https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

She Didn't Know I Could Understand Spanish

I was at a restaurant with my spanish speaking friend and mother(they are from Puerto Rico). I can understand spanish just fine but speaking it is hard for me. We ended up going to this really nice restaurant and we all sit down. Her mother looks around and then at the menu and says, "This place is for white people," in spanish. I start laughing and my friend says, "She understands you." She turned to me, paused, laughed and said, "Well it's true!"

Please do not take offense to this! I am just recounting a story. I am a white person and honestly I found this so funny. Again, this is not meant to be offensive.

EDIT AUGUST 6th: Thank you to the people who are laughing at this and not freaking out. I appreciate it.

EDIT AUGUST 7th: Holy moly guys. 160 upvotes? This is so cool! Imma bout to be throwing lingots to every commenter when I get enough!

EDIT AUGUST 9th: I gave everyone I could a lingot. If you did not get one its bc i ran out

August 5, 2019

162 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlanFC

I did read this post several times because I could not understand the story, then I saw the downvotes and assumed the post is actually offensive. But I did read it again and just now I notice that the phrase "Esto es para blancos" is not write in the menu, instead it say it by the mother. I guess that is a reason to improve my english haha.

Good story!

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hoges.110

☆ Your English actually sounds quite good!

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

haha thanks and your english is really good!

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hoges.110

Um...I meant Alan's English! Read the last line of his post!

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

haha i know. That's who i was responding to.

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AxelUhas

Bullet dodged huh?

August 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NameIsNaeim

more like meteor

August 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cucumberman

The what? Why are people downvoting you? You recounted a story in which you did nothing offensive! Have a lingot. I feel your sorrow.

August 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

Dude... Thank you. For the lingot and the understanding

August 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

Exactly! Nothing offensive! ;D

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PercyJack12

Hey, I'm so sorry people are downvoting you, you were just sharing s story. I tried to upvote it, but it is still at -1. Sorry, That isn't fair. Here I would also like to give you two lingots to make it five. Maybe other people found it offensive, but I didn't and I want to thank you for sharing and being open and for being a part of the Forum.

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

Wow! That's crazy how now it has 49 likes and it used to have -2! LOL

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ali111385

I took no offense at your story. In respect to the reactions of some, I will say that sometimes PC can go too far. The mother said this in an almost half- jokingly way in reference to the type of food that was on the menu -- not her usual favored cuisine. And good for you that you understood her. That's a major step before moving on to speaking comfortably.

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

Thank you. It's nice to have more positive comments.

August 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guaybana_elBravo

This is a perfect example of how cultural perceptions affect language and communication. Puerto Rico and the US do not share a cultural background, so the word-by-word phrase means the same in both countries, but they do not carry the same context. While in the US this will raise eyebrows and may be considered offensive, in Puerto Rico this will mean that the menu is not typical Puertorrican cuisine or even that the dishes, although familiar, may be expensive.

Culture is the reason why Google Translate (or online language learning for that matter) will never replace learning a language from a person.

August 14, 2019

[deactivated user]

    haha that's funny it also happened to me when i was learning dutch. some kids saw me and since i am form Nigeria and i am brown they were laughing at me and they were shouting mean stuff at me and since i was learning dutch i could understand all they were saying so shouted back at them and then one of them said 'she can understand us' and when they all realized that they came up to me and started saying sorry.

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tori844723

    i'm so glad you were courageous enough to risk a confrontation. it gave those kids a chance to learn and it lightened what could have been a disappointment in humanity, for you. we all have way too many disappointments in humanity.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Aww. That's so nice and so not nice. :D LOL

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuoDinga

    I'm so sorry that you went through that-- people can be so terrible.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GEL1967

    I imagine your friends mother was mortified that you understood her at first. Glad she too had a sense of humor about it. :-)

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    haha she has no filters!

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    yep!

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HerbertMcC1

    Very glad you are learning quite well. I remembered when I was in Spain when I ran into two rude young French tourists on the train. After complementing their appearance, they gave me a smug look and one of them gave me the most condescending complement I've ever heard. Needless to say, they proceeded talking about me in French, thinking that I was an African migrant. So half that ride, I was subjected to hearing a lot of Acrophobic, racist, and xenophobic comments about me. After getting off the train. I said au revior and their eyes instantly lit up.

