I have heard a lot of people say that speaking another language in front of someone who does not speak that language is rude.
Do y'all think so?
That depends on the insecurities of the person excluded. It is rude to the extent that the same person is left out.
Sometimes things can only be said in another language, to make a point. My wife and I do it sometimes, with no intent on offending another. In most cases we translate, as best as we can what we said so they don't miss out.
The same thing was said to me when I and my officemates went to the U. S. and stayed there for 3 months. Some people seem to be conscious about that. I don't exactly subscribe to the idea that it is rude to speak a language in front of those who don't speak that language. But to be safe, I try to avoid it. If I can't avoid it, I try to ask the people I'm with if it's okay with them. Usually their answer is yes .
Of course it is. Unless you know the speaker well and you are sure they are not talking about you.
Some people see it as being rude but it depends on the circumstance and how familiar you are with the person.
When I speak another Language in front of anyone, I always excuse myself so they don't feel uncomfortable and I keep the conversation very short.
Not at all. Why should a person have to know less then someone else, just to avoid being rude? If someone knows a language, they should be allowed to speak it whenever they choose.
The idea is you two might as well be conspiring on how to better punch the third in a face right in front of her, while she does not understand a word.
well, I suppose punching someone in the face might be rude.
I thought the question meant more like, 2 people talking, and the other person was not involved in the conversation, no matter what the language was. I have never been in a situation where the other language people, were not strangers. I suppose that knowing the people could make a difference.
Yeah its like whispering and looking at the person. You never know if they are talking about you.
I do not think it is rude as long as the ones who are speaking are not pointing and making gestures like they are talking something about the person who does not know what they are saying.
I say if you must speak in a different language, make sure you are not saying anything about other people at all. That way, they won't think you are talking about them or speaking in another language just so they cannot understand what you are talking about.
Why not? Why is it the business of someone not involved in the conversation what the conversation is about?
How do i know they aren't talking about me? I cant understand them anyway. They might call me names without any indication whatsoever, and i'll just stand there grinning like a Cheshire cat, nodding like an Agama lizard!
If they don't mention your name or indicate by any body language that they're talking about you, they probably aren't talking about you. But as I said, it helps to prepare yourself for these situations. If someone's rude enough to say bad things to or about you, they're not going to change their language for your convenience.
if they are in the us and can speak english then yeah
What I learned to do is this:
1) If people are speaking with someone in a different language, I watch their eyes. If even ONE eyeball of theirs happens to float over to me, I KNOW that they're talking about me!
2) If I'm talking about someone present with someone else, I KNOW to NOT look at that person in question!
So, yeah, I believe that it CAN be rude but not purposefully rude all the time. For instance, if I'm with my mom (who speaks broken English, BTW) and her doctor or mechanic is telling her something that she doesn't understand where I have to step in to translate, it's not rude but necessary for me to do so.
But hey, what goes around comes around...If you are a rude bi-lingual then it'll come back to haunt you!
I've been a good boy lately
I've known situations where two people have spoken about another, in their language, not knowing that the third person understands that language, and what was being said was unflattering. So I guess that that is as rude as speaking behind someones back.
I have a friend who is a polyglot. Before he got out of his teens he spoke 3 or 4 languages, now 20 years later (after having caught up with him via Facebook) he speaks over 20.
It was interesting looking at all his recent photo album additions to his Facebook account from the 2009 Miss Universe contest where he was working as an interpreter.
I think he's well equipped for plenty of situations where people might try and be rude, thinking he doesn't know. But otherwise if people are speaking in a different language in front of him, he can often join in.
It would depend on who and where. In my city like many others we have 180 languages being spoken, so unless the conversation is meaningful or involves the person/people who do not speak the language I would think it's fine at least here.
There are other factors i think.
If you speak the common language fluently, i think it will be considered rude as the implication is that you wish to hide something from the group.
If you have some difficulty with the common language i think it is acceptable to revert to your native tongue - this is seen as merely clarifying points.
Happens to me day in, day out
Depends on your environment I guess.
