesbian and absolutely enamoured by Latin women, comes over, mind you I’m literally in the middle of a transaction with a customer but she's oblivious to the fact and “trys to practice" with me.
Or starts singing a bit of a Spanish song.
Or randomly comes over to tell me she likes arepas or an obscure, to me, Central American dish.
But when I say anything in an African language or anything about Africa she looks at me like “why the fuck would you even say that to me, I don't know!” And yet when I've said “I have no idea what gandulas, even are.
” In reference to her saying she can't stop eating arroz con gandulas.
To which her response was “HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT ARROZ CON GANDULAS IS??!?! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT!!!” I tend to not want to associate much with Jasmine not so much because of this but because she's a very racial type person in the sense of always wanting to talk about race(s) or ethnicity/ies at work.
Which makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
She's always “you know how white folks do.
.
” “no I told that nigga that…” “bruh black people be…“why is it that Latino folk…?” “oh yeah you know them Asians be…” and then sometimes she does this thing, where she groups us and says things like “man but you know us black and Latino people be…” or she disassociates and she says “yeah but you know you white people are quick to trip on…” it all makes me incredibly uncomfortable!
I would say in general regardless of your race or ethnicity and even if you're of the person's race or ethnicity don't talk about race or ethnicity or anything related at work.
If you want to learn another language which is a super beneficial thing in so many ways economically, socially, even health-wise studies even show learning another language will stave of dementia and other cognitive and psychological issues.
It's an amazing thing to do but do so on your own time.
Befriend someone who speaks the language that interests you, hang out together, date, marry, don't have this be your sole reason but it can definitely be a plus.
Don't try to go to school at your work place or someone else's nor ask for a professor when someone is running errands.
I'm all for learning, it's an incredible thing but there's a time and a place.
Once again read the setting, situation and the person.
Emotions are universal, we all speak that language, we all know what's what.


I think it depends on the context.
If you’re traveling abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, most natives would be delighted you speak to them in Spanish and you should try practicing it as much as possible.
Otherwise, how else can you expect to improve? In the US, if you are in a Spanish speaking club, establishment, or group, then by all means go for it.

However, below are some scenarios where speaking in Spanish to a total stranger might be offensive:
In conclusion, while your desire to learn and practice a new language is commendable and you should definitely pursue it, it is important not to assume every Spanish speaker is willing and happy to stop their lives to serve as translators, cultural tour guides or language partners to a complete stranger.

Depending on what led them to leave their countries, some might want nothing to do with Spanish (an unfortunate fact but not for anyone to judge) and just want to assimilate and be like everyone else.
Others, might oblige you under the right circumstances but not at the expense of making others or themselves feel uncomfortable.

So, my humble advice is that if you come into contact with a native Spanish speaker on a regular basis, ask him or her about giving you the opportunity of conversing in Spanish.
Most people would find that approach respectful and genuine and likely respond well to it.


I recently came back from Bogotá, the first time I’ve stepped foot on South American soil.
In my entire time there (plus the time I was transiting through Mexico City), I’ve only had to use English in three instances:
Both here and in the two other times I was in a Spanish-speaking country (Mexico in 2015; Spain in 2012), no one found it offensive that I spoke Spanish to them despite being an obvious foreigner who doesn’t speak Spanish natively.
In fact, when I tell people I speak Spanish, they feel relieved, especially when they’re not so sure of their own command of English.
(That one waitress at the hotel restaurant in Bogotá certainly seemed relieved when I told her I speak Spanish.
)
In most of the Hispanosphere, I’m seen as East Asian, and so when the subject comes up I had to tell people that I’m Filipino and we too are a Spanish-speaking people despite only having a very small minority that is still able to do so.
People are generally surprised since I’d posit not many are aware we exist; one Uber driver I talked to in Bogotá said that to most Colombians, when they think of “Asia”, immediately the picture is China, Japan or Korea, and they generally don’t speak any Spanish at all.

That said, your mileage may vary.
My aunt — herself also a Spanish speaker (though she claims my Spanish, like my Chinese, is better than hers) — was in Barcelona a couple of years ago and in a restaurant some waiters refused to speak to her in Spanish despite being Hispanophone.
Sure, it may have been because of the political tension at the time (after all, the Catalans are proud of their language), but it boggles my mind why that would’ve happened there.

