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Would it bother you

(37 Posts)
ninathenana Wed 09-Sep-20 13:47:45

I'm expecting disapproval here.
An acquaintance has recently started a new job. The proprietor's daughter and another employee speak to each other almost exclusively in their own language.
Would this make you uncomfortable ? Nothing to do with racism but anxiety over whether they are talking about you.

tanith Wed 09-Sep-20 13:50:05

It is rude and yes I’d find it annoying.

MissAdventure Wed 09-Sep-20 13:50:33

I've worked in exactly those circumstances, many a time.

I was bending down to open the safe and the two people working with me both laughed and said something.

I was sure they were laughing at my big bum.

Grannybags Wed 09-Sep-20 13:52:26

Yes it would bother me. It's very rude apart from anything else

MissAdventure grin

silverlining48 Wed 09-Sep-20 13:53:03

Yes it’s rude especially if there was someone else present.
Like your example MissA. grin

Doodledog Wed 09-Sep-20 13:55:20

Yes, I think it's rude. I seem to remember a discussion on here a while ago about people having workplace conversations that excluded other people (just because of the subject, rather than the language), which divided opinion.

IMO it is always bad manners to leave someone out of a conversation unless it is absolutely necessary, in which case, cut it as short as possible, then resume later when there is nobody else around.

Pantglas2 Wed 09-Sep-20 13:57:34

Its happened to me here in Spain many many times and I figured I’d be better off learning Spanish than being offended since I’d come to their country!

MissAdventure Wed 09-Sep-20 13:57:37

The agency workers we used were constantly getting memos, reminding them that they were actually in the clients homes, and the clients were English speaking.

GagaJo Wed 09-Sep-20 14:00:38

Happens a lot to me, too. You just have to accept it and tune them out.

Although when I first arrived in China, we were given a lesson in swearing in Mandarin. Has come in handy many times. I heard a Chinese student swear (not at me, but still...) a week ago. I was on him like a tonne of bricks!

silverlining48 Wed 09-Sep-20 14:09:47

Certainly it’s only manners if you live in a foreign country to learn their language if possible. If you immerse yourself with locals and try to avoid mixing too much with English speakers, maybe take a few lessons, you can pick up the basics of a new language fairly quickly. Trouble is so many foreigners want to practice their usually fluent English it’s too easy for us to just go along with it.

EllanVannin Wed 09-Sep-20 14:14:40

It wouldn't bother me at all. I just smile and say hello grin

EllanVannin Wed 09-Sep-20 14:15:10

<<<<<<<very accommodating person.

Witzend Wed 09-Sep-20 14:27:04

A friend who was married to a Greek Cypriot and had lived in Cyprus for years, one day went into a shop where she wasn’t known.
She was always somewhat overweight - this is relevant. Since she didn’t look like a local the two assistants started talking about her very rudely in Greek - ‘Look at the state of her, fat cow,’ etc.

She waited until she was about to leave the shop, having paid and spoken to the two-faced smiling assistants in English - and then turned and gave them a choice mouthful in Greek!

‘You should have seen their faces!’ she said, still relishing it. ‘That’ll teach them!’ 😂

ninathenana Wed 09-Sep-20 16:25:47

Apparently one of them speaks very good English, the other not so good but can converse in English.

annep1 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:28:41

Yes it's rude and she should say so

Alegrias Wed 09-Sep-20 16:35:48

My OH and I lived in France for a while, and we worked in the same place. We both speak French. The idea that we would have had a conversation with each other in French would have been very weird. Of course we spoke to each other in English, even if someone else was in the room! Do you think they were interested in what we were having for tea?

But if we were doing anything related to our jobs, or we were in a conversation with anyone else, then we spoke in French.

I have friends today from other countries who speak to each other in their native languages. I'm not paranoid about what they are saying. And if they do think I have a big bum, I really don't care! smile

Alegrias Wed 09-Sep-20 16:38:12


DiscoDancer1975 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:43:03

Yes, it’s rude. If one person can’t speak good English, fair enough, but it should be translated. Otherwise they should wait until they’re alone, then the one who speaks good English should be talking to the other in English anyway, as much as possible, otherwise when will they learn?

Smileless2012 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:43:15

Very rude. When visiting our son in Aus. last year, we were invited by some friends of his for a meal during which the mother started talking to their children in Greekangry.

Her husband apologised and said they must appear as being rather rudehmm I think the look on my face told him all he needed to know.

She carried on!!!

Toadinthehole Wed 09-Sep-20 16:48:47

Grief rude, particularly in a work place where you’d hope everyone was on the same page as it were. I’d feel really uncomfortable, and for a meal too Smileless. I often find it hard enough to eat in a social environment, without someone I haven’t met before talking in another language! Glad you gave them the ‘ daggers ‘ look🤪.

Illte Wed 09-Sep-20 17:00:54

They may not mean to be rude. If you are truly bilingual you slip without thinking from one language to another. You tend to respond in the language that's been spoken to you.
It would also be quite rude for the two fluent English speakers to talk together knowing that the third person could only follow some of the conversation. Then she would feel insecure and left out.

If the the bilingual person also chats to the OPs friend in English I don't really see what the problem is.

BBbevan Wed 09-Sep-20 18:23:50

Yes it would and does bother me. A person in our family is married to a person from another country and religion. They are lovely people and very friendly and regularly invite ( invited) us to big family gatherings. They all spoke to each other in their own language so DH and I often spoke just to each other. If you started a conversation with one person, and they all spoke good English, if someone else came along they were very soon back to their own language. I don’t think it occurred to them that we found it difficult

Pantglas2 Wed 09-Sep-20 18:58:05

I’m feeling quite odd reading most of these posts as I’ve been to weddings/christening in India, Greece, and Spain where few spoke English and I’ve accepted that they’ll all speak to each other in their usual language!

Why would they change it for me? I’m not precious and don’t need to be given special privileges when invited to someone else’s event. I can quite happily sit there interpreting smiles, body language and enjoying the occasion, without thinking it all about me (or my big bum🤪)

welbeck Wed 09-Sep-20 18:59:07


Yes it's rude and she should say so

having been very lucky to get a job in this economic climate, i wouldn't be telling the owner's daughter what to do.
can be dismissed for no reason during first two years.
actually the OP situation wouldn't bother me.
i don't like talking in the work place generally.
i think it distracts from a work focused environment.
if they want to waste time gossiping, that's up to them.
i seem to be in the minority. cannot imagine dining in someone's house and giving them disapproving looks. that seems rude to me. when in Rome...

DiscoDancer1975 Wed 09-Sep-20 19:05:09

Pantglas2, I wouldn’t expect anyone to speak English in their own country. It’s lovely of them if they do, but up to us to learn theirs.