(Closed) MIL question. Not meant to be culturally insensitive. Input or enlightenment?

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 17
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I definitely agree with the PP. Learning together will lead to a lot of laughter!

Post # 20
Member
7770 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I would love to learn another language personally- but I do not think it is odd or strange or ridiculous or anything that she prefers her native language.  I also think it is one sided that you want her to better learn yours and seem almost put-off that you have to better learn hers?  It might be overwhelming, but personally I would love to learn her language.

Post # 21
Member
741 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I’m sorry, the whole “people should learn the language of the country they are in and use it exclusively” arguement rubs me the wrong way. I’m an expat, and I chose to move to a country for my husband, and I did learn the language and use it for work and life when needed (especially because his family does not speak English well), but I’m not a language person and have a very difficult time expressing emotions in French. I can say the basic arguements of what I want to say, but I feel like I am only 70% of myself when I speak in French. I’ve accepted that’s just my personality. I’ve been in the country for several years and can say things correctly grammatically, it just feels off and not myself. There are many people who can learn a language and feel completely comfortable speaking in a language they are not as emotionally attached to, and I’m very jealous of those people, but it’s just not me. I’ve accepted I need to learn the language and that it is important, but also that I will always have a certain level of feeling uncomfortable not saying exactly what I intend to. It’s a hard thing to describe unless you’ve really tried to learn and use another language, which I have to say the majority of people in the US do not know what this is like….

So I do emphathize with your Mother-In-Law, although it is unrealistic for everyone to speak Spainish to her all the time. I think it’s important for everyone to learn a second language to communicate with other cultures and have that skill, despite your comfort zone and despite if you can use that language to really express yourself correctly. I’d meet her in the middle and learn to speak Spanglish. It won’t hurt you to learn another language for even just yourself and to understand your Mother-In-Law when she wants to better express herself in her native language, and it won’t hurt her   to be more flexible on speaking English. My 2 cents. 

Post # 22
Member
628 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Leemarie:  I’m going to go out on a limb and do not want any people to feel I am being stereotypical or culturally insensitive. Regardless of ethnic culture, people have personal cultures. Her personal culture may be that she expects others to ‘cater’ to her and yes, she may want a future DIL to cater to her to show her that you are making an effort. Yes, I have seen this in particular with people of spanish or mexican decent. However, I have also seen them ‘sparkle’ when an effort is made to understand their values and beliefs and strong collaborative relationships happen after that.

Post # 23
Member
1796 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@Leemarie:  My ex’s parents were Peruvian and they were the exact same way. They’d lived here for years but learned only minimal English and didn’t make any efforts to adapt. I think it is a cultural issue where the family elders get respect and everyone else should make an effort to communicate with them. I think it’s also common for them to avoid adapting because they worry that they or their family will lose their connection to their native culture and become too Americanized. It’s kind of hard not to take offense when they view becoming American as a bad thing, but you just have to remember that it’s mostly a fear of change.

Post # 24
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Leemarie:  No, I think she’s being silly and probably insecure. Neither my mother nor my aunt was like that with their DILs. 

Post # 25
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Au Jardin:  I don’t think anyone said anything about speaking the language exclusively. I think they meant that people should at least make an effort when they move to another country which is something you’ve done.

I totally get you though. I’m an expat too and I do not feel like I can be myself in French. I speak relatively well but have gotten myself in a lot of awkward situations and sometimes I just feel left out.

Post # 26
Member
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I have a few friends whose Mexican mothers or MILs don’t speak (much) English, despite living in the US forever.  I think it has part to Mexican culture being very patriarchal, compared to the US which is a lot more modern.  The men do most of the speaking on behalf of the family and at work, while the women preserve the culture and the home.  The concensus amongst my friends is you (the younger generation) need to make the effort and even consider raising your future children bilingual.

Post # 27
Member
607 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I think based on the fact that you are marrying this man, and possibly planning on having his children, it is cultually insensitive of you to not only have no desire to learn spanish other than what is needed to get by, or to even think that you should based on the fact that they all live in a predominatley enlish speaking country.  Why not learn a bit more than you already know? Being able to communicate with the woman who gave birth to him, and for both of you to teach your children a language other than english is a wonderful oppurtunity.

 

 

Just think ….What if the tables were turned? What if it meant that she needed to learn english and you lived on her turf? How much would it mean to you, if she learned to speak to you in a language that was not her own.  A marriage is the joining of the two families. And it’s not always smooth and easy and wonderful. Sometimes it’s hard work. But isn’t it worth it?

Post # 28
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  I wish more poeple think like you in life. 
The world might just be a little better. 🙂  

Post # 29
Member
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

You said she understands English pretty well, she just doesn’t speak it, right? If you understand Spanish okay, then you could speak in English and she can reply in Spanish. Most of my conversations with my boyfriend are him speaking Japanese and me speaking English. It’s a little weird, but it works if your understanding ability is a lot better than your speaking ability. 

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