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Language Problems  
User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 12015 posts, RR: 14
Posted (11 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1235 times:

I speak both English and Spanish. English is my native language. Since I work with Hispanics, it is sometimes easier to get my point across in Spanish. Last week, I was talking with one of my Hispanic co-workers about a wedding, music or something mundane when another co-worker came over and said "Stop talking about me" and she was serious! She honestly believed we were talking about her!

My mom and brothers do not speak Spanish but they can tell when they are being talked about which has been only once. They all live in areas with large Mexican populations. There are also many Russian and Chinese speaking persons that live in Portland and Vancouver. Sometimes I can tell when the Russians come into the store and talk about me, but I don't care. Their money spends just like anyone else's.

Back to the point: I told my co-worker we were not talking about her but I still think she does not believe me. Oh, well. But the question is: Why do some people believe when they hear their non-native language they are being talked about? Does this happen in other countries i.e. if I were to go to Japan and speak Spanish to another Spanish speaking friend about something mundane, would the Japanese think we were talking about them?


Life in the wall is a drag.
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAnxebla From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1211 times:

No,sinceramente no lo creo,SEB146.
BTW...do is difficult for you the spanish language?

User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1205 times:

some people have issues. get used to it, that's life.....

"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offline707CMF From France, joined Mar 2002, 4885 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1196 times:

I see quite what you mean.

My native language is French, and most of my coworkers don't speak English very well.

That is actually an advantage for me : I sometimes phone a friend, who speaks English roughly as well as I do (if not better). If I want either to have some privacy, I'll speak English over the phone. Additional perk being my collegues will believe it is a work related call!!!


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1193 times:

Well my grandparents speak Yiddish, and whenever I would be around they of course would talk English to me, but betweeen themselves they would talk English about stuff not concerning me, and Yiddish about stuff concerning me...drove me crazy sometimes...

Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineBMAbound From Sweden, joined Nov 2003, 660 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1187 times:

Had a couple of exchange students at my high school in the US which simply refused to speak English. It got quite annoying after some time, making the Americans a little uncomfortable, and it also ruined the American atmosphere a little for the rest of us foreigners. Having someone speaking a foreign language leaves you with the inability of fully perceiving what's going on, so it all comes down to self-confidence of the people "being spoken about".


Altitude is Insurance - Get Insured
User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 12015 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1165 times:

I guess I should just chalk it up to some people think they are the center of attention always.

Anxebla: Hablo español de México, entoces a mi es muy deficil para entender español de España o Argentina.


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineJuanr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1152 times:


What do you mean when you say that you speak Mexican Spanish?? Of course there are a little differences on the accent and pronunciation between Hispanic countries but sure if you understand what you call "español de Mexico" you will certainly understand the Español from every Latin American country.

Well, and if your co-worker thinks you are talking about her it must be that she has something to hide or she has done something embarrassing, I would not care too much about it.


User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 12015 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1156 times:

I try to understand what those from South America and the Carribean are saying. But they have accents that makes it difficult for me. Then, there is Spain. That sounds like a whole different language to me. I can understand those from Mexico and Central America better.

I don't understand some English accents either.


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1126 times:

It can be an insecurity issue, but for me, it is considered rude to speak a language in front of others that don't speak it. I work with Libyans that speak very good english, yet often we will all be sitting in the coffee room, and they'll all be speaking Arabic. Are they talking about me? Maybe, I don't care, but it isolates me and the other non-Arabic employees, therefore it is rude.

User currently offlineJuanr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1106 times:

I do not think it is rude if they are talking in their home language, if other people do not understand that is their problem, and if he/she (the other person) thinks that they are talking about him/her maybe he/she has a self-esteem problem or is beaing paranoic.


User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1101 times:

The point is not if you think it is rude, but rather that others do. It says that you can't be bothered to include them, or that you wish to intentionally disclude them from the whole social interaction. I fully realize that my co-workers aren't talking about me, but it is still considered quite rude where I come from.

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14365 posts, RR: 62
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1108 times:

In my old job in Irelandwe had asimilar problem. Many Irish just speak English, most of them don´t speak Irish, even though it is a mandatory subject in school. There were many foreigners in our company, from South Africa, the Philippines, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany, Australia, USA and Britain.

Many of us, when working together, would chat in our own languages, e.g. the South Africans in Afrikaans, the Filipinos in Tagalog, the Bulgarians in Bulgarian and us Germans in German. Some Irish took offense, saying it was impolite, even though we were talking about private matters anyway (I don´t listen into a conversation of others, even if I speak the language) and on one production line, the line manager actuallytried to ban all languages except English.


Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
User currently offlineB747Skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 18 hours ago) and read 1078 times:

I am very fortunate with languages... I wish most people were at ease like me.
Was born in USA, father was Irish-American, mother was Belgian.
I spoke English with him, French with her.
My father got assigned to NATO, Paris, I went to school in French...
Then NATO moved to Brussels, we moved there.
In schools in Belgium, in addition I had to study Flemish, a Dutch dialect...
Besides all that, I had to suffer Latin and Greek classics...
Took a couple of years of German...
Went back to the U.S., first Air Force, then PanAm...
After PanAm's bankruptcy, settled in Argentina, got married there.
I learned Spanish, our primary language at home.
All our vacations we spend in Brazil, there I am learning Portuguese...
End result - I speak -
English, French, Spanish, some Flemish/Dutch, Portuguese, German.
With Flemish/Dutch, I can understand/read some Afrikaans...
Thanks to Latin/French/Spanish/Portuguese, I can understand/read Italian.
Background of German/Dutch helps understand Scandinavian languages.
Greek also helped me read words in Russian alphabet...
French helps me a lot to understand Creole (Haitian)...
A mix of Spanish/French/Dutch helps me with Papiamento (Dutch Antilles)
My kids are fluent in Spanish, English and French, can handle Portuguese.
My wife speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Guarani (tribe of North Argentina).
We are at ease with languages.
If you speak in Magyar/Hungarian, I have no clue as to what you say.
Same if you speak Arabic, or Urdu, or Cantonese...
We smile at you, and we ask you "where are you from", welcome to Argentina.
We know you do not speak about us... you have the right to speak YOUR language.
We do have the right to speak ours. We are not rude to you.
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineAnxebla From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 1036 times:

For me,with eng. language is the same.My first language isn't english,and for me it's very difficult to understand english which is spoken in Texas,for example.But,Really there is not so much dif. between my spanish and the spanish of Mexico.Like British english,some words change...
example:car.- (coche,in Spain) (carro in Mex,Colombia) (auto in Arg/Chile)
It's like "Truck" and "lorry"
"Plain" spanish is spoken in Central Spain,but I like very much the spanish from Central/South Colombia.And we (spanish speakers) haven't any problem for to understand us.... ¿verdad que no,Juanr?  Big grin
The only one clear dif.is we (in Spain) talk fast or in Mexico/South America people talk more slowly.
I find more differences in the english spoken countries...english from Texas is SO different to english from England...

User currently offlineJuanr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1018 times:

For sure!!! Anxebla!! Here in Colombia he have many accents but certainly the Spanish that is spoken in Bogota, some regions in Cundinamarca, Tolima and Huila is the most clear without accent one, it is similar to the one spoken in Costa Rica too. I understand Spanish accents quite well, however fir me it is sometimes hard to understand what Peruvians, Bolivians and Chileans are saying.


User currently offlineAnxebla From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1014 times:

For some chileans/peruvians seem to talk cost money  Big grin hahaha
By the way...The most BEAUTIFUL accent in women is colombian.This year I'll go again to BOG...si quieres nos vemos,Juan.
Greetings from Madrid  Smile

User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2608 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1004 times:


How do you like Argentina? Do you dance tango in the milongas? You're very gifted to have a command of so many languages. Yes, we need more people with skills like yours.


User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2655 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 978 times:
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I speak Bulgarian. Nobody else except my bulgarian friends can understand me too much. Sometimes Russians get waht I'm saying.

User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 969 times:

Hola Shawn -
I always liked Argentina - Buenos Aires, before living here, it was by far one of my favorite layover city. With PanAm, I always tried to be assigned to Buenos Aires flights. So when the opportunity came in 1993 to move here permanently, I jumped on the offer.
Music is a hobby for me, play piano and guitar, I got attracted by tango music, the melodies and the lyrics. That is the way I met my wife in 1994, a student by day, and tango dancer by night. She did two world tours with the dance troupe "Tango Argentino", and now teaches tango dancing. I also got to learn about the folk music from the Guaranis (an Indian tribe from the North of Argentina and Paraguay), a style that I like playing guitar.
Buenos Aires is a city in the style of Paris and Milano... although Spanish is the language, the brunt of immigration some 100-120 years ago was mostly Italians. I learned Spanish very fast, English is rarely spoken here, except in hotels or the travel industry. My wife does not speak any English, and has no desire to go to live in USA. She just like to go shopping in MIA, or FLL, and after two or three days, she says "let's go home"...
I am very happy in Argentina, despite the economic problems of this nation, and I am completely adapted to the life here, drinking "yerba mate", soccer, tango music, or putting flowers on Eva Peron's grave at the cemetery... and eating red meat with pasta twice a day, with a glass of wine...
I escape every summer to the beach in Brasil, like many people from here do as well, a two day car drive away from Buenos Aires. Except that Brasil are the traditional soccer "ennemies" of Argentina, it is a great place too. But there, it is Portuguese for the language... I can fake it good, making a mix of Spanish, I call it "Portunol"...
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineShawn Patrick From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2608 posts, RR: 16
Reply 20, posted (10 years 12 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 915 times:


Sounds good. Learning tango in Buenos Aires is definetly very high on my list of life's priorities!


User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 years 12 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 898 times:

Come on down, Shawn -
Many tourists come here and enroll in a "2 or 3 evening classes" program to learn to dance tango. All the travel agencies and tourist information centers in town offer such activities. And since the Peso here took a dump, the prices are now a third of what they used to be for tourists with USA Dollars.
Besides, if you want to see a city that "never sleeps", Buenos Aires is certainly the one.
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineSOUTHAMERICA From Colombia, joined Dec 2003, 2498 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (10 years 12 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 883 times:


I know that people from Medellin have certainly a strong accent, althought not half as strong as the people from the coast.

But man, believe me, neither Bogota, nor Huila, nor Tolima accents are standar either. Specially the one from Bogota. Give me a call whenever you want and in an original imitation process I would be delighted in showing that this is certainly not true.

Besides, "oiga chino", if this were true, how the hell would people here bug "Rolos" if their accent were not soooooooo strong?  Laugh out loud


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