QOTW- Using other language in public?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
QOTW- Using other language in public?
13
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 8:52am
Are you ever uncomfortable using your non-community language in public? Have you ever received rude comments, glances, etc from others when speaking to your child(ren) in your non-community language?
Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
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Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 8:54am
I'm comfortable speaking German in public, as much as I'm comfortable speaking German lol (I'm not fluent yet). Actually the only experience I've ever had with someone being rude about my use of German was my mom; last Christmas, every time I said something in German to my son, my grandma (who didn't learn a word of English til she started kindergarten) beamed and my mom glared.
Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
Sunday night from 9-11pm EST in the Homeschooling Chatroom or join PST people from 9-11pm PST.


Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2004
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 4:23pm

I speak English exclusively with the boys. We often get strange looks etc. because of that. My father is not too pleased about it as he doesn't understand English at all. However, it is very important to me that the boys be fluent in English so we just hang in there.


Siggy I-village

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2004
Tue, 08-12-2008 - 5:03am

Well baby isn't quite here yet but I know some people do look at us when we speak English. Not very often though, since there is a big University here English is not completely uncommon as a 2nd language here. I hear English as much as I hear Russian so it is interesting to hear other languages on a daily basis.


I know my MIL gets upset when my DH speaks a lot of English in front of her because she can't understand. Not because it is English but she doesn't understand....I really need to get working on my German. I guess that is what I should do in these last days, weeks of my pregnancy as I am bored as all!!!


I will most likely speak both languages with her, so I am sure I will get looks from people. I normally don't speak English in public if I am alone. I only speak it with other people around me, and when I am out shopping and such I always try to speak German. Even if they switch to English because of my accent I continue with German.


I am interested to see how our vacation in the US will be next year. I am sure if there are people around I don't want to understand what we are talking about I will switch into German. I will be interested to see what the comments or looks will be like. I know both languages will be used because my DH will speak to her in German, so it could be interesting on our little vacation. :)

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Lilypie Zweiter Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Wed, 08-13-2008 - 7:18am

That's too bad your father isn't pleased about it; my partner didn't know much more than 1-10 in German before I started working toward OPOL, but he's picked up quite a few words.


but yes, I relate on the importance. My grandmother came to the US when she was 3, didn't really learn any English until she got to kindergarten. Of my dad and his 3 siblings, only one of them still speak German and that in part because that uncle got to go to Germany for awhile in the army when he was younger. Although, now in his 50s, he works hard to keep his German. My grandma is finally starting to work to refresh hers, now that she sees my son and I working so hard.


I wonder if we'll get more weird looks once/as my fluency improves; right now, about half the time I have the German word to use so my sentences are this amusing hodge podge of German and English

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
Sunday night from 9-11pm EST in the Homeschooling Chatroom or join PST people from 9-11pm PST.


Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Wed, 08-13-2008 - 7:27am

That must be lovely to be near a university. In my town there's 3 community colleges, plus we have a lot of scientists here because of Dow Chemical and Dow Corning. I'm sure the looks on language could we worse if we lived in a different area of Michigan.


well maybe working on your German would be a good idea. I get irritated about people getting irritated sometimes though. My partner assumes when there's German in a sentence of mine that the content of the sentence isn't at all directed at him. I guess he's gotten to realize that, except for a word now and again, I have no problem switching over entirely into English if I'm talking to him or including him in a conversation. I wish more people dealt with language like my partner; he even puts up with my Rammstein dvds with no complaint lol.


But do you have like a local library with a social group you could go to to work on your German? Or do they have things like *literacy councils* in Germany? I'm an ESL tutor through my local literacy council and I just love it. My last student, her first language was Japanese, and she was learning some German from a good friend; with Finn often at our sessions, there was usually a mixture of Japanese, English, and German constantly. It must have been interesting to listen to us speak :D


lol I've heard about Germans being bad about that, switching to English if they hear your accent. That's great you keep going with German, even if you make the switch.


wow, have fun on your vacation. That will be interesting. What part of the US are you going to? Remember, there are still parts of the country were German is used a lot. I love going to Amish settlements and overhearing the German, although I'm not sure what dialect they speak.

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
Sunday night from 9-11pm EST in the Homeschooling Chatroom or join PST people from 9-11pm PST.


Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Thu, 08-14-2008 - 12:57pm

Hi Joelle!


As you probably remember, we are trilingual (English-German-Russian). We live in the Silicon Valley where at least 50% of inhabitants are immigrants and at least bilingual. So we have no problem speaking a minority language with Anna in public, and we never had any problems except people wanting to know what language we speak.



annasig2_June.jpg picture by MightyMouseAnna


Thank you, Angie (iv_angel8199),

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 08-15-2008 - 8:48am
Hey Anna. Good to see you. Is that a new picture of Natalie?
Yes, living in such a multicultural area must be nice. I was happy to see a new Asian family move into my apartment building. I didn't see more than a glimpse of the mother and she wasn't dressed in a way to immediately let me know what country the family is from, but it always heartens me to see an immigrant family move into my building.
Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
Sunday night from 9-11pm EST in the Homeschooling Chatroom or join PST people from 9-11pm PST.


Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Fri, 08-15-2008 - 4:39pm
This is a very good question. I don't know if it's because I grew in up in an area with very few Haitians at the time, I have always felt self-conscious speaking it in public. Now living in South Florida where there are plenty, my fear is less that I will have people look at me funny and more that an unexpected person might understand what I'm trying to say to my daughter (when I don't want them to, of course). I do try to do it more often and of course I also try and speak French with her.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2004
Sat, 08-16-2008 - 9:20pm
I don't have any children yet, so I'm probably feeling different than how I would, once a mother.

But for now, for me, it just depends. I don't mind if others are speaking another language, especially to their young children. But in some circumstances, it does bug me a bit. For ex, in a group of bilingual group of friends, who all speak English well, it bothers me that some keep talking in their native language, forcing the others -who might be too shy or not fluent enough- to do so with them.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Sun, 08-17-2008 - 6:33am

That used to bother me a lot, especially when I was barely getting the hang of German. As some point, however, I realized that it really wasn't deliberate and that it can be extremely difficult to switch to a different language with someone with whom one normally speaks one language. For example, I exclusively speak German with a couple of friends. We have always spoken German with each other. When we are around people who can't speak German, we switch to English, but it feels extremely awkward and we really struggle to communicate in our "normal" way. It's like trying to put on shoes that are three sizes too small, even though English is my native language. Often when the English speaker goes somewhere else for a few minutes, we immediately switch back to German just to feel a bit more comfortable again. I've encountered the same thing with Swedish friends, even though they tend to be very fluent in English. With some Swedish friends, I find it nearly impossible to switch to English when non-Swedish speakers are around.

I think it may be a matter of practice with a particular person. Dh and I have always only spoken English with each other, but after many years of socializing with German-speaking only friends, we are now comfortable enough to keep up with long conversations in German with each other.

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