Author Topic: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?  (Read 5323 times)

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ddawn23

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Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« on: October 05, 2012, 06:15:14 PM »
I have a reputation, earned in childhood, as a person who corrects others.  It's a character flaw that I'm quite ashamed of.  I've spent years working on it and I'd like to think that I've got it under control, but the reputation remains.

I speak French fluently.  Fifteen months ago my brother Al was hired by a French company and moved to France.  He'd never taken a language class and spoke hardly a word of French, but has been working hard at it and has shown great progress.  Al and I do not have a great relationship, so I originally declined our parents' invitation for me to go with them to visit him earlier this year, but relented when Al personally invited me.  The trip was in May and was a resounding success.  Because of our history I made a concerted effort to not take up too much of our parents' attention or speak for us with natives unless he asked for assistance.  Because of our history and my correction habit I made a point of not acting like Little Miss French Teacher.  I was actually quite impressed with his progress and told him that his French is way better than he thinks it is, which is true.  However, there were two specific mistakes he made repeatedly that I now wish I had told him about.

Other than to say 'hello' when he is Skyping with my parents I haven't spoken to Al since May, but he's coming to stay with us this month.  Should I go ahead and tell him about the two errors he was making, or should I let it go?

demarco

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 06:21:48 PM »
Why would you correct him  if you are trying to overcome a reputation as a corrector? Let it go.  Sending else can straighten him out if it's important enough. 

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 06:50:09 PM »
Maybe you can model the correct thing while speaking, instead of correcting him on the spot.
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MrsJWine

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 06:58:45 PM »
Chances are that he'll have corrected his mistakes sometimes in the last five months, if they're important. Even if he hasn't, I think the happier relationship with your brother is probably worth keeping it to yourself. Unless he's accidentally propositioning business associates or telling everyone something embarrassing about his anatomy, it's really not worth it.


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ddawn23

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 07:00:30 PM »
Why would you correct him  if you are trying to overcome a reputation as a corrector? Let it go.  Sending else can straighten him out if it's important enough.
Because it's embarrassing to find out you've been doing something like that repeatedly and in public, and that everyone knew about it, but no one told you.  I regret not telling him at the time.  It's like if you go to dinner and then to a party, and you get home to find you have lettuce stuck in your teeth.  To me having had lettuce stuck in your teeth is way less embarrassing than the thought that it was there at the party and everyone knew it, and nobody said anything to you about it.  I would much rather somebody tell me halfway through the party than not at all.  So are we halfway through the party, or is it a week later?

It also occurs to me that somebody else might have told him in the interim.

O'Dell

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 07:01:38 PM »
It was fifteen months ago? If they were serious errors then I'd imagine they were already corrected and there is no need for you to mention it. Or he still makes them because they are trivial and no one else thinks they are worth correcting.

IOW, leave it alone. This isn't about his errors now...it's about you lapsing back into the correcting behavior. Acknowledge that temptation, resist it, and give yourself a pat on the back when you do.
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ddawn23

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 07:04:09 PM »
It was fifteen months ago?
It was five months ago, but point definitely taken.  And I do realize five months is a long time, especially since he's only been over there for fifteen.

rose red

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 07:09:47 PM »
If it's been five months, let it go.  Telling him now will do more harm than good.

Danika

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 07:12:46 PM »
I definitely would not mention it to him unless he asks. I speak several languages, and when I get annoyed with myself for speaking imperfectly (for example, I grew up speaking French and I'm roughest on myself for making mistakes in that language) I remind myself that the point of speaking a foreign language is to communicate. If my grammar is off, as long as I'm not offending anyone, it shouldn't matter if it's broken French or very butchered German.

Don't correct him, but you could always model the correct way to speak if you hear him, and he's talking to you and you're not embarrassing him in front of others. For example, if my 4-year-old says to me "I breaked my toy" I will reply "you broke your toy?" but I won't tell her "you should say 'broke' instead of 'breaked.'" Remind yourself that it's a higher priority to maintain a decent relationship with your brother, preserve his feelings and avoid embarrassing him than to make sure he speaks correctly.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 07:42:50 PM »
I wouldn't.  I used to not be willing to use French because I thought my accent poor and I knew I'd make grammar errors.  Then I realized how often I listen to people speaking English with a horrible accent and many grammar errors. I mean when was the last time you heard someone who grew up in say Argentina speak English like a US, British, or Canadian native.   I never felt the desire to laugh at them or correct them.  So why should i assume the French are less cordial?

dharmaexpress

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 07:55:48 PM »
I have a "friend" who does this frequently, and it just ruins any affection I develop for her.  She does it for awhile, then stops, then starts up again.  I avoid her like the plague.

What I try to do is model the right way back to someone, once, and not immediately after they do it or say it wrong.  Maybe a few minutes or even hours later.  I'm in a field where pronunciation is something of a hot issue and we say the way the pronounce Latin is confidently; it's a dead language, but that won't keep people from correcting one another or over-modeling their own pronunciation or what have you.

IMO, correcting other people without their asking for input is so gauche, I absolutely won't do it unless it's a safety issue or an emergency (eg., IT'S 9-1-1, NOT 5-1-1!!!).

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 08:15:09 PM »
As a fellow corrector in remission, I'd let it go. It's not a hill to die on.
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To whom you speak,
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ddawn23

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 08:20:07 PM »
Awesome.  I knew you guys were right, but I still wondered.  Totally going to keep my mouth shut.  Thank you for keeping me from being the know-it-all little sister.

SPuck

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 08:46:14 AM »
I'd say if you could give the correct information organically and the moment go for it, but a five month period in between the mistake and the correction is just going to look bad on you.

Pen^2

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Re: Is there a statute of limitations on correcting someone?
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2012, 08:54:53 AM »
Chances are that he'll have corrected his mistakes sometimes in the last five months, if they're important. Even if he hasn't, I think the happier relationship with your brother is probably worth keeping it to yourself. Unless he's accidentally propositioning business associates or telling everyone something embarrassing about his anatomy, it's really not worth it.

This completely. It really doesn't matter. Yes, it might be a minor embarrassment for him later, but that isn't worth damaging your relationship. If you must, use the correct way of saying whatever he has wrong in front of him (not as a teacher type thing, just innocently in some other context, like in a phone call to a French-speaking friend) to help him pick it up. If he does, great! If not, don't worry about it. Don't force it. And it's been 5 months; hopefully he's worked it out now anyway.