I should note though that at least, the Hispanosphere is nothing like France, which is famous for having people who absolutely will refuse to speak French to foreigners.
Except in the United States, where I have a very difficult time speaking Spanish even in my own neighborhood (simply because I default to English for obvious reasons, or vice-versa), generally in my experience people don’t take offense at me speaking Spanish.
In fact, I think they’re glad I’m able to speak with them on equal footing.


Of course not! I’m a native speaker from Mexico and I really feel grateful when they speak to me in Spanish.
Well, not only Spanish speakers, but many people feel grateful when you speak to them in their language.

Moreover, there are people as well who are quite intolerant when you try to speak to them in their language and want you to be so perfect, without mistakes, which is practically impossible.
Or they simply don’t want you to speak their language.
There are.

For example, I have experiences with French people and some Germans.
According to many French, you need to speak to them in a perfect French, without any mistake or otherwise, they reply in English or in my case, they reply to me in Spanish, which is frustrating because they don’t let you and they are somehow selfish in my opinion.
My French is not perfect but I can speak it quite good.
I have a B2 level or maybe I can have a C1.
So, that means my French is not bad but they are so intolerant but there’s quite a double standard here.
When they learn Spanish (or other language) or speak it, they insist so much even if they commit the worst mistakes.
So, I hate their double standard.
I don’t generalize because not all of them are this way and with some Francophones I could practice my French and they were nice but others, simply don’t stand a broken French.

So, Spanish speakers are not like this.
As they told you already, on the contrary.
It’s nice that you speak Spanish to us and besides, many natives don’t speak anything else.
But we don’t get offended unless you’re making fun of it or if you’re just messing around and disrespecting, obviously we’ll get offended.
We’ll realize about it.
So, don’t make fun of it or don’t fool around.

Yet, it can be the worst Spanish but if you show interest and you’re doing a great effort, we help you improve and we’ll motivate you to keep learning.
You will have funny mistakes, yes.
You’ll have awful mistakes, you will, but the majority won’t make fun of your Spanish and if there’s a jerk around that does, don’t listen to those rude people.
Just stick up with the people willing to help you and keep a good track towards fluency.

Now, in my personal opinion and relating it to my experience with French, I find it offensive when we Spanish speakers want to speak other languages but the natives won’t let us practice and answer to us in Spanish and it becomes frustrating.
Even two or three native English speakers reply to me in Spanish when I address to them in English.
My English is near-native and still, they don’t let me and others speak to them in English.
The English speakers should feel grateful but well, with English natives it’s generally not a problem because most of them don’t mind except the two persons I told you about.
With French people and some Germans, it’s selfish that they do that and they should realize they were learning languages and understand and therefore, they should help just a bit but many are too intolerant.

But don’t worry! Spanish speakers are not like that.

In conclusion, 90% (I think) of people aren’t offended.
On the contrary, no matter how many mistakes you have.
That’s why, many foreigners learn fast Spanish, because of motivation and many helps from natives, along with the fact that Spanish is not a relatively hard language or at least compared to some others.
But if you fool around and you make fun of the language, we get upset.
Feel free to write me if you need help in Spanish.
:)


I speak Spanish from Spain fluently (Spanish people regularly just assume I'm from Spain; sometimes they think I'm Catalan).
In Spain, people never bat an eye; they just serve me or interact with me in Spanish; after all, that's how things are done in Spain.
Most Latinos I address in Spanish in the US when I overhear them speaking Spanish are delighted to respond in Spanish.
I also speak Spanish to a janitor at work, and she'll sometimes linger around my office to chat.
The first time we spoke, she said, “Usted no es mexicano.
¡Su español es diferente!” (“You aren't Mexican.
Your Spanish is different!”).
Generally, maids at hotels also tend to speak Spanish and always cheerfully respond when I ask for this or that in Spanish.
Ditto Uber drivers.

