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Would you find it disrespectful?

  Tags: Relationship
 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages Post Reply
61 messages over 8 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
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1 posts - 1 votes
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French

 Message 57 of 61
02 October 2012 at 4:39pm | IP Logged 
It really depends. Since I'm learning Japanese, I'll speak about that scenario, although the same situation could
apply to French (very infant stages).

Considering my current level of Japanese, I would prefer most communication with a potential partner from Japan to
be in Japanese. I wouldn't take at as an insult if they didn't know my language: in fact, I would take it as them
treating me normally, no different from any other Japanese man. Of course, I wouldn't mind if they had an interest
in English or could speak it, but I don't want to be treated as only able to speak English and wanted to be treated
just like a member of Japanese society, no handicaps...if that makes sense?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 6095 days ago

272 posts - 376 votes 
Speaks: English, Finnish*, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish
Studies: Russian, Estonian, Sámi, Latin

 Message 58 of 61
30 October 2012 at 2:12am | IP Logged 
My Italian ex-girlfriend tried to learn my native language but made no significant progress during the nearly 5 years that we were in a relationship. I think the main reason for that was my ability to speak Italian which made her a bit lazy. :p The second most important factor was that she expected ME to TEACH her how to speak Finnish (which, as you probably know, is not the best method if you want to learn a foreign language)...

Although she never really learned the language, I'm happy that she was willing to at least give it a try. To me it was a sign of respect.
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4085 days ago

747 posts - 1123 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 59 of 61
04 November 2013 at 6:17am | IP Logged 
In N. America we are used to being in a multi-cultural melting pot with English being the dominant language.
Unlike in Europe people are much more aware of their ethnic identity in this part of the world being able to
communicate in English is sufficient.

I've come across a few people who are ethnically Chinese. We all get together as an extended family for Chinese
meals. The older generation would be speaking in Cantonese and the younger crowd would reply back in English.
There was no shame attach to it. There are several in the younger generation who are fluent in both but again
speaking in either language isn't much of an issue.

And then there are people who are Chinese married to others of different ethnicity. Again the kids would be
speaking in English at the dinner table and didn't seem to bother anybody. There was a couple where the man is
Chinese and the lady is White. She actually took half a year of Cantonese classes. Although unable to carry on a
conversation the wife knows all the Chinese food items at the dinner table. Everybody is very accommodating
speaking to her in English.

And in there is the case of someone who speaks Cantonese as a mother-tongue and another who speak Mandarin.
At the dinner table they would be communicating in English. Not an issue. If someone in the group is not fluent in
Mandarin at a dinner gathering where everybody speaks Mandarin instead of English, he would keep quiet during
the whole dinner. Didn't seem to bother the rest of the crowd.
1 person has voted this message useful

Via Diva
Senior Member
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1109 posts - 1427 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German, Italian, French, Swedish, Esperanto, Czech, Greek

 Message 60 of 61
04 November 2013 at 12:34pm | IP Logged 
First of all: I've no experience, so everything following is just a thinking and theory-making.
It depends on languages and the country where two are going to live. That's obvious.
I'm a native Russian speaker and my family is basically monolingual. I don't think that I'll go hard and escape my family once so I need them to know the man who interest me.
The easiest way would be in case of English (or, maybe, German - if my father and his parents still remember some school German they've taken). I know the language enough to be an interpreter in conversational situations (hopefully). But I wouldn't be truly objective, I think. Plus, my family wouldn't be able to ask him to answer honestly what he think about me without me being around. It seems not so important, but I doubt it.
Any language but English and German would make everything even harder. He probably could struggle to think in Eng, so am I, tension and whatever can make our English bridge weak. My family could simply not stand on it. Well, I don't think that misunderstanding from their side would stop me, but it's possible.
It's really hard from my side to demand him to learn Russian. I myself are skeptical about learning Russian on demand anyway. I think I would stand that he will not learn with too serious aims. But if he'll behave like my Russian does not exist, if he would protest about teaching our kids Russian... it would be truly offensive for me.
On the other hand, I need to learn his language. At this point of life and experience (which is zero, just to remind) I think that I'll learn a language if that'll be important for him. In the worst case (of Mandarin, for example) I'll ask to teach me the basics anyway. If I am to find that when speaking his native language the relationship is really improving, I would go hard and try to do everything possible.
Honestly, I think that love should motivate one enough for something like this.
I'm sure that there are some things that are truly impossible to say in any language but native. Keeping in mind that I'm a native speaker of relatively hard Russian, I think that I should be the one who'll learn another's language. But this doesn't mean that Russian shall be completely neglected by him.
And last but not the least - pretty much everything written above does not imply in the cases of Ukrainian, Belorussian and, maybe, any other Slavic language. I really can't imagine how things would go in this situation for I could be hard one to teach and so could he. That'll be a matter of luck and conditions.
To be honest, I don't know why I even decided to write here, I'm so shy and closed that me dating some Russian guy would be quite an improvement, what to say about a foreigner?! That seems just impossible right now, hehe...

Edited by Via Diva on 04 November 2013 at 12:38pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 3785 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 Message 61 of 61
04 November 2013 at 2:05pm | IP Logged 
It all depends on the relationship. My husband and I have different native languages. Someday I'll learn Tagalog,
and maybe someday he'll learn French (although I kind of doubt it), but neither of us are terribly concerned about
the fact that we live our lives together in English. We've been together for almost 15 years, so it obviously works
for us.

I can't imagine trying to force a language on anyone. Learning a language is a huge amount of work. For people
who love learning languages, it's fun…but for people who aren't interested, I think that it would add a lot of
unnecessary tension to the relationship. I can't imagine language being a "deal-breaker" in a relationship,
especially if you live together in a place with a dominant language that you both speak.

That said, there's a difference between not wanting to learn a language and showing disrespect for a person's
culture, family and background. That *would* be a deal-breaker - but it has nothing to do with language, in my

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