Is it rude when people speak another language around you?

posted 4 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
965 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

No. If I’m not a part of the conversation, why would I feel entitled to know what is being said? 

I only find it rude if we’re in one conversation and it’s clear the language shift is intended to keep me out of the conversation.  If it’s more of family members slipping back into their first language (not a direct slight), I’ll just say “I’d love to follow your side of the conversation… but I can only do that in English”

Post # 3
Member
6224 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

socalgirl1689 :  I think it depends on the circumstances. My SIL was dealing with a situation for a while where her step kids would deliberately speak to their father in another language at the dinner table to exclude her. That was absolutely rude.

If your friend is saying she has a problem with people who aren’t talking to her (or interacting with her in any way) speaking to one another in a language she doesn’t speak, then she’s out of line and sounding a lot like the videos of old ladies in the supermarket howling “SPEAK ENGLISH.” at people. 

I’m curious what the circumstances are where her Fiance and his parents are speaking in another language because it could be rude and it then it could also be an opportunity for her to start learning their language.

Post # 4
Member
189 posts
Blushing bee

I think it would be frustrating if my husband and his parents entirely left me out of a conversation in a different language. I think co-workers talking to each other is different. If they were at a meeting and started speaking to each other in a different language while there were non-speakers there, I think that would be rude. But just like, chatting? Nah, whatever. 

Post # 5
Member
2895 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

socalgirl1689 :  If the situation meant I was the only one excluded from the conversation (say at a dinner, car ride, etc) then yes, I’d be a bit irritated. But, in pretty much every other scenario I can’t imagine it bothering me.

Post # 6
Member
9926 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

    No

Post # 8
Member
1353 posts
Bumble bee

Totally depends on situation. 

My fh family is French, mostly bilingual. I’m English. 

The degress in which they speak or understand, or are comfortable with English, varies. 

I can understand most, if I pay attention, but it’s hard if multiple people are talking etc. I cannot speak it other than random nouns n phrases. 

They mostly speak French around me. But it is their language. Some will reiterate parts of conversations to ne in English, as they go. My fh will often speak both languages when conversing with them so that I understand better. 

Honestly, as long as they try and are welcoming, I am ok with it.  When I’m tired or I lose track of the conversation I stop trying to follow along. I try, too. 

He is from a billingual  area , but still, many people are most comfortable in their French, do they should be allowed to speak that way to one another. 

Last visit, my future niece-in-law, lol, would speak to me in French and I would answer in English. We both are not confident in our spoken skills, but could comprehend one another. 

We are having a ceremony in both languages to be respectful of both. 

If I were being intentionally  ignored and discluded, that would bother me. 

Post # 9
Member
1467 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I agree with PP, it depends on the context matters. If people are just having a conversation (especially random people in a grocery store, coworkers having their own conversation) I think it’s fine. If you’re in a smaller space I think it’s weird. I’ve had people converse in another language when there are three of us in a small room together, and I’m the only onee that doesn’t speak, and I think that’s rude. 

Edit: I don’t think that it’s usually meant to be rude, or as an exclusion. But, It could spark the feeling that 1) they might be saying something behind your back (however unlikely); 2) that they don’t have concern for how you might feel being blatently excluded when you have a reasonable expectation of being included, or 3) that they’re “showing off’ that they speak a language that you don’t. Any of which is rude. I could see it more if some people were much more comfortable in the other language (like maybe the FIs parents in the OP?), but when you all share a first language it’s pretty unnecessary.

Post # 10
Member
1353 posts
Bumble bee

socalgirl1689 :   she should ask her fh to intentionally  stop to interpret important parts that are relevant to her, to her. My fh does that and it helps them alot to remember.  But often it’s just easier for them. It’s not out of anything personal. 

Post # 11
Member
5696 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

It isn’t always rude but it definitely can be. If her fiancé and his family are frequently speaking in a language she can’t speak, purposefully leaving her out for no reason then yeah it’s rude. 

Post # 12
Member
1389 posts
Bumble bee

I think it really depends on the situation, if it’s random people I don’t know then no I don’t find it rude. If we’re in a group and I know they can speak English fluently start switching to another language I find it akin to whispering and rude, even if they’re not doing it to be rude. 

It’s been an issue before in a hospital I’ve worked at where some members of staff who were fluent in English would switch to another language around certain coworkers, basically excluding them from the conversation at times. They would also do it around patients and some said they felt it was because they were being talked about.

People complained and management politely asked people to be more mindful when speaking in languages they know patients and other staff present can’t understand as it excludes them and can be seen as rude. 

Post # 13
Member
6224 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

socalgirl1689 :  I’d find a 3 hour car ride where I’m left out of the conversation a bit tiresome, too, but if her inlaws have a hard time speaking English, what is her proposed solution? That they work on their English with her? That they remain silent so she can talk? Again, if she’s planning to try to learn their language, that goes a long way.

Also- depending on where they are from, there are age/respect issues at play here too. It would be absolutely unreasonable for her to think that older people would be quiet on a car ride so she could talk to her SO. There may be a cultural component going on and if she’s marrying into this family, she should familiarize herself with it so she isn’t the one inadvertently being rude.

Post # 14
Member
260 posts
Helper bee

It used to drive me crazy when my FH and his family would talk in their native language when I was there (they all speak fluent English too). After a while I just decided to get over it because it isn’t worth me getting stressed or upset over. They don’t do it to be mean or malicious or purposefully exclude me. I’m not sure how I will feel when we have kids and they try to all talk their native language then and I’m sort of excluded. I’ll have to get learning their language! 

Post # 15
Member
376 posts
Helper bee

My Dh and his family are French. When we visit his mother they speak in French if I’m still asleep or I’m out of the room. But they will always speak in English when I’m there.

Sometimes when there are several French speakers in the room, they revert to speaking French but they are very conscious of my presence and try not to do that. I do understand some of what they are saying and can somewhat follow the conversation. I would think it was rude if they had full on conversations while I’m sitting there, but that doesn’t happen.

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