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LOTE in public?
Languages other than English


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#1 dlee

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:09 PM

Today when my partner and I were out with our mothers and his grandmother at some church luncheon for St Patrick's Day. They had singers between the servings and, rather than speak out loud and disturb those at our table, we signed our opinions to each other. As I'm in my 2nd year of studying Auslan at uni, my partner has picked up quite a bit of it because I'll sometimes sign at the same time I'm speaking for practice. At the very least, he knows enough to understand when I'm saying someone's voice is lovely or that I like their clothes, song choice, whatever.

I didn't think it was too distracting and were trying to be as discrete as if we were whispering in English but between singers, his grandmother leaned over to say, "Are you signing or just being ridiculous? I think you're being rude!" She later explained that she didn't know it was a legitimate language but it made me wonder how other people feel about languages other than English being used in public when the majority of people only speak one language.

So what do you think EB, should people stick to English when only a select few will understand or is it okay to speak another language when they're out in public?

#2 Expelliarmus

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:14 PM

I think the idea that if you don't use English in public you are being rude is an old fashioned one.

#3 Dionysus

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:17 PM

I hate when I am in a conversation, in English, with one or more ppl who speak another language, and they start having their own side conversation, effectively excluding me from a conversation of which I was initially a part.

However, if I am not part of their conversation at all, they can speak in whatever language they please.

As for signing being innappropriate and rude - hmm, try telling a deaf person that, I guess.  Then grandma would get an answer!

#4 Let_it_Rain

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:19 PM

I think it is rude when you are in a group to communicate in a language that some or most of the group can not understand.

If it was just the two of you in a crowd of randoms I wouldn't have an issue.

#5 Procrastinator5000

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:20 PM

It's okay to speak another language when out in public.

The exception is when there is someone actually with you, who is meant to be included in the conversation, and you're leaving them out because they can't understand.

Having said that, you were potentially being rude by having a conversation during the singing performance. Just because it's not an audible conversation, if the polite thing was to listen, and give them your attention, then to speak to each other during the performance could be interpreted as rude. That's probably what the woman was taking offence at.

#6 Guest_BessMarvin_*

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:21 PM

..

Edited by BessMarvin, 12 April 2012 - 07:54 PM.


#7 Imaginary friend

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:23 PM

QUOTE
but it made me wonder how other people feel about languages other than English being used in public when the majority of people only speak one language.



If you were with someone in anotherr country, say, France where majority of people only spoke French and you have a very basic knowledge of French only - would you try to speak to your partner in French or in your mother tongue English.

I know  I would use English in that situation so I think it is just as reasonable for other people to speak whatever language they are most comfortable in/proficient at. smile1.gif

#8 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:24 PM

QUOTE (WinterDancesHere @ 17/03/2012, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it is rude when you are in a group to communicate in a language that some or most of the group can not understand.

If it was just the two of you in a crowd of randoms I wouldn't have an issue.


Absolutely this.  The language is not rude, but exclusion is.  

That said, I'd make some allowance for people whose English is poor and who might struggle to understand or contribute to an English conversation.

#9 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:24 PM

I'm not racist but...

#10 Julie3Girls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:25 PM

QUOTE
So what do you think EB, should people stick to English when only a select few will understand or is it okay to speak another language when they're out in public?

No problem at all with people speaking another language when out in public.

However, sitting at a table with other people (who you are actually with), and speaking in a language they don't understand, yes, I think that is a bit rude.
Also from the point of view that you were talking/signing during a performance - you might have been a bit distracting to other people at your table, and really, it is polite to give your attention to the singers, not have a conversation.

#11 HRH Countrymel

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:25 PM

I think if you are a native English speaker surrounded by other native English speakers and you deliberately switch to a different language that can definitely be construed as rude.

Rightly or wrongly the people in your immediate vicinity will assume you have done so to speak about them.
It is like people obviously whispering at length. It makes the people i their company start to wonder what it is they can't say out loud.



I can remember being in a group of Danes when I was travelling in Italy - there were about 15 people of whom only two (my friend and I) spoke English as their first language. Everyone spoke English all night, to us (obviously) but also to each other - when we said there was really no need, (as we felt like we were putting everyone out, and as we all got drunker I imagined it was getting more and more difficult too!) they insisted. To do otherwise would be 'Extremely rude' according to them.

#12 Sweet like a lemon

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:26 PM

Doesn't bother me; where I grew up it would be thought of as odd if you only understood one language.


#13 LynnyP

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:27 PM

Unlike the vast, vast majority of the people who think it is rude if the people in the post office speak to each other in their own language (after all they are in Australia now and should speak English) I have actually lived in another country where I had to speak another language.  It is exhausting.  When I was with other English speakers we would speak English.

#14 bakesgirls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:33 PM

I think it's rude if it's used in a way to exclude others in your group,workplace etc, who don't speak that language. In a group of randoms? No worries.

#15 Iliketoflounce

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:42 PM

As someone who uses Auslan alot due to hearing loss it can sometimes be the only way to communicate. DH and I both speak a bit of Spanish. I think LOTE should be used in the correct setting or if you don't want other people to know u are arguing.

#16 IsolaBella

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:42 PM

QUOTE
I think if you are a native English speaker surrounded by other native English speakers and you deliberately switch to a different language that can definitely be construed as rude.

Rightly or wrongly the people in your immediate vicinity will assume you have done so to speak about them.
It is like people obviously whispering at length. It makes the people i their company start to wonder what it is they can't say out loud.