Occasionally, I’ve felt I was being treated a bit better when I spoke Spanish to US Latinos.
Once, at JFK, having flown in from Europe, I had to stand in the immigration line for non-Americans (being a Canadian passport holder), but the line was moving extremely slowly and I was going to miss my connection.
One of the staff members directing the lines was Latina (I heard her speak Spanish to someone else).
I told her something in Spanish.
Her face lit up.
She thought I was from Spain.
She asked me where I was going, and I said Pittsburgh, but that I was likely going to miss the flight.
She just grabbed me by the hand, took me directly to an immigration officer, who promptly admitted me to the US, and she then whisked me through to the next place I was supposed to be.
I made the flight!
Only once have I encountered a situation where people initially refused to speak Spanish to me.
It was with some delivery guys here in Arizona.
They were assembling a bed they'd delivered.
I spoke in Spanish to them, but they kept responding in (heavily accented) English.
Since the exchanges were rather brief, I imagine they just thought of me as some white dude trying to be condescending by talking to them in his crap Spanish.
At some point, I offered them some water and initiated some more serious small talk (that required longer, more complex sentences).
I noticed a change in their facial expressions.
It's like they realized I was a legit speaker of Spanish and was signalling social closeness by speaking their language to them.
And Spanish started flowing freely! At the end, they asked me if I was from Argentina (which is odd, because I sound nothing like an Argentine).
I said I wasn't and asked them why they thought I was.
One of them said it was because of how I pronounced my S-sounds weirdly! (I have very peninsular, almost sh-like esses; my Argentine colleague often makes fun of me: “Uuuuy, ¡qué castizo!”, which translates as, “Woooowww, how posh/peninsular!”; I'll note that she is technically “castiza” as she has mostly peninsular ancestry, with some Italian mixed in.
) I chuckled and explained I spoke Spanish from Spain.
We parted the best of friends who would never see each other again.
:)


I’m obviously a white guy, but I do speak Spanish, mostly at work because I work for a non-profit in the Latino community in San Francisco.
Most Spanish-speaking people are grateful that I speak their language and understand them, however, sometimes that can backfire.

The other day, there was a situation as I was commuting into work, where a mono-lingual Spanish speaking woman was asking for directions on a certain bus she had to transfer to in order to get to a specific location.
Everyone she was asking for directions spoke English ONLY, no Spanish.
So, I volunteered that I spoke Spanish, and proceeded to give the woman directions in Spanish as to which station she had to transfer at, and the number of the bus she had to transfer to.
She was in the process of thanking me, when another woman (who mind you, had been standing there the WHOLE time I was speaking Spanish) FINALLY spoke up and rudely proceeded to correct me in EVERY single mistake I’d made whilst communicating directions.
And then re-translated EVERYTHING I had just told the woman.
It was RIDICULOUS! This happened in California, and all I got were rude hostile looks from the woman who at first wouldn’t even speak up.
OBVIOUSLY, I was understood, and my Spanish wasn’t that bad.
This NEVER happens to me when I’m traveling around in Spanish speaking countries, ONLY here in California.
Go figure ‍♂️


No they perfer that you speak Spanish.
In America when you are aprendiendo español like me they are very loving and helpful.
They are super happy you care about learning their language and are extremely nice to you.
Even spanish speaking people around you start to smile.
And they become friendly.
I am a black american learning Spanish.
In a America there is a lot of arrogancy where they want to make people from spanish speaking countries to learn English.
Spanish speaking people are stigmatized as being illegal immigrants and other bad things.
So when you spoke to the lady in Spanish she probably thought you were talking down to her because she is proabably trying to pass for American.
But they cant because they look different.
When i was in the Dominican Republic no one speaks english.
And they were frustrated i did not speak spanish.
When in America where they are mostly bilingual they will love you more speaking spanish.
Now also if you are speaking castilla spanish to latin american that dialect is sort of pompous to them.
Their racism is defined by how well you speak the language.
Colombia Venezuela honduras Panama Guatemala speak closer to the spain spanish.
But still different.
Countries like Mexico and Dominican republic speak spanish differently.
Thats what i am learning hood spanish.
I dont want to come off as uppity.
I rather come off as common folk so i can blend in and not be a target.
Most people in this region speak Latino Spanish.
So this is just my opinion.
People who come to America want to be treated as if they are from here.
They dont want to be looked at as Spanish in front of Americans.
So if you speak their dialect she may not have gotten angry.
If you are speaking castillian spanish to a Latino and they can speak English they would prefer you to speak english especially if you can.
Maybe try learning different dialects.
Hope that helps


I’m Mexican-American and I actually have the same exact experiences in the US that were outlined by Nictus below.
My sister believes it’s because many Latin Americans find it insulting to speak to them in Spanish, given the fact that they’ve made great efforts to learn English, which makes sense, and I support their efforts.