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @HerbertMcC1 You should have said “au revior (expletive of your choice)

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fillmoe

    I'm reading the original post and think the mother simply meant that the food was more US American or European style than Puerto Rican or Latin American.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelipeFromUSA

    Puerto Rican food is European style

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tori844723

    only as much as "American" food is. lol.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @Tori844723 Hamburgers and grits are not European, IMO.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guaybana_elBravo

    I'm guessing there was no "arroz con gandules", "lechón asado", "pasteles", "tostones" or "malta India" in the menu...

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SweetPaw

    Mofongo relleno de pulpo, bacalitos, mabí, quesitos y cafe, mallorcas.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @SweetPaw I’m intrigued, what is mallorcas?

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tony415565

    Ortele on the story. Most likely you're being down voted because of the title. Most of the down votes probably didnt even read the story.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    True! Haha! People just really like to downvote.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    also, just changed the title

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    good point. I shoulda thought of that:/

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David10732010

    That is comical. I think your friend's mother learned a rather important lesson that day

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/la_creyente

    Love this!! This is not offensive it's a story people, get it right. ;)

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    Amen

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    LOL I know right? :D

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Codemaster254

    I love your stories

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    I'm totally not freaking out. I LOVE IT!! XD

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tori844723

    ive been blessed to have many bilingual friends and more than once I've seen them pretend not to hear insults from people who didn't know they spoke that language. I've always wanted to intervene but never thought it was my place (often it was in a workplace). however now that i'm older I always think that it's best to bring it to the speakers attention so that they have an opportunity to learn. I know a lot of people are afraid of confrontation, but most people are open to it and a warm response is common. btw, I do intervene now, because i'm no longer the timid woman I was then. :)

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    I was hoping for some really snarky personal comment about you.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

    OP

    What did the mother actually say?

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Berto29441

    Someone forgot that this is a language course

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    I don't think so, I know just fine. It was a funny situation where I understood spanish and i think that is super cool.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MERIEZ2

    ok parabens

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/French_Swedish

    I don't see this funny.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    You don't have to. XD

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    Well I am sorry you don't have a sense of humor. I'm getting tired of all this hate. To all: If you don't have anything positive to say, don't say it at all.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    HAHA! True! Have you seen psych? It has that kind of humor sometimes! :D BEST... SHOW... EVER!

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ficsean

    You know, I found your story funny and all, but you're in for a lot of disappointment if you expect every comment to be exactly what you want.

    My suggestion? Quit acting like a princess and learn to take different opinions.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josh495265

    L.O.L. I don't think thats offensive!! my grandma did something simular the other day!!!!! just she said a bad word XD!

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerson_Ponce

    I am now thinking how many times something like that has happened to people hahaahah

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sunset1138

    I had an experience like that with an English here in Brazil, she thought we wouldn't understand her, and she said "These mosquitos will make me sick like them (Brazilians) "

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrancaEllerman

    I'm part Spaniard, which is a white European country, and I still find this funny. It's a light joke that isn't actually saying the food is only for white people, just joking around. And that's coming from someone who is often considered "not Hispanic enough" because I'm white.

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaCavazo1

    Both of my my parents are from mexico, so I'm fluent. Still, I'm REALLY white - not pale, but white - so people are always super surprised when they find out. some found out after going through all of elementary school with me!

    as in, no, no offense taken here

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Wow! That's cool. :D

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marian47950

    Me, too! People always assume I'm half-Mexican. Nope, both my parents are Mexicans, but I am not fluent in Spanish which is why I'm using Duolingo.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertTatt1

    And how is "this place is for white people" in Spanish? Is it "este lugar es para Gringos" ?

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Libertad54

    In Spain we would not say anything like that. It makes no sense here.