I will agree with this.

I envy SIL who switches to German to tell her kids off in front of me (I wish I had that ability LOL!!!). When I travel I am on the other side... the token English speaker who people try and include (as they all speak English) but often they will lapse into their native German/Dutch (SIL also speaks Dutch). That doesn't bother me as I am the interloper who does not speak the local language.



#17 BunnyBob

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:44 PM

If you're in a group, you speak the dominant language of that group. That's polite and includes everyone. Two people in a group who then veer off and talk in a language that others don't understand is rude.

And I say this as a family that speaks three languages.

#18 Cherubs

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:20 PM

My DH is South African, he speaks Afrikaans, his family switch to Afrikaans sometimes, it doesn't bother me.

Funniest thing my DH has told me, he was on a train and a Dutch family where sitting across from him , the children where speaking about him in Dutch (DH is quite olive)), their father told them off, DH didn't say anything, until he got off he said 'Goodbye, don't judge a book by it's cover.' in Afrikaans with a wink, he said the Kids looked gobsmacked and the father roared with laughter LOL.

#19 little lion

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:33 PM

I think people have a tendency to default to their native language. E.g. When discussing technical/legal/medical things, when they are angry or upset, or when they are tired or sick. I married into a family who don't speak English together as it is their third language. Sometimes they speak to me in English, but mostly I spent years being immersed in their two first languages. This helped me pick up their language greatly, so I don't think it is rude in all situations.


Slightly off topic but I think it is more rude that people marry into families where another language is spoken, and they have no desire to learn that language.

#20 BentoBaby

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:46 PM

QUOTE (dlee @ 17/03/2012, 05:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She later explained that she didn't know it was a legitimate language...


Nice! Cause the many members of the Deaf community have just been using made up mombo jumbo to communicate right?

Personally I find it uncomfortable/rude when 2 people deliberately communicate using another language (be it oral or sign) in an otherwise joint occasion (e.g. at a dinner table). Mostly because it seems like they are talking behind your back. I understand you were doing it not to disrupt but many people would assume that you were saying things you didn't want others at the table to be privy to (which is rude and should be done in private).

I can see why your grandmother took issue with it in the context. In a different context (e.g. not a joint dining situation) I don't see the issue.


#21 BentoBaby

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE (njs4dks @ 17/03/2012, 05:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As someone who uses Auslan alot due to hearing loss it can sometimes be the only way to communicate. DH and I both speak a bit of Spanish. I think LOTE should be used in the correct setting or if you don't want other people to know u are arguing.


Trust me, arguing in Auslan in very obvious wink.gif hehe

#22 HRH Countrymel

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:53 PM

QUOTE (Cherubs @ 17/03/2012, 06:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Funniest thing my DH has told me, he was on a train and a Dutch family where sitting across from him , the children where speaking about him in Dutch (DH is quite olive)), their father told them off, DH didn't say anything, until he got off he said 'Goodbye, don't judge a book by it's cover.' in Afrikaans with a wink, he said the Kids looked gobsmacked and the father roared with laughter LOL.


A dutch friend of mine had a fabulously embarrassing story.

She and her friend were standing in a queue in Hong Kong surrounded by 'people of SE Asian appearance' they were having a long and sordid conversation about the sexual shenanigans one of them had got up to the previous night.

As she said "Speaking Dutch is like speaking a secret language - No One learns Dutch! The only people who speak Dutch, are Dutch.. and there are only 3 million of us! You can safely speak Dutch wherever you want, about whatever you want.. no-one can understand you."

They were waiting and chatting for about half an hour (they were at an office building) - finally the doors opened and the gentleman ahead of them, immaculately dressed in a suit turned to them and said in perfect, un accented Dutch "Would you ladies like to go before me? I fear you (with a nod toward the story teller) must be very tired, on so very little sleep..."

My friend said it was hilarious! Her companion lit up the Hong Kong skyline with the depth of her blush!

The gentleman in question was a Cambodian who had lived in Rotterdam for the last 20 years!

#23 Polly Esther

Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:55 PM

If people are performing, I think it's kinda rude to be talking... even if you're just signing to each other, it's still communicating. A quick word when you have to is fine, but otherwise, I think maybe that's what your grandmother was getting at? The fact you were communicating rather than being respectful and paying attention?

Regardless, if I went to another non-English speaking country, I would be speaking English in public. Why? Because it's the only language I speak. Even if I spoke part of some other language, I'd probably speak English to an English-speaking person with me, because it's easier for us both to say and understand. For that reason, I have no issues with people speaking other languages in public. You do what works for you.

In a group though, where there are 2 languages (at least), I'd be speaking the one that the majority spoke or could understand. Otherwise, it's as rude as whispering to a select few in front of others.

#24 Canberra Chick

Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:09 PM

I'm with the majority here - if you're not in a mixed group, you can speak what you like. Whether that's in the post office or at the shops/whatever. DH and I will lapse into riffing off in Scots when we're out on our own. Fit ye dain' quine? Ah dinnae ken...

But if you're in a group, then everyone needs to speak the same language so no-one is excluded.

#25 IsolaBella

Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:14 PM

To PP who spoke about Dutch being spoken, being in Paris and speaking English I was very aware of some wry smiles held back at my kids antics at times. I never assume we are not understood.

Edited by lsolaBella, 17 March 2012 - 07:16 PM.





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