It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of these experiences happen at shops or restaurants and with service staff, which makes their potential discomfort even more understandable (with the potential threat of a strict supervisor’s leering gaze burning holes in their backs), though I have noticed that obvious emigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America are spoken to freely in Spanish, as needed, which makes sense since English is not their dominant tongue and it’s just more expedient to speak Spanish.

I should also point out that my Spanish is very good and pretty much accent-less.
I assume many of you may think that it’s atrocious and that’s why some native speakers avoid holding conversations with me in Spanish.
I’d also be remiss to point out that I now live in Southern California and, when certain Lyft drivers find out that I can carry on conversations in Spanish, then it’s game over, and I’m peppered with questions in Spanish the entire time down the 10 Freeway, when I really just want to get to Santa Monica and have a drink.
So, it breaks both ways, depending on the person.


I’m not a native Spanish speaker, but I don’t think that matters.
Tagalog is my first language, and personally, if a non-native speaker were trying to communicate with me, I wouldn’t be offended at all.
In fact, I’d be really happy that they’re making an effort to speak my language.
It would be a little amusing (in a cute kind of way) to hear the mistakes, but hey, they’re trying.

I went to Spain a few months ago, and I was able to practice my Spanish.
At one point, I had only communicated through nodding since I had nothing to say, but then I spoke in Spanish and the shop owner smiled brightly and said, “Ah, hablas español!” I highly doubt anyone will be offended.
They’ll know you’re not a native speaker and they’ll definitely forgive you for any mistakes you make.
I mean, after all, you’re still learning.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
If anything, they would appreciate that you’re making an effort, instead of being like other people who go to a foreign country and don’t even at least learn how to say “hi” in their language.

So, don’t be afraid to use it with native speakers.
The key is to just keep speaking, even if you make mistakes.
They’ll understand, they won’t be offended.
Practicing with native speakers is the best practice you could possibly get, and it’ll only help improve your speaking and listening skills.


I agree with most of the answers here.

I do not find it offensive, in general.

I actually like it/encourage it, as I try to do it myself with other languages.
I find it awesome that someone tries to speak your language, specially when visiting the country where Spanish is the native language.

The other day I went out with a few friends, here in Mexico, and one of my friend was going to meet up with other friends after and he invited me to join them.

He didn’t told much about them, only the fact that all of them were from Iran.

So, on our way to this next bar, I did a quick google search for some Farsi (Persian)basic phrases, and learn them.

And a few minutes later, when I met them, I greeted each and one of them in my super basic and probably disastrous attempt of Farsi that I had acquired a few minutes before.

Salâm, man Cristian-am!
Halet chetore?
Salâmati!
The outcome: Smiles and laughter.
Followed by brotherly hugs and of course, immediately a second quick course of new words and phrases, some of them colloquialisms.

The second outcome: I sometimes hang with them or they invite me out, it doesn’t matter if my original friend is invited or not.
I’m now their friend too.


Not at all! We love it!
We usually like helping people out, and it's great to see other people taking an interest in our culture!
We only find it offensive if you do so in a context in which we are trying to work or do business with you and yoi insist after whe have told you to stop.

For example, I have sent my fare share of bank representatives to hell on a bike because they kept using Spanish with me despite me telling them many times that I find their Spanish harder to understand than their English (despite of what their plake says they can’t really speak it, at all!) and asking them to use English several times, and they insisted because “they wanted to practice”.
That is annoying.
I'm trying to get stuff done here!
However if I am hanging out with someone by my own will, not trying to get anything done or forced to interact due to work or business, and the person wants to speak Spanish to practice it I’ll love to help.

To tell when it is cool and when it is offensive/annoying, just consider how you would feel if someone you met showed an interest in your culture and asked you questions about how things are in (insert your country).
In most situations, like hanguing out with an aquitance or the topic casually coming up in a conversation with a stranger, it will be nice to tell them about it and you may be proud to answer.
In other contexts, as in you are trying to get through the checking of a clinic and the receptionist keeps asking you about your country instead of listening to you and getting the damn thing done, it will make you angry.
It is the same.
The situations where the questioning would be flattering vs when it would be irritationg transfer to people trying to speak Spanish with us.


