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Poll: Have you ever advised anyone on how not to commit a cultural "faux pas"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Andris Dinaburgskis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 07:02
English to Latvian
+ ...
some old stuff Aug 5, 2009

Although most of Latvian people are very tolerant, it is still a bit irksome that some foreigners eternally confuse Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Latvians and Russians.

 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:02
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another one from Brazil Aug 5, 2009

Amy Duncan wrote:
Another thing, Brazilians don't like confrontations or "speaking their minds," so we gringos have to do a little jig to get around that one, too.


And of course, when in Brazil, one should avoid the hand gesture we associate with the word "Okay" as down there it apparently means something like "f*ck off."

[Edited at 2009-08-05 15:07 GMT]


 

Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:02
Member (2004)
English to French
About the number of flowers in a bouquet in Latvia Aug 6, 2009

Andris, you might know the answer. I know there is a difference between the number of flowers contained in a bouquet depending on the occasion. One is odd, the other is even. So you can't offer (and it's here I don't remember which is which) an odd/even number of flowers for a romantic occasion, as it's considered rude. The other number is for funerals.

I have been to Latvia over 10 years ago, as I have relatives there, but can't get this fact straight.


 

Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 02:02
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Terms of endearment Aug 7, 2009

In certain social situations Spanish speakers tend to address each other, even though strangers, with terms of endearment. In Argentina, it's very usual to hear men in a casual interaction calling each other "amigo" (friend), "brader" (brother), "maestro" (teacher), "jefe" (boss). Terms of endearment are generally used by men to address women or among women in order to express politeness. For instance, a doctor may address a female patient, even in a first appointment, as "gordita" (literally, ... See more
In certain social situations Spanish speakers tend to address each other, even though strangers, with terms of endearment. In Argentina, it's very usual to hear men in a casual interaction calling each other "amigo" (friend), "brader" (brother), "maestro" (teacher), "jefe" (boss). Terms of endearment are generally used by men to address women or among women in order to express politeness. For instance, a doctor may address a female patient, even in a first appointment, as "gordita" (literally, 'chubby'). This word is widely used by shop assistants to address a woman regardless of her physical appearance. Other expressions are: querida, reina, cielo, corazón, tesoro, negra (literally: darling, queen, sky, heart, treasure, dark-skinned). Many foreigners, even Spanish speakers, tend to believe that in Argentina we use "che" to address anyone in any situation; that's not the case: "che" (a mapuche word which means 'person') is socially accepted only among acquaintances, friends or family members.
It is also very common in Spanish to shorten people´s names or to add the ending '-ito/-ita' to names. For instance, the name María becomes Mari or Marita; Susana becomes Susanita or just Susi or Su.
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Jānis Līmežs
Latvia
Local time: 07:02
English to Latvian
+ ...
Odd number of flowers for most occasions Aug 8, 2009

Nina Khmielnitzky wrote:

Andris, you might know the answer. I know there is a difference between the number of flowers contained in a bouquet depending on the occasion. One is odd, the other is even. So you can't offer (and it's here I don't remember which is which) an odd/even number of flowers for a romantic occasion, as it's considered rude. The other number is for funerals.

I have been to Latvia over 10 years ago, as I have relatives there, but can't get this fact straight.


Latvians love to give flowers at many different occasions like birthday, namesday, wedding, graduation, at the first day to school (to a teacher), at theatre (to an actor after a performance), et cetera, et cetera. The general rule for these occasions is odd number of flowers; however, to a funeral or graveyard you would bring even number of flowers.
Searching for reference I found that a recent survey by a local radio station found out that 2/3 of respondents would obey this rule.


 
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