What?? (insert phrase in a different language here) - continues in English....

@mommyboo (13174)
United States
January 16, 2013 8:20am CST
Does this bother you? Should we be offended? Well I am. This has happened a lot and yesterday at the store it happened right behind me. Why do people do this? It doesn't bug me at all for people to converse in a different language as long as they aren't speaking primarily english and then suddenly just say a phrase or two. I notice people tend to do this on the phone, or occasionally if I'm in the company of a few people who speak something else, they've suddenly started having like an aside conversation with each other. I think this is rude. Are people doing this because they don't want 'English speakers' to know what they are saying? Should I go further and say I wonder if the friends are badmouthing me or someone else we know? The thought does cross my mind once in awhile. A friend of mine and I discussed this once and she pointed out that these friends of ours KNOW we don't speak their language, why else would they do it?
1 person likes this
12 responses
• Valdosta, Georgia
16 Jan 13
I think it is rude also and yes they do it because we cannot understand what they are saying. I have a different opinion than you though, I feel if you come to this country to live you should learn the language! If we go to some other country no one is going to cater to us, we will have to learn their ways including the language and so it should be!! But yes that is why their doing it and in my opinion that is a very rude thing to do...
@mommyboo (13174)
• United States
16 Jan 13
Oh trust me, I agree with you. I think anybody who comes to the US to live should learn ENGLISH and speak it. Being bilingual is great and teaching your kids two languages or three is just fine too, but people need to remember - in school and at jobs, THE REST OF US SPEAK ENGLISH. I also don't like some of the attitudes... like some people seem almost offended that I don't speak Spanish. Why? I never had a reason to learn it. It's not part of my culture lol. And I'm in America, not Mexico. If I decided to move to Canada however, I would go back and take a few classes so I could speak French again - BEFORE I moved.
• Valdosta, Georgia
16 Jan 13
Oh okay good, I am glad I am not the only one. Lol. Yeah before you move to another country you should at least learn their language! I have no reason at all to learn spanish either, I am not planning on going to Mexico ever! But if I did go there I would learn their language, they are not going to cater to me like people do in US for them... It is not right to me, not fair at all.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 13
Amen to that!
@Janey1966 (24170)
• Carlisle, England
16 Jan 13
Even the Welsh do it over here. Speak in Welsh behind the bar when they're about to serve an English person (me) for example. Granted, they spoke in English when serving (the odd grunt here and there) but, once I'd turned my back, the bartender spoke in Welsh with his colleague as though those 3 words or so of English were spoken under duress. If it weren't for us English people going in the bar (in Wales, on holiday) it would be closed down.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13174)
• United States
16 Jan 13
LOL! The cute people at my favorite nail salon do that too... they mostly speak some asian language but I know they are not fluent in english, any of them. The guy I usually see does better than most of the women but I think he's raised his family here, his kids are all bilingual. Some of the women are first generation, they grew up somewhere else and moved here as adults.
@Janey1966 (24170)
• Carlisle, England
16 Jan 13
We have many Polish people living in Carlisle now and the school near us (for Primary schoolchildren) have one in four kids that have English as their first language. I've noticed the children coming out of school, speaking English to their friends and the parents don't bother. This is a shame as the kids are making the effort to speak two languages, you would think their parents would give it a go.
@lilybug (21107)
• United States
16 Jan 13
They might be trying to say something without you knowing what they are talking about, but it might also be easier for them to convey what they want to the other person in their main language. I have worked with a lot of Bosnian people in the last few years and one teenager I worked with told me that sometimes he has trouble saying certain things in English.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13174)
• United States
16 Jan 13
That's a valid reason, but it makes more sense if one of the people in the conversation has a limited English understanding. When you know they don't, or get the feeling they don't, then that reason doesn't fly. I just wish people would consider how it looks/feels to someone who is not bilingual. That isn't the norm, it's not even 50/50. For anybody to expect it is kind of ludicrous, in my opinion.
• United States
10 Feb 13
It bothers me tremendously to hear people talking in another language in public I dont care what language you speak when you are at home but when you go out in public here in America where English is the primary language dang it speak ENGLISH what makes me really mad is when people who KNOW how to speak english choose to speak another language I work in a grocery store and all the time I see people who I KNOW can speak english will go wait in a line just to be checked out by the cashier that can speak their language even though they are capable of speaking english its rude and disrespectful to those of us that speak only the primary language of this country I cont care if you want to live in this country but if you are going to choose to live here do it legally and learn the dang language if you want to speak the other language then go back to where ever it was your people came from!
