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Old 03-20-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I think that, in general, the polite thing to do is to still try to keep your conversation private, even though you're in public.  If you're talking loud enough that others can hear you, then you're too loud, anyway.  It's obnoxious to have others be subjected to your conversation (whether the content/language is offensive or not!!)  As if what you have to say is important enough that more people than your companion(s) need to hear it.  I don't care if you're cursing or commenting on what a beautiful day it is.  The words are intended for the hearer and no more.  If the circumstances are such that you have to talk over other people, then the conversation needs to be neutral and well-mannered.  Otherwise, take it some place else.  In the OP's case, I would have absolutely said something.  I would have been polite, but I would have asked them to either clean up their language or speak more quietly.  We are not prudes here about language, either, but there is something to be said for using manners in public vs. being more relaxed at home.

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Old 03-20-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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Obscene speech is not protected under under the constitution.  I'm not sure why people think freedom of speech means being able to say absolutely anything anywhere.  

 

I wouldn't hesitate to give people a friendly "Hey, would you mind not teaching my kid new words," comment with a smile if it was a situation where we couldn't easily relocate and I thought ds was paying attention to their conversation.  People are usually reasonable and simply didn't realize there was a kid nearby.  But I use my judgment and wouldn't say anything to someone that gave me bad vibes, seemed possibly aggressive or under the influence of something.  And I've been surprised by how little ds noticed what people outside of who he was interacting with were saying.


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Old 03-20-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post

To those who have said that, if they were loud enough for me to hear, they were being too loud or disruptive, I have to clarify. The tables where we were were jammed so close together and the place was so loud (yeah, not going there during lunch rush ever again) that we might as well have been sharing a table. I didn't feel like they were being obnoxious or disruptive, my son just happened to be riveted by their conversation, despite my attempts to distract him back to our table. I'm not surprised-they were talking in an animated way.


 

 


I looked at your location, but then you said you are in Utah, so I wasn't sure what your experiences elsewhere have been.  I just wanted to mention that in many European countries, you are seated at a table with other people.  That is, you may have a 4 or 6 top, where you and your partner are seated across from each other and right next to you, there is another couple, or on either side of you... all at the same table.  Often times, it's just one long table where you may be just next to your dining companions or across the way from them.  Somehow, I've never experienced a problem with overhearing a whole conversation in even THIS close proximity when abroad.  Even when animated conversations are obviously in progress, they still seem to be able to keep the conversation private.  If I hear a loud conversation in these contexts, guess what language it is in?  Yep, American English.  And everyone else is rolling their eyes about it.  No wonder Americans have such a reputation abroad as being rude.  It is *absolutely* possible to hold a conversation right next to other people without being so loud to be overheard, as most of the rest of the world knows.  What makes the French somehow particularly able to have quiet conversations even in busy places, but Americans can't?  Tact.  Pure and simple.

 

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Old 03-20-2011, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, I'm really curious about this. I have often heard it said that Americans are very impersonal communicators, so I wonder if they speak more loudly because they are not watching each other's faces and lips move. Just a hypothesis, of course. :)

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I looked at your location, but then you said you are in Utah, so I wasn't sure what your experiences elsewhere have been.  I just wanted to mention that in many European countries, you are seated at a table with other people.  That is, you may have a 4 or 6 top, where you and your partner are seated across from each other and right next to you, there is another couple, or on either side of you... all at the same table.  Often times, it's just one long table where you may be just next to your dining companions or across the way from them.  Somehow, I've never experienced a problem with overhearing a whole conversation in even THIS close proximity when abroad.  Even when animated conversations are obviously in progress, they still seem to be able to keep the conversation private.  If I hear a loud conversation in these contexts, guess what language it is in?  Yep, American English.  And everyone else is rolling their eyes about it.  No wonder Americans have such a reputation abroad as being rude.  It is *absolutely* possible to hold a conversation right next to other people without being so loud to be overheard, as most of the rest of the world knows.  What makes the French somehow particularly able to have quiet conversations even in busy places, but Americans can't?  Tact.  Pure and simple.

 



 

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Old 03-20-2011, 11:29 PM
 
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Nobody made me the language police.  I might have left or moved to a different table, but I'm not telling other adults how to speak in public.

 

That, plus just for clarity since I'm sure some people wonder about it, I generally don't swear gratuitously in public either. If you're in my home you might hear a few choice words now and then though.
 

 


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Old 03-21-2011, 04:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post


Wow, I'm really curious about this. I have often heard it said that Americans are very impersonal communicators, so I wonder if they speak more loudly because they are not watching each other's faces and lips move. Just a hypothesis, of course. :)



 

 

IDK.  I have a lot of theories from my own observations, but nothing definitive.  I've lived and traveled abroad most of my adult life (the past 25 years or so) and when you take the typical clueless American out of the context of America, it is truly appalling.  Loud, crass... embarrassing.  I am so hyper-aware of this that I'm probably a little too timid and soft-spoken when abroad.  You just simply do not see this (the topic of the OP) happen abroad.  We were just in Italy a few months ago, and even the expressive Italians are able to keep their dinner conversations (in tiny Trattorias) private.
 