We were talking about that at lunch yesterday. One woman sits at a table with 2 others at work and they talk to each other in their own language all day long, ignoring her. We decided it was rude. Maybe once in a while is okay...but not all day.
That's so weird people in work ignore me like that at lunchtime and I can never figure out why
I would find that rude and frankly I would also find another lunch buddie.
I think its rude. If the 3rd paty is all alone, WAITING for you to finish your "another tongue" conversation, they will feel ill at ease. Its not very nice to exclude that 3rd party. Even if you haven't mastered the common language to all present, speak it as you can.
Is it anyone else's business who or what they are talking about?
It really depends. If you are a part of the conversation then yes it is rude. If others are conversing among themselves in thier language it doesn't bother me. I worked with a woman doctor who spoke persian on the phone to her husband all the time. it was funny to hear because you could tell they were in a heated arguement most of the time
of course its rude in all terms ......its always become uneasy for the third person as its doesn't create a right atmosphere while talking.(i love the picture of your dog...very cute)
I can see how it seems that way; but if I think of it, and imagine I moved to somewhere outside the US (say, Italy), I realize that if I out were with my American family members I'd be speaking English (because I don't know more than about 3 Italian words). Then, too, I know of a woman who has lived in the US for over 30 years and who still doesn't speak English well. Someone explained to me that she is "of limited mental capacity" (so if she hasn't learned English very well she can't help it if she isn't "sharp" enough).
So, unless the "excluded" English-speaker is actually with the non-English speakers and they don't make an effort to share, I don't think it's fair to just assume people speak to their companions in their own language.
It is considered rude to whisper secrets in front of other people, and speaking in a language they don't understand equates to the same offense, in my book. It puts the person excluded in an uncomfortable position.
ie: My daughter took Spanish in high school. We were at the doctors waiting room. Two ladies were speaking Spanish, and looking at us. I, of course, assumed they were talking (negatively) about us. My daughter translated for me after they left the waiting room that they were commenting about what a pretty girl she (my daughter) is, and that she is probably adopted (she's Korean). They also said they liked my outfit!
My point - When they spoke in Spanish I felt isolated and defensive, when they were actually making very nice comments. Making others feel uncomfortable is rude.
If two people were speaking (in a language you speak) about - ANYTHING - and were just far enough away that you could not hear what they were saying, would that be rude?
Of course not. BUT, if they were speaking and looking at you and it is obvious they are talking about you, then it is.
As far as why I believe it is rude to make others feel uncomfortable, I retort to the old Do Unto Others rule (the Golden Rule). Would you like others to whisper (or speak in language you don't understand) in front of you to your obvious exclusion? Just some thoughts, and certainly not hard and fast rules to live by. Just my feelings on the subject.
No because im not in the same space.(although thats never stopped me commenting)
i think its kinda rude to think you have the right to know what other people are saying at all times. talking mean about a person to thier face is rude in any language, but so what? if someone wants to have a conversation without me, im fine with it
There are many situations involving bilingualism and children where if a parent were to abide by the politeness rule you suggest, then he or she would never be able to maintain the less common language with the child. People who work outside the home have so little time with their children that when they do have a moment with their child, it makes sense to speak the minority language, even in public, or else the language will be lost. So if you see a parent in the grocery store speaking privately with a child in a different language, don't assume it's being done to exclude you.
Also, there are families where one but not both parents speak a language. In those situations, the family members who speak the language are encouraged to do so, even in front of the non-speakers, because abiding by the politeness rule would mean losing all opportunity to use the minority language.
Aya - Your point is well made, and I agree wholly. I am speaking about using another language in an obvious attempt to exclude another when they are in a social situation where it is customary to interact together. Speaking to your child in a grocery store is not such an occasion, and I would not feel excluded.
There are people that stare at and talk about others in English when their object of conversation is within earshout, so people can do the same thing when speaking the same language as you. A friend once said she was disconcerted when working in an office setting how two ladies talked in Spanish all day to each other and excluded her from the conversation, except to ask her basic questions. I have been around co-workers talking in Spanish, and yes a few times I heard them say things about me. People do this in English to, and I have even over heard those conversations. At work I do talk to people, but I am known as the one who does what others do not always like to do, and not part of the in crowd. It has always been that way, and personally I would just rather do my job and help people rather than stop to chat frequently. People are not very discreet, and I always find that amusing. It keeps life interesting .
