Different languages/cultures

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Nobita, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Nobita macrumors 6502

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    #1
    So I went to uni where there are people from other countries who speaks various languages. I also live in a city which is very multicultural – hence I occasionally went out with people from other cultures. I like this and don't mind this at all.

    However there are some times where I have to go out on a dinner with other say 5 or 6 people, who speaks language that I cannot speak. Most of the time, I get ignored pretty easily because they talk in their own language. This weekend they are inviting me to a dinner again, I don't really mind them but it's just that I know I won't be able to understand much and talk much in that dinner... Wouldn't I be better off having dinner at my own or with my family at home? I don't want them to feel like disappointed, but it's just not very fun when you don't understand what is happening in the dinner table... So what do you guys think I should do?
     
  2. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Find new friends...if they are that rude I wouldn't want to hang out with them.
     
  3. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

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    #3
    I would explain the situation to your friends.
     
  4. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #4
    If they can speak english and choose to leave you out of the conversation by speaking another language then that is just plain rude. I would explain it as such to whoever has invited you.
     
  5. Nobita thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Yes, they do speak english very well! I do speak english with them when I talk one-on-one! I just don't know how to raise it up.. Can I just casually say (when they're talking in chinese): "Guys, I don't want this to be weird, but I do want to talk to you and can you all speak english so I can understand what we are talking about?". Is that okay?
     
  6. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #6
    Hi you

    I am used to this kind of situation as I have been living abroad a long time and met people from all around the world.

    What I can say is you are right. It's their fault. Man has to speak the language everybody speaks. This is named being polite.

    Sometimes when I meet with my french mates it happens there is only one non French speaking guy. Doesn't matter we all speak English.

    IMHO if I were you I wouldn't go. They have to understand.
     
  7. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I wouldn't even be that pandering. It's not weird of you to expect common courtesy. I would ask them to speak English as you cannot understand and it is uncomfortable. If they refuse or act put out by it you know they are not nice people. A lot of people do that to have a "code" too...they can say anything and think people cannot understand. People say some rude things when they believe you cannot understand...funny to see their faces when you give it up that you can ;)
     
  8. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #8
    That sounds like a perfectly nice way to bring it up. You make it clear that you really want to listen to what they have to say, and that's a compliment of sorts.

    If you're in a group and there's only one language everyone speaks, it's rude not to use that language.

    They may not even have realised that they slip into Chinese, since it's so natural for them. And if they don't like that you brought it up, then find nicer people to eat with. :p
     
  9. Nobita thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Okay thanks for the views guys.. I'll try to bring that up the next time I'm in that situation.
     
  10. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #10
    Yeah definitely they should be doing that. Maybe from a face-saving perspective you shouldn't bring it up in front of them, but bring it up individually with them separately.
     
  11. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #11
    No doubt. This is what you have to say. I did it millions of times. However you will notice that they are always less fluent/talkative/comfortable than in their native language. But that's the game when you live abroad.
     
  12. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #12
    Either bring it up like this or politely decline the invitation. No sense in going if you are not going to have a good time.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    I'd bring it up with them too. If they're not meaning to offend, they will either switch to English, or assist you when speaking Chinese is unavoidable (perhaps one of their friends speaks poor English, and doesn't understand enough to be a part of the conversation otherwise?)

    Totally off topic, but this is exactly what my wife does. She's a white-as-a-piece-of-paper teacher at a predominantly Hispanic school, and every term she gets some smartass kids who think they can get away with saying horrible things in Spanish around the "gringos". She pretends not to understand for a week or so, until the kids really hang themselves. Then after a particularly egregious comment, she responds. She enjoys watching the wheels spin as they frantically try to remember all the crazy **** they've said in front of her. Then it's off to the ass prin's office with them... :D
     
  14. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    #14
    That really is just beautiful.

    Good luck, OP.
     
  15. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #15
    According to most on macrumors its not rude to speak a language someone else doesn't understand in front of them.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #16
    There is a difference between the two situations in the former the hotel cleaners aren't talking to you, whereas in this case they are involving this guy in a social situation.
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #17
    Nice way of doing things. Kudos to your wife. :D

    When I lived in Korea, I would do similar. I would go out to a coffee shop and sit near some Korean ladies my age. They would assume I spoke no Korean and I played the roll when the waitress would come around to take the order.

    Then after enjoying dinner and listing to their gossip, many times about me, before I got up and left I would say something to the effect that I enjoyed their conversation and really don't think I have big ears or whatever they commented on. The expressions on their face was priceless.

    Here in Japan I assume all Japanese speak English. It's the safe way. :)

    As for the OP, it is common when you are with a group who's native language is different from your own for them to drop in to their language because it is easier and more comfortable for them. Many times they do this subconsciously and not on purpose. The way to find out, is simply say something like that sounds interesting but I really can't follow your conversation in Chinese. Would you mind speaking in English. Or something like that.

    At this point you will find out quickly what type of people they are. If they apologize and change to English -- Keepers. If they act offended -- find new friends.

    Sometimes I am out with my Japanese friends, and they ask if they can drop into Japanese for a moment. They do, then return to English and explain what they discussed. It's all about courtesy and respect for the other person. Of course it's up to you to learn a little Chinese as that is polite as well. Plus when you make mistakes in Chinese you can always have a group laugh.

    Just some advise. YMMV.
     

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