Speaking other languages in public in the U.S.

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by LongLiveDisney, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. FireDancer

    FireDancer DIS Veteran

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    Eh, I don't find that rude either. Sometimes you have something you want to say privately to someone and doing it quickly and quietly via a whisper instead of both leaving, saying what you need to say, and returning is just easier. The later is just as obvious anyway and sometimes you either can't or don't want to wait until later to say whatever it is.

    I really don't know why people care so much about that kind of thing. I couldn't possibly care less if someone whispered something to someone in front of me or broke off into some other language.
     
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  3. Gumbo4x4

    Gumbo4x4 Note to the ladies who forgot to

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    Oh, I've heard that many times (reminds me of a Seinfeld issue). I think it would seem more suspicious were the conversation to begin in English and then switch languages at some point.
     
  4. JennaDeeDooDah

    JennaDeeDooDah My oh my what a wonderful day!

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    If I got that bent out of shape every time someone spoke a language other than English here (Texas), I'd be angry almost every time I left my house! Spanish is spoken everywhere down here. You will hear English most often, but it is not at all uncommon to hear people speaking Spanish to each other while they are out shopping, getting lunch, etc. Personally, I would like for the USA to adopt a national language, but even if that were to happen, I would still have no problem with people speaking their native tongue to each other while out in public. It in no way, shape, or form has any effect on me so why would I care? Not sure what this woman's problem was. Clearly, though, she is having a bad day... and might want to stay away from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or southern California if hearing a foreign language is that offensive to her.
     
  5. A_Princess'_Daddy

    A_Princess'_Daddy DIS Veteran

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    I like you. We get each other...

    To quote my hero, Mahatma Ghandi, "Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding."
     
  6. BGK

    BGK Mouseketeer

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    Florida, also too. In fact, there are so many Hispanic nationalities here that one can make no generalizations based on appearance, and speaking-Spanish-to-mock-the-gringos, at least from my own functional Spanish, is pretty well non-existent. Seeing someone blue-eyed, light-haired, and fair enough to make me look swarthy by comparison, speaking full-tilt Carribbean Spanish stopped surprising me years ago.
     
  7. Handbag Lady

    Handbag Lady Disneyland Bride 2000

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    I'm truly jealous. I wish I could speak more than one language.
     
  8. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    LOL! You probably wouldn't want to move to this area of the United States! In the nearby city where I used to work, it was uncommon for people to speak English in public. And when I would go to a nearby cafe to get lunch, the menu was in Spanish, and both the management and waitstaff and spoke virtually no English. There were times that, with our limited communication abilities, I didn't know for sure what I was getting to eat. And yes, this is in the United States.
     
  9. ZephyrHawk

    ZephyrHawk Confirmed Disneyphile

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    If I think anything it's probabaly, "Cool, tourists!"

    I never assume a random person I run into in public is a citizen of my country.

    Now, I suppose if I know the person, and I know they're a citizen and I know they speak English, then I probably would assume that they were saying something nasty about me if they specifically chose to speak in a language I don't speak around me.
     
  10. joviroxx

    joviroxx <font color=blue>rectally reporters television pro

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    That's one of the oddest things Ive ever heard. Are people that narcissistic that they walk around people are talking about them when they are clearly not? Interesting.. Living in Florida, among tourist and immigrants, that would be one paranoid existence!

    I'm born and bred in South Florida with Cuban parents and speak Spanish fluently. In fact, I didnt speak English until I went to school. People forget that Spaniards have deep influence in hispanic cultures. Blond hair, blue eyed hispanics are plentiful.

    When Im out and about with you might catch me speaking Spanish. Heck, when I get mad, spanish seems to be more appropriate LOL.

    I love hearing other languages, even Spanish has different accents and dialects. I love hearing a foreign language and trying to figure out what and where it comes from.
     
  11. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

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    Dang, I guess I should never go to France, Italy, Germany,.....since I don't speak those languages.
     
  12. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

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    Hmmm...no, I don't assume that. My kids have friends who speak to their parents in Mandarin and Spanish on the phone. I don't assume they are talking about me or hiding something.

    I also don't assume the random person on the street is talking about me.
     
  13. Lorelei Lee

    Lorelei Lee DIS Veteran

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    In a typical day on the NYC subway I am likely to hear half a dozen languages other than English, some from immigrants and their families, some from tourists.

    I know a lot of people want to kick the UN out of NYC, but it's got nothing to do with the languages spoken there. ;)

    I find it ironic that countries like Canada, Belgium, Cyprus, etc. embrace their multi-linguistic culture and officially recognize more than one "official" language, but in this country, where we have no "official' language, there are people who get bent out of shape if someone dares to speak a language other than English.

    The OP and her family were speaking Arabic among themselves. The other woman was rude to be eavesdropping on their conversation and even more rude to confront them about something that was none of her business.

    I do think it's rude to speak a foreign language in a group setting if not all of the members of the group understand that language.

    I agree that it behooves an immigrant population to learn the dominant language of our country, but I don't have a problem accommodating those who don't speak English, or don't speak it well.

    And I have a real problem with those who complain about Spanish. Why? well, among other reasons, because Puerto Rico, whose people are born American citizens, is bilingual, recognizing both English and Spanish as "official" languages. Imagine that, a territory of the United States is officially bilingual! Friend of mine got a lot of grief when he applied for a passport at a post office in New Jersey when he presented his birth certificate, issued in Puerto Rico, because the document was in Spanish.
     
  14. BGK

    BGK Mouseketeer

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    Funniest thing I saw from my own driveway:
    neighbor tells teenage son to back the car down the driveway, and goes inside the house. Teenage son puts car in drive instead of reverse, stomps on accelerator, stoves huge dent in the garage door. Father comes tearing out of the house. Gets so bug-eyed apoplectic that, as he's yelling at the son, he's flipping back and forth between Spanish and English seemingly at random. He was fluently profane in both, and I about passed out laughing.
     
  15. goofy!

    goofy! <font color=green>You have to ride a roller coaste

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    This is so true. My parents are Dutch immigrants, so we grew up bilingual. Around here, it is very rare to run into another Dutch person.

    That said, you can never tell. I was at a party one time and there was a new ex-pat couple from the Netherlands. I knew they were Dutch, but did not have a chance to exchange pleasantries.

    The couple was standing in the kitchen, speaking Dutch, making fun of all the people at the party. They were commenting on their looks, their weight, 'dumb Americans', the list goes on.

    I just very casually walked up to them and said in Dutch "I can understand every word you are saying." They left soon after.

    As to the OP's question, I think it is fine as long as certain normal etiquette rules are followed. For instance, don't stare at somebody, start laughing and point while speaking to your fellow person in your other language :goodvibes

    I disagree with Fire Dancer that it is not rude to start speaking in another language while in a group when part of that group does not speak the language. It is very rude. As children, we are taught not to tell secrets in front of others and speaking in a language that other's in your group cannot understand is akin to telling secrets. It is just plain common courtesy for a group to be inclusive of one another. Now if one is asking somebody else to translate, fine.
     
  16. nd5056

    nd5056 DIS Veteran

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    Sums it up just right!

    Sometimes people do think that they are the center of the universe.

    .
     
  17. goofy!

    goofy! <font color=green>You have to ride a roller coaste

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    It is simple manners. You do not whisper or exclude people in a group.

    If one doesn't find that rude, they most likely ignored the manners lessons growing up.
     
  18. LukenDC

    LukenDC DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  19. TB'sWidow

    TB'sWidow DIS Veteran

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    Agree:thumbsup2
     
  20. FlightlessDuck

    FlightlessDuck Pluto's personal nose scratcher

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    Narcissism and paranoia aren't the same thing.
     
  21. BlueStarryHat

    BlueStarryHat <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/smilies/mag

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    I was at WDW once with a family member and a couple of Japanese girls were talking to each other in a restaurant, in Japanese of course. The family member says, "That's so rude-they should speak English when they're in America." I said, "If you went to Japan on vacation would you speak Japanese?" "Oh. I never thought about it that way."

    I live in a predominately Spanish area, so most of our local phone messages etc are bilingual, as is signage in our stores and businesses, "Se Habla Espanol" and so forth. I'm not Spanish and don't speak too much of the language, but it doesn't bother me at all. I don't see why it would bother anybody, really. We are a multi-cultural country, it's a fact. So what if I have to "press two for English?" I just press the button and get on with it.
     

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