My father spoke two languages, one my mother and the rest of the family did not( though we learned and had the benefit of body language) but he mainly used it speaking to same language friends and not in a group of mixed languages..
He was considerate and would translate otherwise.
Dinner: Dad greets friend Kei pea a koe MAC., how ya doin?
Friend replies: Kia ora , acknowledges all of us with a hand wave..
Dad ..haere mai kai? stay for dinner? etc
I think in general its rude,and people only have to ask themselves how would I feel , or how do I feel when it happens the other way around.
Maybe that is the attitude , for some foreigners ,they too get irritated with English speaking people ?
Eaglekiwi, perhaps in your family it was decided that the children would not be fluent speakers of the minority language. Different families make different decisions about that. Any choice the family makes is fine.
But if you really want your child fluent in the minority langauge, you can't stop to translate. You have to make it hard for the child to lapse into the majority language in the middle of the conversation, because the moment that happens, the child will probably just take the path of least resistance and speak only the majority language.
Interestingly enough ,out a family of nine children 4 speak fluently in English and Maori ,but even so they adapt easily wherever the dominant language is spoken.
Whether its partial or full emersion into the language ,the lesson we learned over all was to be considerate and respectful.
Culturally the second language is now recognised as an being officially recognised alongside English ,much like Spanish as in the USA.
However I totally can see it from both sides, and no matter what the language if it excluded someone else ,that to me is simply bad manners.
Eaglekiwi, were there many other Maori speakers around with whom the children could speak? That might be a completely different situation from the one I am familiar with.
With my own family, Hebrew is always an isolated language. We have no Hebrew speaking community around us.
I've spoken Hebrew with my daughter when we were surrounded by Chinese speakers, some of whom were also speakers of English, but there were no Hebrew speakers.
Then we moved to the U.S. and I continued to speak with my daughter in Hebrew, when we were surrounded by English speakers. Bow, my chimpanzee, has been exposed to Hebrew as the home language and English as the language of people from outside the home.
When there is only one person in the area who speaks the language, every opportunity for using it has to taken, or the language will die.
You did not know this? I would recommend reading Aya's hubs about Bow, quite an eye opener
Not sure why. And he is not exactly a pet, Aya is studying him.
What is wrong with people having chimps as pets . Some people decide to have dogs, some snakes, so if someone wants a chimp why does it matter? He sounds more like a member of their family though.
Gosh, I wonder why?
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/nyreg … .html?_r=1
People can be so stupid with animals it's hard to believe sometimes.
But this is way off topic.
Misha and SweetiePie, thanks for the support!
This is kind of off topic, but TKSensei, if you are interested in the issue, you might want to read my hub about Anti-Primate Legislation.
To begin where you left off ,yes the language does die if not nurtured ,which is why it was fought for so passionately by my ancestors. The Maori language has witnessed a rebirth so to speak because of their efforts to safe guard the language (and therefore history)
Today it is used much more naturally by professionals ,TV presenters ,Lawyers,Doctors,Teachers etc it is a now a component of the majority of the New Zealans Schools Syllabus.
It is after all the language of the First Nations People,and the result as I said earlier laws and treaties upheld.
As a result today more Maori ,including Non-Maori are familiar and committed to nurturing language nests on all levels.
As a result of several changes connecting both languages ,Governement and teritary levels are well represented by both cultures.
80 yrs ago it was quite the opposite and English culture dominated the language and the land.
30 yrs ago, Boundaries were sensitive but warming
Today Inter racial language has bridged the gap and both cultures are much more intergrated ,so the language has survived!
Protocols are easy to undertsand and its noticeable if another culture ( there are several other cultures now also) are excluded or noticeably being left out.
My niece has decided to teach her children only Maori, and there are pre-schools through to high school set up for this.
But still , she will not allow them to exclude others from play (socialising) based on language inability.
I enjoyed learning about your own history and experiences too!