Like spanish born i like when the people try to talk or at least say some words in spanish… more in my city (in San Fermines is very funny seen all the people of all around the world drunk and try to make themselfs understand).
And the year i worked in UK it make my smile remember in home… i allways try to help with pronunciation and when stupid guy teach some lame word or other and tell them that its a cool word
What i really dislike is when a spaniard go out of spain or latino america and try to speak in spanish to a no spanish person in a no spanish country, when they dont understand them they try again, louder and slower as if that will fix anything (Some english speakers are like this too) .
If you ever go to a restaurant in spain its almost sure that you will have to shout to make yourself understand because all the people are shouting… aboard spain you will if you go to a restaurant the loudest table that are not celebrating something or drunk, pretty sure they are spaniards


I would understand why we find it offensive but no.
We don’t find it offensive when someone who truly put effort and dedication into learning our language wishes to practice their skills.
In the end, the best way to learn a language is to practice with natives.
We really appreciate, at least in Spain, when someone speaks Spanish to us (even if it’s not good at all!) especially because a lot of people in Spain don’t speak English that well so in that case, you’re equal!
In Latin America though, it’s different.
Because of the great Latino community in the US, so many english speakers think it’s funny to approach latinos and use phrases they translated in google to get girls/guys (I’m talking the “Hola mami, quieres una cerveza?” kinda phrase) or just straight up sing La Macarena or some Shakira song.
Also, because the american influence is more prominent, much more people in Latin America speak English very well so it is prefered to speak english over spanish with natives.
However, if you truly put effort and are very determined to practice, neither will stop you or judge you.
Go ahead and buena suerte!


I’m not a native Spanish speaker either, but I speak in Spanish every time I’m with my Hispanic friends or in a environment where there are people speaking this beautiful language.
Sometimes, I surprise people who don’t expect me to speak Spanish because of the way I look.
I don’t feel there’s any resistance on their part when I do.
On the contrary, I believe they enjoy my efforts.

Like you, I also make mistakes when I speak Spanish and I have a friend from Peru, who is a teacher, who corrects me.
I don’t mind being corrected.
I want to improve my speech and get it closer to native.

I think the most important thing is that you are able to communicate in another language.
Mistakes are a normal part of learning.
The more you practice it with native speakers, and observe their way of speaking, the better you will be able to speak it.

Be bold and speak up! The more you do it, the more confident you will become!
All the best to you!


I think it depends on the situation.

For example: My mother finds it offensive because to her, it’s almost as if people thought she couldn’t speak English, we live in Florida.
So whenever another Spanish Speaker speaks to her in Spanish, she replies in English and ONLY English.

When I worked in retail, if we had a customer who spoke Spanish or French and had a hard time trying to speak in English, I would switch to whatever language and help them out.

If someone wants to practice their Spanish with me, I try to indulge them, even though I don’t feel as comfortable speaking Spanish as I do speaking English and French.
Because I don’t use the language that often, and I’ve forgotten certain verbs and expressions.


I’m Spanish and I would say not only that I don’t think you would have any problem like that in Spain, but I can’t even imagine why someone could consider that offensive, so you can have an idea of how not-offensive it is.
Maybe some particular individuals in areas where Spanish is not the main language could dislike it (specially some parts Catalonia, Galicia or the Vasque Country) but even in that case it would be a particular idiot and not the standard behaviour.
Anyway, in that case they wouldn’t be offended as Spanish speakers actually, because they wouldn’t consider themselves that, but Catalonian/Galician/Euskera speakers instead.
But most people, understanding and speaking both languages, would be ok with you doing your best effort to communicate in a language they’re closer.

I understand now that apparently there are some areas in Mexico that could feel that way, I really don’t understand why someone would feel offended by someone trying to speak their language but I guess there has to be some reason in that particular scenario, but certainly not something you could extend to other territories.


As a Spanish speaking person I would never find this behaviour offensive.
If this happened to me in California, where I live, I would feel good that a non-Spanish native speaker is practicing or simply having fun using my language.

I understand how some Spanish speakers could take offence by this.
If they thought you are speaking Spanish because you feel their English is not good enough.

I would start conversations in Spanish and then if the person is replying in English or if they look offended then politely ask them if they mind speaking in Spanish with you because you’d like to practice.
I doubt anyone would take offence after clarification.

It is offensive to laugh at people’s accent when speaking a foreign language or to be rude with others.
It is never offensive to speak Spanish to a person you know speaks Spanish.


