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Old 06-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #46
goofyintoronto
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Wow i think it was incredibly rude of that lady to make such a comment to you! Its a free country! You can speak whatever language you like!! I would have told that lady to mind her own business.
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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?


This!!
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It's rude when people do not mind their own business and that woman who gave you flack was the epitome of rudeness! Of course it is perfectly acceptable to speak in languages other than English. The only exception is when you are at a social gathering and some of your companions speak only English. Then it is polite to use the language most understood by everyone at the gathering so as not to exclude anyone from the conversation.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:10 PM   #47
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OP here! Thanks so much for all the responses. Interesting stuff!
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:11 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by LukenDC View Post
It's rude when people do not mind their own business and that woman who gave you flack was the epitome of rudeness! Of course it is perfectly acceptable to speak in languages other than English. The only exception is when you are at a social gathering and some of your companions speak only English. Then it is polite to use the language most understood by everyone at the gathering so as not to exclude anyone from the conversation.
ITA with this.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:44 PM   #49
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I don't care what people speak among themselves, but it is rude to exclude others in a group by switching to an unshared language with someone who has been speaking English just fine until then. You'd have to be pretty thick-skinned not to at least wonder what was so private.

Just to be fair, here, is it possible that the complainer doesn't speak Arabic, but recognized it? (Or at least recognized that it was a Middle Eastern language.) All things considered right now in history, I can understand why that might make some people nervous, rightly or wrongly.

The only thing about languages other than English that has ever skeeved me, was several Mexican (yes, I'm using that term correctly, because they were from Mexico) families in the neighborhood where I grew up. They would publicly and loudly admonish their children not to speak English, because they were Mexican. The Americans should speak Spanish as a courtesy to their guests. Sheesh!

Now days, I can hear Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Spanish being spoken in my neighborhood. I have to laugh when someone tells me that I should learn Spanish to "talk to my neighbors". I always ask, which neighbors should I leave out? None of the closest neighbors speak Spanish.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #50
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I only speak Klingon in public. I get some looks but eh..their problem not mine.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:15 PM   #51
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I only speak Klingon in public. I get some looks but eh..their problem not mine.



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Old 06-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #52
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First and foremost, that lady's comment was rude. You weren't talking to her or in any way involved with her, and she needed to mind her own business.

I will say that it is a little un-nerving in a business place where all of the employees speak a language other than English and I feel left-out and that I'm possibly being talked about. The big scenario I can think of is at the nail salon where, at least around here, most of the employees are Vietnamese.

Now, just out in public with your family, minding your own business? Whatever. Maybe your family is just overall more comfortable speaking Arabic when together. Maybe a family has Grandma visiting and it's just easier to speak in Italian when she's around. Maybe you're out with a friend who's taking a Japanese language class with you and you're practicing. Whatever... totally doesn't bother me. I'm honestly quite envious of people who are multi-lingual (especially those that can talk so fast and change language mid-sentence... that happens a lot with a lot of the Spanish-speaking familes around here)... languages never caught on with me and it bothers me; I'd love to learn Russian!
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:31 PM   #53
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OP the lady was totally out of line, some people are like that, unhappy and want everyone else unhappy too. To answer your question, no it is not wrong or rude to speak another language in public IMO. DS and I speak Latin and I we do it in public!
As a matter of fact, while on our last WDW trip, we were eating ice cream and speaking in Latin and a lady kept staring at us and listening, as she walked off she said to her group, I've never heard that language before, I wonder where they are from.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:32 PM   #54
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My main language is English, but I can speak fluent French, Spanish, Italian, and a bit of Swedish.

It comes in handy occasionally when we are out and I overhear someone saying something rude in one of the languages. The look on their face is near priceless when I either agree or ask them, "I hope so and so didn't hear what you said about her/him, You realize she used to be a language tutor didn't you?"
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:51 PM   #55
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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?
I think if you are talking among yourselves and not directly in front of anyone else (like if you are eating dinner at a table in a restaurant), then it is perfectly acceptable to speak in another language. However, if you are standing in front of a cashier in the store and speaking among yourselves while interacting with the clerk, it IS rude to speak another language IF you can speak English...and that is because it makes the clerk feel weird and uncomfortable because she would automatically assume that you are talking about her.

And it's not just paranoia about being the clerk and being talked about. I speak Spanish and understand a fair amount of Portugese, though you would probably never guess it by looking at me. When I used to work in a grocery store there were numerous times that customers would be speaking among themselves in Spanish or Portugese AND SAYING THINGS ABOUT ME OR MY COWORKERS which they assumed we didn't understand. It was always really fun to make some sort of comment back to them in their language that let them know that I knew exactly what they were talking about.

Last edited by scrapquitler; 06-19-2013 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #56
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The only person I know that is bothered to hear a foreign language is my wacko MIL. She claims it's because her parents were Italian immigrants that would not allow their children to speak Italian outside the home. The reason they said it showed disrespect for America and when you came to this country you should speak and behave as Americans.
My Swedish Great grandparents refused to teach my Grandparents (on both sides of my Dad's family) to speak Swedish because they thought the children should speak only English since they were Americans. So it's not just your MIL's Italian Immigrants that held this belief.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:05 PM   #57
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My Swedish Great grandparents refused to teach my Grandparents (on both sides of my Dad's family) to speak Swedish because they thought the children should speak only English since they were Americans. So it's not just your MIL's Italian Immigrants that held this belief.
My father's grandparents felt this way too (Polish.) He is always mystified by new immigrants to the U.S. who want to retain parts of their culture, as he and his mother were taught to completely assimilate.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:05 PM   #58
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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.
That's not what I automatically assume.

When someone is speaking a language other than English here, I assume that they don't know English very well, or aren't from here at all. Both, logical assumptions to make.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:09 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvjules
I only speak Klingon in public. I get some looks but eh..their problem not mine.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:25 PM   #60
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