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Do you get miffed when you try to speak the local language and they respond to you in English?

Do you get miffed when you try to speak the local language and they respond to you in English?

Old Dec 21st, 2004, 02:08 PM
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In Italy, I believe that all my attempts at speaking the native language were appreciated. When not quite correct, I often got a smile and a response in English. I appreciated that.

There were a few times that my speech was gramatically correct and sounded great. In those cases, I was rewarded by a response in Italian. That was special.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 02:09 PM
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Yes, Myriam but you should ask if they would like you to switch to English. There are so many people in the USA that have accents and many are difficult to understand but they are trying to speak English.
While I was studying Spanish in Spain there were so many Germans and Dutch and Italians that were also there to learn Spanish. Instead of speaking Spanish they would speak to each other in English.This was insane! I refused to speak to any of them in English. They would respond, oh but its so much easier to just speak in English! Well, why were they there in Spain? Crazy!
Englsih is a curse, I tell you!
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 02:27 PM
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I was talking with a young man from Brittany last week and he had the same complaint about Parisians. Also said his friends from Montreal got the treatment. We have a friend who's native language is French ( and he has a French name) He often returns from France foaming at the mouth because they answer him in English. (Guess he's picked up a New Yawk accent -
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Do you mean you spoke to your teacher, the one who's paid for his/her time to listen to you, to teach you, to correct you, to be patient with you and s/he switched to another language? If this is not the case, why are you so upset?

Somebody was not polite enough to ask you if it's OK for you to test their patience? If your French is "fairly" good doesn't mean it's equally good for everybody else.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Why is it a "curse" for people from different countries to be able to be able to communicate in a language they all spoke well (English) rather than always struggling with a language they were just learning (Spain)? Even if you're studying a language, sometimes you just want to slip into something more comfortable. If there two French people studying Spanish in Spain who sometimes switched to French for a rest, would that be so terrible?

To answer the original question, no I'm not miffed when I speak Italian and Italians answer me in English. If I'm having a short, businesslike conversation with them, they probably just want to complete the transaction in the way that's easiest for them. If it's a long social conversation and I really want to speak Italian, we can discuss which language(s) to use. Sometimes we'll each speak the other's language, since that's the one we each want to practice.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Fainagain, you are making no sense at all. When I say fairly good I mean that it is good. My mistake for being modest. It is in fact very rude to switch to another language if the person who has initiated the conversation is proficient in the language and can be easily understood by the other person. If I am speaking to you and you can understand everything that I am say, and then you decide to switch to another language it is extremely rude.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:10 PM
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KT- When you learn another language and slip back into your native language, it slows down progress. It is not a good thing to do. Those German and Dutch were really in Spain to party and not really there to learn the language. This is very common among these nationalities.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:12 PM
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I'm going to regret this...oh well,let the bullets rain....why don't you worry about something important..if this is the most you have to worry about you are steps ahead of most people in the world. I remember a similar post not too long ago on much this same subject..I didn't research but I'll bet you just might possibly be that poster..ya think?
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Crefloors, I am passionate about languages and it irks me to no end that Americans are so bad about learning languages. It was common a generation ago that a lot of Americans just expected people to speak English and even though the French pretended that they didnt know English. Anyway, when I go to France, I want to speak in French not in ENglish and it is bothersome when I am addressed in English. I have many friends that speak other languages and they feel the same way. Its amazing that on this board so many people seem to have various degrees of the old attitude of which I described. "Ah, come on, speak English!!! Anglo Canadians are sometimes just as intolerant about French I find. What a pity!
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:26 PM
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No. I'm glad they don't return in their tongue as i'd be lost. I think they appreciate the fact that you tried in the first place. If i'd spoken the language well enough then they may start speaking to you in it i think.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:27 PM
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Yes, I'm aware of the obvious fact that that when you're trying to learn one language, speaking another language slows you down. However, outside of an enforced total immersion environment, I doubt that even devoted language learners never give in to the temptation to take a rest and communicate easily.

I'm beginning to think this thread is less about whether people mind being spoken to in their own language and more about some people wanting some kind of applause for being able to speak another language. You know, I have a Belgian friend who is fluent in five languages (Flemish, French, English, German, and Spanish) and able to get by in a few others, and she doesn't let it get up her snoot about what language people use with her.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:28 PM
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If you can't tell the difference between "Come on, speak English" and "Go ahead and speak English if you want to" perhaps you should stop studying languages and start studying logic.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:36 PM
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Don't take it personally. Communication (unless they're specifically trying to help you learn) is about getting a point across, not about letting you practice your tenses : )
And I agree that many people in other countries are proud of their English and jump at the chance to practice it on you! I do the same thing when I encounter an Italian tourist at home. They will speak to me in English and I'll respond in Italian. Just human nature!
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:37 PM
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MissPraline, maybe they hate americans, and this is their way to show you can't hide your identity from them?
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 03:52 PM
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Gee, that was just brilliant.

Anyway, I have always felt that when someone responds in english to my french, they are doing so because they feel it is the quickest and most efficient way to deal with the matter at hand.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 04:13 PM
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MissPraline -

My own French is basically of the pitiful tourist variety and I have found people always willing to let me try it out if I like. They usually only switch to english when it's apparent that the French is beyond me.

So, despite all of your protests I would assume that the reason people keep switching to english is because they can;t understand what you mean in french. (Perhaps it is as confused/confusing as many of your posts here.) Otherwise there is no reason for them not to speak in French.

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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 04:50 PM
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No, it takes more than that to <i>miff</i> me

Although I have heard of some people who like to stay in a &quot;zone of some sort of immersion&quot; so they don't like to speak anything but the local language.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 04:57 PM
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Folks, you are trying to engage in rational exchange with a reincarnated troll.

The rhetoric at the start of this post was muted so as to avoid immediate deletion of the post.
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 04:59 PM
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But as the conversation progresses, the combative, argument-provoking true character emerges.
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