Someone who makes the effort to speak in Spanish or whatever language that is not his or her mother tongue language is so appreciable and in my case, and everyone should consider that it is so polite and generous from someone who is non native trying to speak to others native speakers in order to get immensed in the new environment.

So no, it's not offensive :).

The lazy way is the other side, when someone is using his or her native language to be communicated to others when he or she is living abroad, so many English speakers speak English when travelling abroad, but being fair not only them, I'm Spanish and Spaniards tend to do the same while travelling, for example when going to Portugal where they usually use Spanish and we do not make the effort to speak in Portuguese while there are lots of Portuguese people who are able to speak a very good Spanish.


I personally am.
I was raised in the US of A.
I am not your personal tutor.
When I visit Hispanic countries, I am dressed touristy, carrying luggage, with backpack on.
Do not confuse me for one of the locals.
I am usually not considered one of the locals.
And just because I was born in Peru, doesnt mean I'm not looked at or treated as a tourist.

Most tourists in Peru stop and ask me questions when I am playing the role of tourists.
I'm just as confused as you are.
Don't ask me where a certain place, or what bus or train or plane to take, cause I am not even sure of my own.
I am a very forgetful person, and am very confused by my own trip journey, so don't expect me to be a know-it-all cause I'm not.
I don't know.
And especially dont expect to translate for someone that speaks English, just cause they're local.
If they don't speak English, move on! Find someone that does.
Another person.

Do not play the Google translate game.
I don't know you.
And if you're going to treat me like a dumb local, or your personal accommodater .
I dont want to be friends with you.

Try to always speak to Hispanics in USA in English.
And dont speak to them in Spanish, if you dont know alot of Spanish, almost fluent or fluent.
It confuses & weirdos us out.


Well, my experience with Spaniards (also from Spain itself) is that they certainly will not find it offensive, unless you start to translate conversations totally unnecessarily to a Spaniard whose Dutch (or the language of the country where the Spaniard lives) is perfect or at least good enough.

I started to learn Spanish in 1968 from immigrants in the Netherlands.
It could take some time until they would help you out to practice.
When you got really good friends with a Spaniard and his family it was no problem at all but before you reached that point some of them insisted in speaking Dutch even if it was bad Dutch because “in the Netherlands we speak Dutch and I want to practice my Dutch” but when I visited them in Spain they would also speak Dutch to show off their (often bad) Dutch language skills to their family.
Others would speak Spanish but in a simplified way: if they didn’t know Dutch verb tenses and plurals, they wouldn’t use them when speaking Spanish to you.
For instance somebody asked me in Dutch something that in English would have sounded like “you oliday espain?” and if I asked them to repeat it in Spanish it was “tú vacaciones España?” “and I work Ollanduh” would be “yo trabajar Holanda”.
It even continued when my Spanish improved more than their Dutch.
I went to Spain a couple of times and I got so frustrated by this behaviour that aftert 1982 this was one of the reasons I didn’t go back there anymore.
Although as I said, it was certainly not true for all Spaniards but it happened often enough for me to choose other holiday destinations!
Later I started to work as a social worker for immigrants and than my Spanish had become already almost fluent so I could easily require them to speak Spanish in order to make the communication better as I could tell them that in order to be able to help them I needed to understand them.

Nowadays I often use Spanish in social media, I am on several Facebook groups and I don’t see anymore Spaniards with reluctant reactions to my Spanish.


Offensive? Not at all! I’m a native Spanish speaker myself, and I find very flattering when non-native speakers make an effort to speak my language.

But, in any case, at least for me, there are two kinds of foreigners:
For this first group, I use to feel rage when they visit my country and they refuse to make even the minimum effort to speak in Spanish, because of the following: they seem to believe that I would be obligated to speak at least two languages while they would have the ‘‘divine’’ right to speak just their own and be understood.
.
.
Fortunately, these people are not the majority, but they do exist.

On the contrary, if they make a serious effort to fully communicate in Spanish, I respect this a lot.

For this second group, I assume that they have already made an effort to learn English as a second language so to can communicate with the rest of the world, and I’m also conscient that many of them have really difficult native languages.
In this case, when I see them speak in Spanish, It doesn’t matter if they cannot form a full sentence: is always a sign of respect from their part and it makes you admire them for their willness to learn and improve themselves.