 

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Old 03-21-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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I think this is one of those things, like good table manners, that are nice and considerate, but not mandatory. I can choose to judge the heck out of someone who wouldn't think twice about using the F word around small kids, but I can't make them stop doing it, kwim? And to be honest, I don't think it's even my place to ask. Some people might disagree, so they're free to nicely ask people to watch their language, but that's about the extent of it. 

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Old 03-21-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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I am not a fan of swearing.  I will express that yes, some adults will use those words but I do not like them and don't feel they need to be used. 

 

It does make me think of dinner the other night.  I live in a border town.  At the table next to us was an American man and a Canadian woman.  I knew this because the guy was so incredibly loud.  Hubby and I kept chuckling about it.  By the end of the meal we knew where he was from, how many dogs and kids he has, the fact that his daughter just got married (in Vegas), we learned all about the island he was from, what he does for a living...pretty much everything.  The woman we could barely hear and all we learned was that she was a teacher (and what school) as well as having 2 kids.  We learned this because the very loud guy was asking about these. LOL  We were not eavesdropping. but there was no way to avoid hearing him.  I wonder if some people just don't know how to use their "inside voices". 


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Old 03-21-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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I don't feel that other people should somehow know what I find offensive in front of my kids and censor themselves. If I am uncomfortable with what my child is hearing, I remove her from the situation, I don't expect the world to moderate itself for my child.
 

 


^^^This!^^^^

IMO it's my job as a parent to help guide my child as to what language is appropriate where. I can't protect him from everything, and swearing is a part of life. Sooner or later he's going to have to learn what is appropriate to say when and where, and actually this situation is a great learning opportunity.

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

IDK.  I have a lot of theories from my own observations, but nothing definitive.  I've lived and traveled abroad most of my adult life (the past 25 years or so) and when you take the typical clueless American out of the context of America, it is truly appalling.  Loud, crass... embarrassing.  I am so hyper-aware of this that I'm probably a little too timid and soft-spoken when abroad.  You just simply do not see this (the topic of the OP) happen abroad.  We were just in Italy a few months ago, and even the expressive Italians are able to keep their dinner conversations (in tiny Trattorias) private.
 

you know i find this true of cell phone conversations too. i noticed in europe (i am only comparing europe with USA, because there are other louder countries) years ago way, way more people using and talking on the phone than here. while i could hear them, i could not make out details of what they were saying. here and in asia (exept for a few) me and the others around and behind me could hear clearly what was going on. even in the train in England for instance everyone was on the phone but i could hardly make out anything - sometimes not even that the person was talking.

 

i have seen those softer examples here too, but they are v. v. rare.

 

 


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Old 03-21-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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I live in Germany and I can tell you there is plenty of cell phone rudeness on trains, etc.

However, the general volume level in restaurants is WAY lower than on average in the States. I am always shocked when we visit the US how extremely loud the restaurants are. It is, IME, just one of those very obvious and noticeable cultural differences. And it's also true IME that Americans visiting here are sometimes recognizable from across a restaurant just by their volume.


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Old 03-21-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post



 

IDK.  I have a lot of theories from my own observations, but nothing definitive.  I've lived and traveled abroad most of my adult life (the past 25 years or so) and when you take the typical clueless American out of the context of America, it is truly appalling.  Loud, crass... embarrassing.  I am so hyper-aware of this that I'm probably a little too timid and soft-spoken when abroad.  You just simply do not see this (the topic of the OP) happen abroad.  We were just in Italy a few months ago, and even the expressive Italians are able to keep their dinner conversations (in tiny Trattorias) private.
 

 


This is true - after years of living in the US I have to monitor myself for volume when in other countries just to make sure I'm not operating on an American decibel level.
 

 

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Old 12-30-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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Personally I dont have any issues with swearing at all, both my bf and I swear alot, both in our home and in public. We certainly dont do it loudly but they are just words, so its no big deal for us. Our children will no doubt learn these words, either from us or at school, so its our job to help them learn when it is appropriate to use them.  

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Old 12-31-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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  I'm not talking about a simple damn it or hell.  I'm talking "fu&^%$# bi$%^" or the C word or P word

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what is the P word?

I was out to a late lunch yesterday with my mom and my 3 year old. A very loud group of young 20 somethings came in and started playing pool (we were at the table next to the pool table) and talking and swearing SO loudly.. one of them was within a few inches of whacking me in the head with his pool cue at one point.. THey were all yelling and carrying on.. I was annoyed by it but I didn't say anything. My mom sort of glared at the one girl who was the loudest and the sweariest, and she said something like "OH! SORRY! I didn't see your kid!" but then "forgot" again after a few minutes. They were so obnoxious I think they must have been drunk. I don't know how you could be that annoying sober.

I do expect people to watch their mouths in public. If you are at a bar or something, that is one thing. You can be reasonably sure that no one will mind your swearing there. I think it is common courtesy. It isn't even about kids being around. it is about using appropriate language for the setting and time of day. I swear in the comfort of my own home/social group, but I work with kids all day so I am quite accustomed to censoring myself. I find it a little sad that people either can't or won't extend the same courtesy while out in public.

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