Can you run that by me again and again and again and again?

Philippines
January 17, 2013 9:25pm CST
I met my friend who lives in Korea to catch up on each other's lives. She was with a Japanese friend. I was introduced to her friend and we tried to talk to each other but I ended up saying "pardon","please say it one more time","can you run that by me again?" It just so embarrassing to ask her to repeat her words and sentences but I couldn't help because of the way she pronounced the words. I didn't mean to sound rude. It is of course a common knowledge that English is not her mother tongue. And I highly appreciated that she tried to converse with me in English.She was so nice and very friendly.In fact, we'll be meeting again before I leave for Philippines.I just told her that I am sometimes hard of hearing so she would not get offended. Have you ever experienced this? What did you do so the person you were talking with did not feel offended?
12 responses
@jenny1015 (13389)
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
When I went to Japan for a short stay as an Exchange Student, there were times that I could not communicate with my foster mother. She barely knows English and I only know just a few Japanese terms and simple conversational phrases. So, what I did was either I'd do a sign language to point out what I mean or make use of a dictionary. But most of the time, I found that my foster mother would not even talk to me coz she is very shy of her poor English skills.
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
wow I would to be an Exchange student but I guess I am now old to do that. How long did you stay in Japan? I would love to travel to Japan someday.
@jenny1015 (13389)
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
It was just for a month. It was during the summer of 1987. That was such a looooong time ago!
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
I would love to go there again in any capacity. I had yet to climb the Tokyo Tower even though I can it for my room.
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
had to do this while conversing with a Japanese hotel employee. She nearly didn't let me go out of the hotel because she didn't understand my English and even though she said her sentence in the same language. I didn't blame her and had to swicth to impel Japanese and with additional help from another Japanese.
@dee777 (1418)
• South Africa
18 Jan 13
Lucky you - at least you could have a conversation with her!
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
You are just honest in asking again and again as long it was delivered nicely is understandable at least you are honest. To correct in the future why not study basic communications of that person before meeting him again as long as you are true to your words you've nothing to be ashamed.
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
She is actually a female. I am just vacationing in this country with my husband.It just so happen that this Japanese girl tagged along with my Korean friend. I don't think I need to study her language because I am not going to live in Japan.
@jaiho2009 (39001)
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
I also have a friend who sometimes speak words that I cannot understand. Sometimes I ask them to repeat and sometimes I just smiled or nod my head. It's nice to have friends from other countries- but language has become a great barrier to know them well.
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
Yes that's true,it's great to have friends from other countries.
@marguicha (104017)
• Chile
22 Jan 13
I have been in both situations: one one of them I have been the native speker and in the other I have been speaking another language. She will not be offended. Just tell her to, please, speak very slowly so that accents donĀ“t get in the way. And start by speaking slowly yourself.
@ZoeJoy (1395)
• United States
19 Jan 13
Sometimes it is hard to figure out what a person is saying because they don't speak very well. Sometimes, I just nod my head. But then I realize that the other person is wondering why I am nodding when they have just asked me a question. It can get into some funny situations. It is an awkward situation to be in - so if you didn't want to offend her, perhaps it was the right thing to say to her that you are hard of hearing. Which is the truth, you are hard of hearing what SHE is saying. Perhaps, that will help her to slow down and speak more clearly. Sometimes if someone is trying to speak English and English is not their first language, I will repeat back a word or two, so that they can hear how it is suppose to sound like. Most people appreciate that. I do so, because I want to help that person and they appreciate that I take the time to help them.
• Philippines
19 Jan 13
If I were that Korean, I wouldn't think you're rude. I would feel bad about myself though for giving a new friend a hard time just to converse with me. However, I would say that you would have to exert much more effort that you did when you were speaking with her. The thing is there would always be people who would have a hard time pronouncing words because of their accents and the affect of their native language on their second language is very much obvious. I know it is hard but c'mon! You said it yourself, she's a nice person. I believe it feels really great having friends like that despite of language barrier.
@doroffee (4230)
• Hungary
18 Jan 13
I always have awkward things like that, but it's mostly due to the fact that I just can't understand whsipering. I don't have bad hearing, but whispered words I sometimes can't put together...
@dee777 (1418)
• South Africa
18 Jan 13
I am sure that she knows that she does not pronounce the English words correctly. I am also sure that she understands that you will not always understand her. Do not feel embarrassed in asking her to explain herself. Perhaps you should tell her that you struggle a bit understanding her? Many a time I have to ask my husband 'what did you say?' His problem is that he does not open his mouth when he talks!
@anne25penn (3310)
• Philippines
18 Jan 13
I used to work in a call center and even though the clients that we service live in the US, not everyone will be native Americans. I always feel bad when I spoke with Koreans because we always end up that they have to call back when they have someone who can speak more fluent English. Like you, after the call I would ask myself if I had been rude or if I made the person I spoke with feel bad. But there was this one Japanese lady that I was able to fix her internet problem even though she knew little English. The difference? She knew a lot about her computer, so I would be giving instructions and based it on the icons of the PC. After we were able to fix her connection problem we were both laughing because we both knew we couldn't really understand each other but we were able to make her computer work.
@cupkitties (7561)
• United States
18 Jan 13
The only non native English speakers that I trouble understanding, are telemarketers and I just hang up on them. I might do the same as you, though it depends on who I'm talking to. Example would be If I mispronounce a word a Spanish, my Spanish speaking friends will have a fit of giggles before correcting me on it. So I don't think they'd be offended if I admit to not catching everything they say. With someone who I'm not so certain about, I'd ask them to repeat themselves if necessary and try to listen more carefully.
@Lucky12 (770)
• United States
18 Jan 13
Well I have been in this situation and I just asked them to repeat, but then I started saying what I thought they said so I could understand. I basically took words that I understood and then asked them if that is what they meant and vise verse. I mean it was not rude at all, because many that do not have English as their native tongue can get confused or you will have to ask them to repeat sometimes so that you can understand. All you do is just listen closely and see if you can make out most of the words that she is saying, because most of the time you will get what she is trying to say. Good Luck. :)