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deanna803801

    imagine if she said ''my son sucks'' (no offense) but good story

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Haha! What the dickens! (If you don't know, that is a phrase that not many people know. XD)

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/catie_j
    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Me too! :D

    I don't know if this is for anyone else, but I can't see the post on here cause it has emojis but I saw it on Gmail. LOL

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vetyr_Cylni

    Huh, i cant see a thing of it.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    It's because there is an emoji. I don't know why. Haha!

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/catie_j

    oops i added an emoji so no one can see:

    this is so funny!! that happens to me too ;)

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    :D Yeah. It's fine tho. Haha!

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/srgnar

    Yo quiero un lingote :v

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vetyr_Cylni

    ¿Por que? Necesitas completar mas leciones.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/srgnar

    Solo uso Duolingo por el foro nada mas. :)

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manuel.e.d

    Los comentarios leídos aquí me recordaron una historia de hace años cuando estaba aprendiendo inglés. Yo era un estudiante universitario y mi hermano un adolescente, estábamos en la goma de tratar hablar inglés lo que más pudiéramos, pero nuestro vocabulario no era muy amplio, usualmente nos chanceábamos con palabrotas en inglés y soltábamos la risa. Un día fuimos con nuestros padres de paseo a los Estados Unidos, estábamos en un hotel con un bello circuito de golf; me acuerdo que uno de esos días íbamos al restaurante para desayunar, de repente mi hermano me pego un calvazo (soft hit on the head) y salió corriendo, yo por un segundo olvide que no me encontraba en mi país y grite “enano, kiss my ass”, obviamente todo el mundo me volteo a mirar; ese día aprendí a cuidar mis palabras fuera en el idioma que fuera.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xdBeastBoy

    lol funny story

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frank540176

    I do not understand, please explain to me your joke. There is anything to do with being white and a restaurant menu??

    I'm sorry for my english is not my native language

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caitlin986915

    I am new at Spanish

    August 12, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carlos708971

    its fun for me too, am a latin men

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy229282

    The offense is written on the menu, some people are blind to how offensive they can be from the day man and woman first began to walk the earth we all became migrants, spreading our kind across the globe. You do not have to go far to hear someone who sounds different or looks different, they are every bit as good if not better.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @roy229282 It was not written on the menu. A customer in the restaurant said it in Spanish. I think the customer assumed no one there understood Spanish.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoyDreessen

    I would had a smile too

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    me too! I don't care if people do that. We ARE all different, but we're all people. ;D

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chilotin

    It's funny because the concept "blanco" in Spanish includes most Puerto Ricans.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/berouz

    "Esto es para blancos" is extremely easy to understand even for people that don't know Spanish. Not wise choice of words if you don't want other people to undertand you.

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndoniSolorzano

    LOL

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AllisonHar81678

    This is pretty funny

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rose336789

    Haha that is a good story!

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyElPescador

    Probablamente mejor dejar fuera el "could" en tu titulo.
    Debería leer: She Didn't Know I Understood Spanish

    Saludos cordiales. TR

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julesgarr

    Something like this happened to my Spanish teacher LOL

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Obitex

    lol

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    Holy moly guys. 160 upvotes? This is so cool! Imma bout to be throwing lingots to every commenter when I get enough!

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NameIsNaeim

    Physically throw your lingots at me.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    have 3

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Este fue muy simpatico. :D (I don't know if that spanish was right. XD)

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Wow! That's amazing! Oh! So is the upvote thing!

    That was a joke! Haha! :D

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    what???

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Just something from tangled and I changed it up a little. You just don't have my sense of humor. Hehe. honestly, though, you do, CAUSE I LOVE THAT STORY!!! hehe

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    okayyyy

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GAS_GAS_GAS

    I speak "despacito"

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bokeron12234

    have ingots for that semi-akward situation

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Dizma

    A lot of funny moments can come from someone feeling like they are speaking "privately"... ;P - I remember at a restaurant once when I told my mother in Portuguese "Please stop eating with your mouth open" and the waiter laughed and I was like "...oh, you speak Portuguese don't you" he says "Yes" XD

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chunkitu

    It can be very funny when Speakers of Other Languages don't realize that more than just their audience can understand. Working with the Deaf in Bolivia, I encountered this many times, since I don't speak when I sign. Sometimes, it's hard not to laugh.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @chunkitu Do people in Bolivia and the US use the same sign language? Would they be able to sign and understand each other? Thank you for your reply.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mnnkim

    I get the same reaction from people when they realize I understand French as well. Always a laugh when they try to figure out is they said something insulting to me. LOL

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MorallyGray

    I understood my friend's mother asking her who I was, and answered back. Pretty big confidence booster.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @MorallyGray “My name is Inigo Montoya.”