It all depends on context.
In general, though, we do not find it offensive.

If a foreigner is visiting a Spanish-speaking country, then the answer would be a resounding no.
We love it when people bother to learn our language enough to be able to reasonably communicate.
Even if it’s a struggle, you will find your experience to be vastly different if you try and speak Spanish vs if you dont.

If I am in a non-Spanish speaking country and I dont speak the language, and the other person speaks Spanish to me, I do not find it offensive.

If I am in a non-Spanish speaking country and speak the language, and the other person automatically starts speaking Spanish to me, then I find it offensive.


Unless you are trying to actively make fun of someone, which I doubt, people love when non-native speakers speak their lannguage, regardless of the language.
I am not a native speaker, but my dad is, and I personally love it when people take an interest and learning about my family’s culture through food, language, etc.
Unless you are disrespecting the culture and people who belong to the culture through stereotypes or other forms, it is a wonderful thing to take time to learn a new language, and a huge compliment to the people who are fluent.
Take any opportunity you can to talk to native speakers, they will not be rude if your speaking is not fluent (unless theyre an asshole), and your accent and word choice will get better as you have more conversations with people who are native! Good Luck!


If you are really interested in speaking and practice my language, I would be glad to speak with you.
Anyone would be.
Phonetic errors? The same faults I make when I try to speak English.
Anyone will be glad to help you.
And you will learn so much about us.

I have lived in other countries and I’ve meet with both sympathetic and non-sympa people.
May be, that occurs – non-sympa people who feels offended – when your interlocutor thinks he have any superiority over you only for speaking any language “of superior culture/country”.
Almost when he is poor-educated and nothing more to show different of his passport.

If you speak with a real intention to know the culture of your interlocutor, with respect, no problem.
Welcome.


Not at all! Not me, at least.
It isn't until I met people online that have been trying to learn Spanish that I actually realised how hard it was to learn.

When I started learning Japanese, the first thing I learned from my Japanese teachers was that they had troubles with the gender of certain (if not most) of the words they said in Spanish, and they had years of living here.
As well as how certain verbs were conjugated with certain personal pronouns (yo bebo, tú bebes, él/ella bebe, etc).

I noticed the same thing about my German teachers, and their grammar is pretty similar to Spanish (believe it, they have a formal you as well!) so it was confusing to me at first.

Now, I've met people who were shocked to find out I was a Spanish speaker in internet, but then, rather shyly, confessed they were lerning and asked if they could practice their Spanish with me.
I always felt flattered and said yes of course! And it felt nice to see people trying to learn such a beautiful language.

So no, we don't feel offended.
:)


We don’t mind when you try to appreciate the culture, but we get pissed when you associate generalizations to our culture.

None of us will get mad when, using your little knowledge of the language, you do your best to say “Hola, ¿cómo estás?” Or when you ask us to pronounce a ceirtain word, let it be a dish, a phrase, or a “how do you say this in Spanish” question.

On the other hand, if I tell you that I speak Spanish and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is a generalization, you can fuck off.

I’m so fucking glad that I’m not going to the U.
S.
anymore, because I’ve heard that my classmates were asked “Oh, you’re Puerto Rican? Despacito!”
I’d just turn around and walk away.


I’m Mexican and my workplace is in the middle of one of the most cosmopolitan zones in Mexico City so I get to hear a lot of tourists or expatriats speak Spanish (or try to).
Personaly (and I know a lot of people like me in this sense) unless your Spanish is super good, I find it funny whenever I hear a foreigner speak Spanish.
Not in a mocking way, it’s just sort of endearingly humourous, hard thing to explain.

By contrast, my boss is Russian but has been living here for about 20 years, and though he has a perceptible accent, he speaks Spanish impecably, so I don’t get that “funny” feeling when I hear him speak.


Offensive wouldn’t be the right word, more annoyed.
It really depends on who and how you approach.
Some people find it almost a compliment that someone learns their language and tries to communicate with them to connect in a way that only language allows.
Other people tend to get annoyed if the speaker isn’t completely fluent or has a bad accent.
If the fluency is there, the accent can be forgiven but if the fluency isn’t there, the accent more than likely won’t be either and communicating in said language becomes a chore you didn’t ask for.

Updated: 16.06.2019 — 1:31 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *