(Closed) Do you get mad when people speak in "other" languages around you?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 107
4435 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Totally doesn’t bother me at all, but living in Vancouver there are so many languages other than English. I love hearing other languages. My DH is Spanish, so there is always a lot of Spanish in our house. My Mom is Vietnamese, so I hear Vietnamese all the time. Most of my family speaks French and Japanese as well, plus we travel all over the place so I hear different languages all the time. I used to think Mom and her friends were laughing at me when they were all talking in Vietnamese…but then she translated the conversations and they were all just boring stuff- people laughing about some soap opera, talking about what to make for dinner etc! 

Post # 108
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

In a situation when you are surrounded by strangers, how are you supposed to know whether they speak languages besides English? Just saying.

I don’t think it is rude to speak a foreign language around non-speakers. At all actually. My future father in law speaks Italian with his step-daughter, my grandparents speak Portuguese with my father and his siblings. My fiance and I speak German to each other and I speak French with my friends.

It’s a natural part of life for many, many people. I have noticed that people who only know one language are insecure about hearing other languages, though.  

Post # 109
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Wouldn’t it be more rude for me to assume another person should ALWAYS speak the language I speak.

Post # 110
91 posts
Worker bee

I normally don’t have a problem with it but there are a few times that it drives me crazy. I use to work at a sushi station that had a mexican manager and he only hired youngish mexican men to work in the kithen. This would have been a problem if they were such slim balls! (The manager had made multiple comments to be about my breast size!) How it was set up is there was one person that worked the front, took money and took out orders, and the rest of the people would be in the open kitchen cooking and preping. This is where my problem came in, I worked there when I was in my early 20’s and it was very uncomfrontable to work in a place where you were the only person that doesnt speak spanish and you can tell that they are talking about you! That put a sour taste in my mouth about the whole thing. 


Oh! And my best friend did the pay checks at my work and told me that she found porn sites on the work computer that the manager worked on. He would also take long bathroom breaks. Ugh! Im getting grossed out jsut thinking about it! Needless to say I no longer work there and I hope that everyone there got fired! 

Post # 111
301 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Not at all!  I am from L.A. and you would be hard pressed not o hear people talking in different languages DAILY, SEVERAL TIMES A DAY! 😀

Post # 112
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

It doesn’t bother me at all. My Fiance is bilingual and I’m getting there! My Future Father-In-Law speaks primarily Spanish and we have a great relationship. He says I speak excellent English because he can understand me, lol. It’s just because I try to speak in a way he’ll understand and I mix in Spanish.

North Americans should be embracing other languages!

Post # 113
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@MrsPanda99:  hahaha! Nice come back!

No, it is not rude to speak in a different language than what is understood by those around you if they are not privy to the conversation. Why are they even trying to listen? Creepos…

Post # 114
49 posts

It would only bother me if I were with a small group of friends and they were speaking entirely in another language (I’d feel left out!)

But I’m surrounded by Spanish speakers and do not speak a lick of it myself and it never bothers me. I’ve been encouraging it in my SO 🙂

Post # 115
4953 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

View original reply
@MrsPanda99:  Hearing someone speak in another language is definitely eye-catching (ear-catching?) enough that I usually try to figure out what language it is. Knowing that there’s no chance I’ll ever figure out what they’re saying, I usually end up listening in, which isn’t something I do if they’re speaking English, because I think other languages are fascinating. It’s definitely not rude! 

Post # 116
2108 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’m not sure why it WOULD bother me.

That said, it does bother me when people loudly speak negatively about me/others in a different language. I understand Spanish fairly well and twice, while out with my cousin’s 2 year old (who comes to live with me from time to time) have overheard people talking about how I am “too young to have a child”, “shame on me” and some Spanish derogatory terms used in my direction. Yikes. Being bilingual does NOT make it ok to speak rudely about people in public without even trying to hide it, especially when you have no idea if they can understand you or not…




Post # 117
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

i can’t believe this topic has gotten this many replies…

Post # 118
502 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

The only time that it bothers me is when I feel like I’m being talked about, like in a nail shop where they arrested speaking another language, and then both turn to look at me, then resume their convo. 

Post # 119
3371 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

It doesn’t bother me, which is a good thing given I’m China-born, Australia-raised, Fiance is Swiss-Italian and we live in Beijing and are about to move to Singapore. I speak English and Mandarin interchangeably with my friends (and as a PP noted, sometimes it’s necessary to switch between the two because many phrases and slang terms are so exclusive to each language). Fiance speaks some Mandarin, but his mother tongue is French. He also speaks Italian and German, but we converse in English. I think it’s harder for him because my family and most of our Chinese friends will prefer to converse in Chinese at a million miles an hour, even when almost all of them are fluent in English. On the other hand, when we’re with his family, they have to make a real effort to speak to me in English. His cousins are fluent but his parents and the older generation are not, so I am totally fine to chill out while they gab in French. I trust that Fiance will translate the most important bits!

I have to say though, it can sometimes be extremely isolating to be in a country where the spoken language is not one you can understand. I can very much feel myself becoming more and more introverted during the first few days in a country where I don’t speak the language.

Post # 120
1668 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

@MrsPanda99:  Those people were idiots. What city were you in?! If it is someone I don’t know on a phone call or whatever I don’t care. I’m used to it because I’ve lived kind of everywhere. What does bother me and I find rude is when I’m in a social setting with a group of people and they just switch to another language. I feel awkward because I’m just left sitting there. That to me is rude.

PS the guy that thought you were speaking French is really stupid because French and Russian sound nothing alike.

ETA: What I do absolutely hate is when someone is saying rude things in another language thinking that no one can understand them. I can think of one girl that was dating my SO’s friend. She was one of those Quebecois that was very pro French and seemed to hate Anglos (I don’t know why she was dating him). A couple years ago we were at a restaurant for my SO’s birthday at a really big table and she got into a conversation with a friend’s Fiance and was speaking in warp speed using slang laughing about how they could talk and not a single one of us could understand what they were saying, among other not-so-nice things. I just turned to her and stated in English (so everyone could understand exactly what was going on because there was actually one other francophone and two others that are fluent enough as it is our second language): “really I understand everything you are saying perfectly right now so stop being a jerk”. That’s the only time it really really bothers me. It’s happened to friends who work in stores and it is always amazing when they look so shocked and you answer them perfectly in whatever language you are speaking. Sorry for the rant – but those are the only two instances that it bothers me that someone is speaking in another language. I also have to add that my friend’s Fiance is awesome and super nice. She was just … not a nice person (needless to say he stopped seeing her a while ago).

Post # 121
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Not read all the responses here, but I thought I’d reply quickly. The answer is that it does annoy me sometimes, but only in certain circumstances. For example, I was once at a meeting in a country where many people are multilingual. In these circumstances, correct etiquette is to find the language that everyone is most comfortable in, and use it. One man there started talking in a rather obscure indigenous language which I could understand. However, as soon as he saw me watching him, he asked me in English if I could understand him. When I replied yes, he asked if I could understand another local language. I replied “not really, no”.

He then immediately switched to the language I could not understand. Now that is RUDE.

In the same country, I also frequently heard people talking about me behind my back in their own language, especially in areas where they got a lot of tourists. It was all “”white girl this, white girl that”. I had to bite my tongue, but a few times I did go up to the speaker and ask them a question in the language they were speaking just to see the look on their face. IT WAS ******* PRICELESS, EVERY TIME! Seriously, it just never got old…

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