Speaking a different tongue...

United States
March 26, 2007 5:38pm CST
How rude or normal is it to speak in a language that somebody in that group does not understand? Is it just normal and okay to do so? Or should it be avoided because it is rude? What is your opinion regarding speaking in a language that someone in the group cannot understand? I am Chinese, and when I was still studying in Manila, I don't speak that much Chinese even with a Taiwanese classmate of ours because we are surrounded by Filipino friends, and I just did not want them to feel uneasy because they do not understand what I am saying. But in certain instances I felt like it was okay because they didn't really seem offended by it, instead they were curious and were asking me how to say this and that.
6 people like this
28 responses
@greengal (4286)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I think you did the right thing by speaking in your own language only after assessing the situation. In my opinion speaking in a language not common to all in the group is down right rude, it not only shows you don't have manners but also sends a wrong message to the ones who can't understand what we are saying. Recently one of my neighbours invited a few of us to her house for dinner. She has invited her other friends too and they all speak one language. They were very rude and wouldn't talk in English when all of us were around. That of course let to two groups within that small party and none of us enjoyed it that much. I would do no such thing, here in the US I've made friends from my own country but we speak different regional languages, when we all are together I stick to English that way everybody understands what's being said. To speak once in a while is ok but not all the time.
1 person likes this
@lindajia (70)
• China
27 Mar 07
i'm going to face the same situation, i will go to singapore in june.I don't know if i should speak english or chinese when i meet a chinese friend there.
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
You can use either mandarin chinese or english. Everybody there knows both. I believe that they are required to be conversant in both.
@evelynlyp (788)
• Japan
27 Mar 07
I think its okay to speak a different language, after all you are speaking to the person who understands you and not to the rest. Besdies, if you don't practise using the languages that you know, you'll forget words eventually. I've been reading some of the responses to this discussion and I notice that quite a lot of people have a fear about other people saying negative things about themselves. I don't believe people in this world are jumping at the chance to say negative things about people every single time they can. Also I think its time people stop needing other people's approval abou their whole person. I also think that those people who are afraid of people bad mouthing them, tend to do a lot of bad mouthing about other people. I avoid talking bad about anyone. It does come in my mind that just because someone is saying something in a different language, they are bad mouthing me.
• Japan
27 Mar 07
I forgot to add that, however it is rude if you kept speaking in a different language for a prolong period. The rest of the group will be starting to feel ignored.
• Philippines
28 Mar 07
i find it rude whenever people are talking with different language when i am around. especially when they laugh and then look at me, making me feel so uncomfortable. i sometimes get to situations like these and it makes me feel offended and insecure. there are times when my family will talk to each other using our dialect, but when mu husband is with us, we would change dialect immediately. we don't want him to feel that we are talking about him. but there are times i talk to him in my ilocano dialect because i wanted to teach him those words. i'll talk to him in ilocano and he'll answer back in tagalog.
@tishabest (602)
• Belgium
27 Mar 07
I consider speaking in a language some don't understand to be quite rude. It happens to me often and it feels uncomfortable. I don't mean the occasional phrase here and there but whole conversations when others have no idea what you're talking about is inapproriate.
• United States
27 Mar 07
I think it's pretty rude if you're in a large group of people and only one or two of you speak your language. A greeting would be fine, but more than that is separating yourself from the group without being graceful about it. If you're in a culture where your language is the minority, then of course make friends with people who speak it so you can get together in groups to talk to one another, but that way you wouldn't be shutting other people out. Also, if you speak another language while playing a game, other people might think you're cheating, or at least have no way of knowing. There's a scene like that in the movie "Rounders" with Ed Norton.
@mac1946 (1602)
• Calgary, Alberta
27 Mar 07
I find this to be an interesting discussion,but it appears to be that everyone is only concerned with what is beeing said. I beleive it would depend on where you were.if you were in another country,and you new the language,you should use that language only. As an English speaker,if I travelled or moved to Germany,I would do the best I could at speaking German,if I were unable to,I would not be offended if I was not included in a conversation in German. But if I am in my own country,and people from another that you know can speak and understand English,then yes,I would be. If you are just a visiter,that is fine,I would not exspect you to learn a new language every time,but if you plan on living there,learn it. Just because you are with others of you race,does not mean you can use your language when there are those that can't. Just my oppinion.