Gossip, insults, and deliberately excluding people from the conversation is rude in any language. If anyone does that in any language I know, they should be prepared to hear about it from me in that language. Those who do that should never assume the subject of their insults doesn't understand what they were saying, as did a few rude guys who called me a very nasty name in Spanish, assuming because I was white I would not understand. I had a few choice words for them.
For those who don't know more than one language, I would suggest arming yourselves for these situations with at least some basic knowledge of the other languages spoken in your area rather than demanding everyone else speak only your language in your presence. And don't assume that people are saying bad things about you unless you know for sure that they are. Indeed, it may not be about you at all. If you're feeling excluded, maybe politely asking for a little help following the conversation would be in order.
As for the languages in my family, my father, being the son of German immigrants, barely knows their language. I consider that a tragic loss.
Now if your with others and your speaking a different language to certain people and it is leaving some people out then it is rude.
Just my 2 cents...when I get my nails done, the salon is owned by an Asian man & all of the employees are Asian. They all speak Asian to each other & only speak English to their clients...kind of bothers me, but I don't know why!
I was just pointing out to everyone that it's English only on Hubpages!
I do think it is rude. I have to deal with it when people start speaking Spanish when I'm around. I have to stand there and wait for them to finish up and it's like hello yea I am still here.
nope marine I failed it back in HS so I on;y know a few words.
only time I don't think it would be rude is for those who are deaf. My second language is American Sign Language but I sadly have not kept up with it and need to study it. But for them to talk with sign with others around is not considered rude in my opinion
why is sign laungage dhfferent? what if you went to spain, wouldnt you be rude then?
Because sign language is for the deaf. They can't hear what others are saying PERIOD.
im just saying, and maybe this is not the situation being discussed here, if i went to france i would still speak english. not to be rude. i know that deaf people cant hear, so they must use sign language, but maybe some people cant speak english. all things have the potential to be rude, but life sucks when you go around taking everything personaly. just my opinion
Even if I do not speak a particular language I can pick up on the gestures of their conversation through hand gestures and facial expressions.
I understand only a few words of Farsi, but I was able to pick up right away when this boy did not want his sister to ask a question he thought was silly. His tone completely changed and he started shaking his head. He looked kind of surprised that I could figure this out.
Actually I do not really learn languages fast, but I can pick up on facial expression and certain words in various language. However, when it comes to speaking any language besides English I am hopeless. I can read and write a basic amount in Spanish and French, but that is about it. Of course if I tried to study languages on a more frequent basis I might improve .
If I put myself in others place and went off to a country and I did not speak their language. I would sure not look at others and whisper or I would make sure that when I am talking that all my eyes were on the person I was talking to. I would not want anyone to think that I was saying anything about them that they could not understand.
I am all for people speaking in whatever language they want to as long as they don't look at me or point my way while they are doing it. I do not like to feel like they are talking about me and hiding it by using another language. I have worked with people who did not speak english, but I knew they couldn't speak in my language and as long as I didn't feel they were talking about me...didn't bother me one bit.
i think that was well put. the issue really isnt the language itself, rather, you just shouldnt say something you wouldnt say to someones face, in any language.
I just say...speak in any language you want to and however you want to, but when I feel like I am being talked about and the words are being hid from me by using a language I do not know, then its offensive to me.
makes sense. where i live, its not much of an issue. did anyone see sienfeld, when elaine offended the nail tech, cuz they were really being rude?
LOL, I have seen that a long time ago, but cant remember exactly what it was.
she was all....i know they are talking about me...'n they were...but then (maybe it was a haircut?) but anway.....she made them all mad and couldnt get the service
Someone asked me one day if I knew their language. I said "no, but I know when you are talking about me as I have heard some of the language before and know what is going on by the tone of voice and some words that I do know.
lol, this was a girl who I worked with. Her and others used to sit there and talk and I did not know their language, but I still could communicate with the friend who did not know any english. I think that is what led her to believe I knew their language.
In Southern California there are many people from different countries, so it is not unusual for me to hear people speaking in a different language around me. Personally I just do not care if they are talking about me because as I said people even do that in English .
It is rude if one of the people can tranlate and doesn't.
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