Author Topic: Fiance speaking in a different language?  (Read 6266 times)

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2tidypoodles

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Fiance speaking in a different language?
« on: August 30, 2011, 06:41:01 PM »
This is my first post here, so thank you all in advance for your help =)

My fiance is an avid language learner (he is studying five languages at university now, and a few more on his own!) and he has a tendency to try to speak to me in those other languages. Now, I understand that he needs to practice actually speaking the languages to get really good, and I really don't want to discourage him because languages are really his passion and I think it's really cool that he's so good at them, but sometimes it can get really frustrating when I need information from him and he insists on giving it to me in a language I don't speak! If I ask him he will always repeat it in English or German (which I do speak), of course, but it gets really old to have to ask him to do so every time. is there a way I can politely ask him to interact with me in a language I understand without sounding like I'm not supportive of his studies?

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 06:56:25 PM »
"Honey, I love your linguistic abilities, and you know I support your studies one hundred percent.  But it can be very frustrating to try to communicate with someone who's speaking in a language I don't understand, and doubly so when it's someone I care about doing ti deliberately.  I'd appreciate it if you could limit your conversation with me to languages I can actually converse in."

Also, asking him how to say different things int he language he's studying is educational and fun.
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Venus193

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 07:05:14 PM »
I agree with Traska and let me say that I wish I could study five languages at once!

Lindee

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 07:13:47 PM »
I don't see that asking him to speak in an understandable language is being unsupportive  of his language studies.  Since you have already asked him several times and he's ignoring you in favour of being a show off, all he would get from me is a blank look while I wait for him to answer like a normal person. If the question isn't a vital one perhaps you could just assume an answer.  Ok, Pizza it is then, are you sure you wanted extra anchovies?  Yes my mother would love to join us. etc, that might make him answer you properly next time.

aiki

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 07:18:43 PM »
I don't see that asking him to speak in an understandable language is being unsupportive  of his language studies.  Since you have already asked him several times and he's ignoring you in favour of being a show off, all he would get from me is a blank look while I wait for him to answer like a normal person. If the question isn't a vital one perhaps you could just assume an answer.  Ok, Pizza it is then, are you sure you wanted extra anchovies?  Yes my mother would love to join us. etc, that might make him answer you properly next time.

Yeah, this. Assume he's given you the answer that suits you best. If it annoys him at the same time, so much the better.
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Starchasm

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 08:35:12 PM »
I don't see that asking him to speak in an understandable language is being unsupportive  of his language studies.  Since you have already asked him several times and he's ignoring you in favour of being a show off, all he would get from me is a blank look while I wait for him to answer like a normal person. If the question isn't a vital one perhaps you could just assume an answer.  Ok, Pizza it is then, are you sure you wanted extra anchovies?  Yes my mother would love to join us. etc, that might make him answer you properly next time.

That's what I would do too.  Just stare at him until he gives me an answer I understand.  Why would it be unsupportive?  He's the one who's refusing to answer.

apple

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 08:39:40 PM »
I would find it very irritating. And I don't see how it's helping him practice speaking a language, when he has no one there who can speak it back. What kind of practice is that? He might as well practice by himself (which, in fact, is what he's doing).

I would tell him "Honey, if you want a reply, speak to me in a language I can understand - the first time!".

kitchcat

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 09:04:53 PM »
Does he have a Skype account? I'm pretty sure they have a search function that allows you to search for people by language and for people in "skype me" mode, which means they welcome contact from people they do not know. I used to use to find people to practice foreign languages with ( they help me with foreign language, I help them with English.) Maybe you can suggest he make a few study buddies to practice with.
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 11:26:08 PM »
Hmm... learn a sixth language, then when he speaks to you in one of the 5 languages he is learning, you can reply to him in that 6th language!  ;D

Seriously though, I don't think you're rude for requesting that he talks to you in a language you can understand.

Grape

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 06:20:53 AM »
One thing you could do is set a specific time, say dinner on Tuesday is x language say and you will try to pick up a few phrases that he teaches you during that time. The rest of the time is a language you can both understand.

I was just thinking the other day of characters in books with "classical" educations that spoke multiple languages where they would speak a different language at home each day of the week. Or dinner each night was a different language. This seems like such a great idea for people who want to practice several languages. Of course, you would have to each want to participate! It would be pretty fruitless if only one person wanted to do this.

Cami

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 09:58:25 AM »
Why in the world would he think you can respond to him when he's using a language you do not speak?  I simply do not understand why anyone would do such a thing.

Why in the world would he think it's acceptable to do so? It's quite rude to speak a language to someone who does not understand it and even more rude to do so when they've asked you a question to which they need an answer. Talk about unsupportive -- of basic human interaction.

Beyond the rudeness, is the utter lack of efficacy of such a practice. What would be the point? Hearing the sound of his own voice speaking another language? He can do that on his own time when someone isn't needing information from him.


Yvaine

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 10:11:38 AM »
Why in the world would he think you can respond to him when he's using a language you do not speak?  I simply do not understand why anyone would do such a thing.

Why in the world would he think it's acceptable to do so? It's quite rude to speak a language to someone who does not understand it and even more rude to do so when they've asked you a question to which they need an answer. Talk about unsupportive -- of basic human interaction.

Beyond the rudeness, is the utter lack of efficacy of such a practice. What would be the point? Hearing the sound of his own voice speaking another language? He can do that on his own time when someone isn't needing information from him.

As someone mentioned above, he's being a show-off. I had an ex who did this all the time.

Betelnut

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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 10:13:48 AM »
I think it is passive agressive of him to do this.  Please try to talk to him about how frustrating it is for you.  You are not being unsupportive at all.  He is being a jerk.
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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 10:35:50 AM »
Why in the world would he think you can respond to him when he's using a language you do not speak?  I simply do not understand why anyone would do such a thing.

There are three reasons I can think of, and the OP's reaction should vary depending on which one it is.

(1) He's so involved in the language that he actually doesn't realize he's speaking it. This is innocent, and should be responded to with a gentle, "Try that again in English, darling."

(2) He thinks its a genuine joke. If it was funny the first time, it's even funnier the hundredth time, right? This needs a straight talk - "Dude, it's not funny, it's really annoying, in a sort of water-torture way. Could you, as a favour to me, not do it any more?"

(3) He does it to make the OP feel less educated or intelligent - "Hey, I can speak this language and you can't. See how much smarter I am than you?" As someone said, he's showing off, and at her expense. This is a very bad sign. If my S/O started complaining that I wasn't "supportive" when he answers me in a language I cannot understand, I'd be reevaluating how supportive he was of me, because this is very disrespectful.
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Re: Fiance speaking in a different language?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 10:46:36 AM »
Personally I wouldn't put up with this.  This, to me, would be dealbreaker.

Your boyfriend should perhaps take a communications class somewhere in his language studies, because while he can speak several languages, he apparently cannot communicate effectively in any. 

Communication is about getting someone information is a way they can understand.  A good communicator adjusts themselves and their own methods to adjust to their audience - with a small child its about using age appropriate language, with someone hard of hearing its about adjusting volume, with a deaf person its about writing or gesturing, and when it comes to language its about speaking as best one can in the language the person they are speaking to understands.