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Old 06-19-2013, 12:32 PM   #1
LongLiveDisney
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What do you think of people in the United States who speak languages other than English in public places?

My family and I went out shopping the other day and we were speaking in Arabic as we were looking at the clothes. Now, we are Americans and speak fluent English (I was born and raised here) but we speak Arabic at home just as much as English since we are of Arab descent. This lady starts huffing and puffing that "in AMERICA, people should speak ENGLISH," etc. I told her that I can speak whatever language I want in the U.S. and she just walked away muttering to herself.

What do you think? Is it rude to speak languages other than English in public?
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:37 PM   #2
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I love to hear other languages out in public, as it really reinforces to me what a wonderful melting pot of cultures, nationalities and backgrounds this country is, and has been since its inception. Ignore the idiots and speak in whatever language you want to speak.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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I don't think its rude for you to speak Arabic in public.

Now if you want to talk about press ocho for Spanish or signs, pamphlets or announcements in another language that's another topic.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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After 4 and a half years here, my German is still only so-so and I cannot really relax and enjoy myself while speaking it--I' be up a creek if it were not okay for me to speak English when speaking to my own family or friends in public here in the US.

I think the only rude person in your scenario was the huffy woman.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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It doesn't bother me. When the US decides to adopt an official language then people can get all huffy over it. Even then I think it is a dumb thing to be upset over.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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I don't see the issue at all with the situation you described. I don't care what language people speak to each other.

I also personally don't think switching to another language when in a group to say something privately is rude either. Just know that someone might speak the other language that you think might not so be careful.

Generally people are way too caught up on the "speak English" garbage and I say that as someone who only knows English and some Italian swear words.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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If you are the citizen of a country and chose not to speak the dominant language of that country out in public, people are going to assume you are talking about them and/or trying to hide something.

Is that fair? No. But that's the perception.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #8
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Wow, was that lady rude to say that. I guess she thought you were talking about her right in front of her, huh?

I also love to hear people talking together in other languages.

It makes me sad that my mother who speaks fluent Spanish didn't bother to help us (her children) be bilingual. Back in the 60s it just wasn't something they thought about being important. If she were bringing us up now, I'm pretty sure she would have spoken Spanish to us at home.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongLiveDisney View Post

What do you think? Is it rude to speak languages other than English in public?
Not rude at all, it's perfectly normal.

But what's NOT normal and perfectly rude is someone to make a comment like that!

I'd rather hang around people speaking other languages then English, for the most part they're extremely nice people.

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Old 06-19-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ironpig70 View Post
Now if you want to talk about press ocho for Spanish or signs, pamphlets or announcements in another language that's another topic.
Why is that a another topic?

From your other posts, clearly you perceive yourself to be all about what you perceive to be "the free markets," so you cannot think that private industry should be regulated in that regard, and since the USA has no official, much less legal, language there is clearly no legal justification to have only English on governmental announcements, so what is your objection to having announcements in other languages?
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:48 PM   #11
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I also personally don't think switching to another language when in a group to say something privately is rude either.
To me that is no different than whispering something to one person in the group and I definitely think that is rude.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FlightlessDuck View Post
If you are the citizen of a country and chose not to speak the dominant language of that country out in public, people are going to assume you are talking about them and/or trying to hide something.

Is that fair? No. But that's the perception.
I never assume that people are talking about me unless they're, I don't know, pointing and laughing.

My French is atrocious; I'm great at reading and fine at listening, but my sentence construction is a mess. When I'm in France with my family, we speak English to each other. Almost never is it about the people around us; usually it's, "Did you remember to pack an extra pair of socks" or "I can't believe you don't remember when you were five and thought that snails could swim," or something that has absolutely nothing to do with my surroundings, let alone the people around me.

(Sure, I'm not a French citizen, but I don't know how people would know that unless they heard me try to ask a clerk for toothpaste or something.)
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:51 PM   #13
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I have absolutely no problem with people speaking other languages out in public. Not sure why it would bother anyone.

It does kind of bother me when SIL and her parents speak Spanish to each other at a family gathering. The rest of us don't speak Spanish and I always wonder why they do it. It makes me feel like they're saying things they don't want the rest of us to know about. If that's the case, they shouldn't do it right in front of us.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LongLiveDisney View Post
What do you think of people in the United States who speak languages other than English in public places?

My family and I went out shopping the other day and we were speaking in Arabic as we were looking at the clothes. Now, we are Americans and speak fluent English (I was born and raised here) but we speak Arabic at home just as much as English since we are of Arab descent. This lady starts huffing and puffing that "in AMERICA, people should speak ENGLISH," etc. I told her that I can speak whatever language I want in the U.S. and she just walked away muttering to herself.

What do you think? Is it rude to speak languages other than English in public?
In a group, sometimes, if people can't understand what you are saying, especially if they have heard you speak English, and now speaking in a differently language, they think that you are talking about them.

I definately understand if you are in a group of people and not speaking a common tongue for you all. But that lady wasn't in your party and was none of her business what you were talking about.

I know at work, we have a lot of Indonesian people. Lovely people, but of course, they are calling home during the day because that is their time to contact family members that far away. Mid morning or afternoon there are always people in the lobby waiting area on their phones talking loudly in their home language. It isn't the language that I have problems with, it is carrying on the conversation loudly in a public place where people cannot get away from you (waiting area). Go someplace private if you are going to talk to Mom long distance.

The same goes for people who are in "Blackberry dazes". They wander around shuffling while looking at their phones. Oblivious where they are. They walk onto elevators and forget to press their floor button, or just stand there blocking a door, because they don't want to take their eyes off the phone to open it.

I just think that talking in public or using your phone where you aren't in a private place is rude. Don't talk on the bus, or in the office bathroom. No one wants to hear your conversation.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #15
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To me that is no different than whispering something to one person in the group and I definitely think that is rude.
I agree. I don't think it's rude "in general", though when clearly used to exclude someone from a conversation it certainly can be.
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