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    You killed my father, prepare to die. XD

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alberto_Loredo

    Sometimes the people assume that you will not understand anything whether they speak in their native languages.

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rejsegal

    You just never know. I was caught once in Rio and once in Lausanne, both times speaking Danish to a friend and thinking nobody around us would understand. We didn't say anything bad ;-)

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Riley338009

    This is hilarious!

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/snowwolf0111

    it is so cool to be multilingual and people like it when you can speak their language and yes it is even more funny and cool when they do not expect it !

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Han_413114

    Haha that's funny. I have a couple friends who speak Spanish and what I'm hoping is to surprise them by knowing what they are saying :p

    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soofiiab
    August 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLISONTHO654832

    lol that is amazing that you could understand it because the duolingo people speak really fast!

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HorseGirl33264

    Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm not sure I understand. Why would giving lingots be a thing? I mean, once you buy everything, that's it, right? Is there something else that you can spend lingots on that I'm unaware of? I would like to lend lingots, but I don't know what it is for.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    I know right? Why can't you buy more things. I have 151 lingots, but I don't know how to use them. Haha!

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jzw0025

    Intersting

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladTsuprak

    lmao people calm down its just a joke

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReneC2001

    hahahaah

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelipeFromUSA

    Puerto Rico has 50%+ of white people that make up Puerto Rico. So.... I dont know what she means by saying "this is for white people" She is very ignorant, and may I add not very smart. (no offensive).

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChillyenChili

    Is there something you are trying to prove by your comments? I'm noticing a disturbing pattern from your post history.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelipeFromUSA

    Just want to educate people in the truth cause there are a lot of people who get things wrong and are ignorant on every side. People miss use things and what not. Just want to spread the truth of things and knowledge.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChillyenChili

    Hey same here so instead of "not very smart" use the word "unintelligent" and maybe reel it in a little because otherwise people might think your language is coming from a very orange source heh.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelipeFromUSA

    Ok I will make more of an effort on my wording from now on :D

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FelipeFromUSA

    (Also people love being racist) so thats why, I want the truth of this knowledge spread. I want people to be smarter and understand things about Latin American people etc.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronvogler

    Ranked number 4 in the Ruby League last week just about 15 minutes before closing time. Duo dropped me out although I had several hundred more points than number 10

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FLchick

    @Ronvogler I think you are in the wrong discussion.

    August 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lee36847

    I was not offended but I think in todays socio-political climate any post that requires the disclaimer "this is not meant to be offensive" is probably a post better off not sent

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    Ikr? Annoying. XD

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kitalexi

    the main problem with your comment is that if you replace 'white' with another color- would you be offended?

    August 5, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hoges.110

    There's always a risk you take here....I live in Samoa for my studies. One time someone on the forum said, "Apparently Samoans are the fattest people in the world." I said, "Are you calling me fat?" She answered, "Well are you?" I would say that is....'undiplomatic.' But hilarious too! Let's not take our differences too seriously here....

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    Yeah... I know thats true. Duo needs a block button

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaCavazo1

    as i'm scrolling down, i can't find the compliment section for some reason

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    LOL That's great! :D

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GEL1967

    It was a funny situation. No need for anyone reading her recounting of it to take offense to it.

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acmact

    no not at all. Im recounting a story. It's not like it's my view. BTW I am white

    August 5, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaCavazo1

    same here... i'm a white mexican

    August 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1083531311

    yes

    August 6, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellacarter9

    No! Of course not! I mean, / woudn't.

    August 6, 2019
    Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.