@Talha22 (384)
• Pakistan
27 Mar 07
well as far as i know i can speak four languages which are Arabic(World's mostly spoken language),English(World's most common language),Urdu(National Language of Pakistan), and Sindhi(Provincial Language of Pakistan).
• Canada
27 Mar 07
actually, it doesnt really matter what u think other people think, wat matters is whether u can communicate or not
@oriental (1051)
• Uruguay
27 Mar 07
Many years before, here in Uruguay it was not easy to get a telephone line. You had to wait months and even years before the telephone company tell you you were connected. At home we had a telephone line, but we had neighbours living in other flats of the building that had no phone and came asking if we let them use ours. There were three siblings whose parents lived in the country and were of German stock, though born in Uruguay. I was a teenager then but, all the same, I found it quite rude when they changed from Spanish to German in their chats with their parents, in order not to be understood (as a matter of fact I speak a little of German, so I got to understand some parts of their talking all the same).
• Malaysia
27 Mar 07
i am a chinese too. we should respect our friends. i don't speak chinese/thai/malay/indonesian when other races friend is with me. if they don't respect u, just walk away/find a new friend.
@jahvo6 (623)
• Peru
27 Mar 07
Yes iit is rude to do so, I might think that they are insulkting me or saying nasty things aboutmyattire, shape or whatheverdon-tdo that.
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
I think it is rude if you speak a different language which not all of you in a group understands. I was teaching before at a large university with a diverse population of students including Filipinos, Koreans, Iranians, and Americans. I had a class where i had one American student and the rest were Filipinos, and i felt his uneasiness when most of his classmates would speak in the native tongue. I did my best in conducting the class entirely in English, but in the end, he made friends with everyone and the class really exerted effort in conversing in English when he was around.
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
27 Mar 07
i think it is a little bit rude to do that unless if you already ask for permission first from all the people around you at that time and they give you their consent to do that... people might feel offended and irritated when you start talking in a language that people don't understand because they might think that you are talking bad things about them... so it is best to avoid doing that when you are around people...
@xbrendax (2668)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I find that very rude indeed, especially if they are in the conversation!
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I think it is very rude to speak in a language that is not familiar to every one in a group. You are leaving them out. I had this happen one time and felt very hurt. I flt like the were making comments about me because I was the only one that did not speak their language. It feels like when we were chilcren and some would wisper about each other. We were always taught that wispering was impolite.
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
Definitely, it is rude, very rude. It shows utter disregard for the others around. You are lucky that you are in the Philippines. The Filipinos are open to the different nationalities in our country. Thus instead of feeling offended, we get curious regarding the foreign language being used at hand. And we have this attitude of wanting to learn a little about this alien language. Actually, most of us make this little knowledge as a topic of a conversation or a source of joke if it is applicable. I hope every foreigner will find this attitude as okay. The jokes however, are usually coming out clean rather than dirty.
@sarahdell (130)
• United States
27 Mar 07
well, i think it depends on the group setting.. for example, like in the Philippines, majority of the population is Filipino, i think it would be considered deviant if you will speak in another language not understandable by the majority.. but as for my case, here in LA, this city is really diverse.. there are a lot of different nationalities and when you're in a public place, people speak in their own language.. i'm kinda used to it now.. you just have to be used to it so that you won't consider it yourself as a rude behavior.. but still, even if i am in this setting, when talking in groups with other nationalities, even if i am talking to my fellow Filipino, i still speak in English.. just for the sake of other nationalities.. just as a sign of respect and assurance that i'm not talking sh*t about anyone.. haha..
• India
27 Mar 07
ya , its fine to speak a foreign language if there is no problem with the people whom you are surrrounded , obviously some people will get irritated because they think that , we are speaking some thing bad about them with the language which is foreign to you. but i think in the present context where the whole world is becoming smaller dya by day
@jojogirl (289)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
here in manila, majority can speak and understand tagalog/filipino. it is the language being used in day to day conversations. my native tongue is iluko, (a language from the northern luzon) however, i use tagalog whenever i'm out of the house. i am proud of my native tongue but i do not want to be tagged as a rude person because i am talking in a language which they cannot understand. i myself find it irritating when two people in a group starts talking using a different language leaving the others clueless about what they are talking about.