The Spanish Language Blog

What Spanish stereotypes exist and are they true?

Every country is known for a particular stereotype, it doesn’t matter if it is actually true or not. Whether it’s a cup of tea, fish and chips or brussel sprouts in England, to cheese, wine, snails and frogs in France. The question is though what are the Spanish stereotypes and are they actually true? I am British and this might be a completely biased point of view but this is what I think when it comes to Spanish stereotypes:

Do Spaniards work less hard than other European countries?

Something that I have found to be completely misconstrued is that the Spanish work less hard than other Europeans, truth be told it depends on what your definition of working hard is. According to statistics they actually have the longest average working week, at 38.4 hours. You could go out to the country to find people doing 3am shifts and napping all day, to people putting in 50 hour shifts in city centres or businesses etc. People are adamant that because there appears to be a holiday nearly every day that the Spanish don’t work. This has grown more so post economic recession, with the uninformed blaming the Spanish unemployment and financial crisis on this misinformed idea. This is something that is
false through and through. 

What time is it? Siesta time!

The siesta is supposed to be a short nap or a quick shut eye after lunch. Most places in Spain give you 2 hours for lunch, from 14.00 to 16.00, and then you carry on working. Although some people have a siesta,  most people use this time to pick up their kids, go home, cook, eat, drop their kids, and go back to work. Not much time for siesta in reality is it…
Some truth.

They love bullfighting

This is not true. Bullfighting is no longer classed as a sport but rather a cultural tradition. In a lot of communities bull fighting has been banned and is considered quite controversial. It might be a tradition but it is one fighting a losing battle.
Not true.

They only speak Spanish

It might be the second most spoken language in the world and something definitely worth learning, but they do speak Euskera, Catalan and Galego in different areas of Spain. Places like Benidorm, Marbella, Madrid and Valencia have a massive amount of tourism and in all likelihood you can go around just speaking English. Unlike the English, waiters, receptionists and service staff are usually very proficient at speaking a multitude of other languages.  

Tacataaaa, livin la vida loca, salsa and flamenco

Especially when in it comes to music the majority of Europe tend to believe that music, dance and culture all roll into one. Contrary to popular belief Ricky Martin is not Spanish, you are not born with the ability to dance flamenco, and Spain is not Mexico with mariachi bands on every corner. Flamenco is a very difficult dance and needs a lot of practice; it is not something you can improvise.  Truth be told though from what I have seen Spain does play Euro top 10 trash in clubs and bars nearly all night.
Some truth.

They are loud

I’ll admit that when you are in England you can tell there is a Spanish family there from a mile away. They do sound quite loud, but whereas in England we would raise our voice if we are angry, it’s not the same for Spaniards who may quickly raise their voice when discussing something but this clearly does not imply anger.
This one might be true.

Dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin

I won’t bother go into detail but although the majority tend to be brunette and slightly darker, you still get blonde Spaniards with blue eyes so
it’s not true.

Sun, Sea and Beach

Geography seems to go right out of the window when people think of Spain. It somehow becomes invincible to winter or the cool chill it might bring. To be clear, summer is hot, winter is cold. Again the Mediterranean is really nice to swim in and generally is quite warm, but not all year round.

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