@dorannmwin (36392)
• United States
18 Jan 13
Living in an area where we have a pretty high Hispanic population, this is something that I do hear on a pretty regular basis. However, being that I do know enough Spanish to get by, I know that in most of these situations, people are not being badmouthed. I really think that the reason that this happens so frequently is because of the fact that non-native English speakers don't always have all of the vocabulary that they need to fully carry on a conversation in English. Sometimes it does frustrate me, but I have to say that it isn't something that offends me.
@vernaC (1491)
• Romania
16 Jan 13
That's just rude, they should talk somewhere else when you are not around. I mean if they are sensitive enough, they should know what you might be thinking about this incident and you night be hurt. But it seems they don't care, so it looks like maybe they are talking about you in your front, sorry to say this.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13174)
• United States
16 Jan 13
These friends... all three of them.. are completely bilingual. I actually think maybe spanish is their primary language, but they are all completely fluent in English. It's just enough to give us pause and make us wonder.... hmmm, suddenly all three of them are talking about something TOGETHER, and clearly not inviting US to be part of it. I would never do that to somebody, if I need to get a message to one person and not everybody, that's what a TEXT MESSAGE is for!
@wolfie34 (26771)
• United Kingdom
17 Jan 13
Where I have my hair cut they are Turkish, and they are always speaking in their own tongue, I find it uncomfortable as I don't know if they are talking about me or not or making fun of me and I am sitting there totally unaware. They hardly ever talk to me, except to ask me what I want done and whether I want it square or tapered at the back. They are not expensive and they do make a good job of my hair, but I really wish they would speak English in front of their customers.
@deebomb (15307)
• United States
16 Jan 13
Hello mommyboo. I'm not sure that I would call thee people my friends. They may not be talking about you but you know they are saying thing that they don't want you to know and that is rude since they speak English very well. To me it is as bad as kids standing in the corner and whispering, just plane bad manner and rude. In my estimation if they have to speak about something in another language good manners would mean saving it until they are out of sight or hearing of you and the others that don't speak their language. I do believe that any one coming here to live should how respect for our country by learning to speak English. Out of respect for a country I decided to move to I would also be learning that language. At my age I think learning a second language would be very difficult for me. So I guess I won't be moving France or Poland any time soon
• Philippines
16 Jan 13
I don't mind people talking in different language than mine but with your case I'd say it's rude because you mentioned that your friend pointed out that those people know you don't speak their language. For me, it seems like they're talking something about you; only you wouldn't know if it's bad or good. Normally in situations like this, I would think those people are just having difficulty expressing their opinions in different tongue but if those people are you're friends, they would try their best to tell you what it is regardless if it's difficult for them or not. I have few friends that speak another dialect and if we say something that's not familiar we try our best to describe what we mean. With your case, it seems to me that those people are back-biting you. No offense and I'm not judging them too but that's the only thing I can think of. If it's not something bad, why wouldn't they share it with you?
@RawBill1 (8531)
• Gold Coast, Australia
17 Jan 13
I have been in this situation several times with people who speak fluently in other languages. I did at the time find it slightly uncomfortable and the self conscious side of me naturally assumed that they were talking about me. But more rationally later I thought that they were just more comfortable talking about whatever it was in their native tongue as it was quicker and easier than having to translate it in their head. There are always certain phrases and words that even people who have been living in another country for quite a while, have trouble getting out in their adopted language.
@jenny1015 (13366)
• Philippines
17 Jan 13
I don't think that they would be actually telling bad things about you. But I guess, when two people speak another dialect instead of using English like most of the people around them, they feel that could express themselves more.
@MissPiggy (1748)
• Indonesia
16 Jan 13
Maybe I would be more like irritated. Well, it doesn't have to be in English, right? I have been in that kind of situation long ago when some of my friends in campus speak in different traditional language. Indonesia has hundreds of traditional languages and not many people can speak each other's language. It would be fine if this friend translated the conversation, but it's irritating when they don't. The most irrtitating moment is when I comment to a friend's post on Facebook who comes from other country, and then his/her friend also comments in their own language and mentions my name! Sometimes I would ask what that means and sometimes I just l leave it with a sarcastic comment like "go ahead talk about me, I'm that famous!" Oh, but I only do this to some friends who have been my list for a long time and often chat with me. I wouldn't do it for new friends.