HomeQ&AIs Speaking Spanish Rude?

Is Speaking Spanish Rude?

7
votes

I'm interested in a certificate in Workplace Spanish so I googled that phrase. I found this discussion and loved the irony - check out the Google Ads above and below this first post. alt text

The discussion involved a bunch of people whining when co-workers or any nearby people speak in a language the whiners don't understand. Apparently it's rude to deprive people of the chance to eavesdrop.

9380 views
updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by jaysprout

18 Answers

11
votes

I was in an elevator in Holland with a colleague. Both of us were speaking English. A very tall lady (and I mean tall) got in. Thinking that she was Dutch, I switched to Spanish and said to my colleague " para darle un beso necesitaria una escalera" (to kiss her you would need a ladder). We carried on talking between us in Spanish. A minute later the elevator stopped and as the lady walked out, she said in Spanish: "Por qué una escalera? Podríamos colocar en el piso para besar." (Why would you need a ladder? We could lay on the floor and kiss).

updated JUL 16, 2015
posted by 00515f39
Busted! Did you take her up on her offer? - jrey0474, NOV 6, 2009
Thats hilarious! rofl - cheeseisyummy, NOV 6, 2009
I am in love with her just for saying that! - jaysprout, NOV 6, 2009
Now that's a funny story! - Izanoni1, NOV 6, 2009
¡Qué graciosa! (la mujer). - samdie, NOV 6, 2009
That's hysterical! - Goyo, NOV 6, 2009
5
votes

Hmm, I would say that it depends on context. My mother used to tell me that whispering in front of others was rude. I suppose speaking in another language could be construed as rude if it were an attempt to isolate or ignore certain coworkers. I imagine there are elements of the group dynamic that we're not seeing here. Maybe these people wouldn't get along even if they were speaking the same language.

updated JUL 16, 2015
posted by jacob4408
I agree context is important. - cheeseisyummy, NOV 6, 2009
4
votes

Where I live most people speak english or french....so when someone speaks french....and someone else doesn't...we switch....to english...its more polite and we want the other person to be part of the discussion...not being excluded....so I think any other languages should be the same...if possible.....

updated JUL 16, 2015
posted by Daniel-Boucher
3
votes

I didn't mean to actually start a discussion about the level or lack of rudeness - I just thought it rather wonderful that these people are complaining about Spanish speakers and having their posts surrounded by advertisements offering ways to learn Spanish.

Yes, of course the ads are resulting from the content of the posts - just like some KKK discussion somewhere is deluged with requests for contributions to the NAACP which ... just the thought of that makes me smile as well.

updated JUL 16, 2015
posted by jaysprout
That is pretty funny! - Alicia-53, NOV 6, 2009
And I thought irony was only really appreciated in the UK :-) - Jespa, NOV 6, 2009
Now that, Jespa, is rude (or bespeaks an insular attitude/experience). - samdie, NOV 6, 2009
3
votes

It depends.

I used to work with a girl from Malasia who spoke Chinese. One time she invited me to her place for dinner. Some of her other friends were there too. Several times they launched into a fast paced discussion in Chinese. And of course, I couldn't understand a word! So I asked them to please speak English.

I didn't think of it as being rude. It just seemed like they forgot I was there. But I guess it could be considered rude if you speak so that your invited guests don't understand you.

Now, if you're just trying to eavesdrop, that's a different story!

updated JUL 16, 2015
posted by Alicia-53
2
votes

I would consider it to be rude especially if the spanish (sic) speakers were also capable of speaking and comprehending english (sic),they should wait till they are alone to have thier (sic) discussion if they dont (sic) want the english (sic) speakers to be privy to the conversation

Should they then also refrain form talking about sports (yesterday's baseball/football/basketball) game, as well, because there may be someone within earshot who is not interested is sports? Should women not discuss fashion because some passing (straight) male would feel excluded from the conversation? To what extent are we obligated to tailor our conversations so as to include (and be of interest to) everyone who may be within earshot? Does the mere fact of you're being able to hear the conversation make you a participant?

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by samdie
1
vote

There is a time and place for everything. I agree with the sentiments expressed here about context.

This reminded, though, me of a teacher I had in High School who was prone to shout: "You're in America! Speak English!" I personally find that way of thinking sad. downer

I was recently at a party where I was able to hear conversations around me in four different languages at once. It was beautiful. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I was watching a dozen artists collaborate on an painting that would take your breath away. surprised smile

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by chaparrito
Sad indeed. Why not Navajo, Souix, French, or Spanish, all of which have as much (or more) historical claim. - BobK, NOV 6, 2009
True, that! :-) - chaparrito, NOV 6, 2009
1
vote

Jay, this is an interesting discussion. I totally agree that people might get a little miffed at others for speaking in another language. I, myself, don't really care and have come to understand that if your native tongue is different than mine I should latch onto you and try to learn it. Yes, I think the differences (not only in language) should be valued. Especially if the people above were on a break or a difficult concept needed a little more attention, why not use the person's native tongue? smile Just a small thought for you. Thanks for the post. By the way, I love the use of the word whiners, we have a lot of them at the school I teach!! smile

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by Jason7R
Also "whingers" - popular in the UK - Jespa, NOV 6, 2009
1
vote

I would consider it to be rude especially if the spanish speakers were also capable of speaking and comprehending english,they should wait till they are alone to have thier discussion if they dont want the english speakers to be privy to the conversation

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by albert-fabrik-
That assumes that the only reason the employees were speaking Spanish was to keep the non-Spanish speakers in the dark. Sometimes it's just easier to fully express yourself in your native language - jrey0474, NOV 6, 2009
0
votes

You can always find somebody somewhere that think's something you are doing or saying is rude. Usually you don't have to look for very long.....

Kind of along that same line...... since I started on my quest to learn Spanish a year and 1/2 ago, I'm obviously more excited about it than my English only friends, but I would always share my new Spanish words with them. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard rude and racist comments directed at me, the southern white guy who speaks Spanish and that offended me LOL

I really don't think it has anything to do with being rude, but it's more to do with comfort, it's just so much easier to express yourself in your native tongue. My church congregation of about 200 is all Hispanic, so my wife and I are surrounded by conversations in Spanish. Certainly not rude, just more challenging for us to understand. I had no idea, but these folks are so loving and kind, what a blessing.

For what it's worth, most of our Spanish speaking friends are trying very hard to learn English.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by Jack-OBrien
0
votes

Well I don't think that speaking spanish is rude as long as you know what you are saying and how you say it so that you don't wind up offending someone that is of the spanish speaking area.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by SS3361
0
votes

What if someone - like me - is learning Spanish and wants to practice by speaking Spanish at work over lunch or over break with a native Spanish Speaker? Is that rude?

What if I want to play cards with someone in the lunch room? Should I refrain from playing lest someone who doesn't know how to play Euchre get offended?

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by jaysprout
0
votes

i dont think its rude, i mean i guess it depends por ejemplo if i were talking to you but other people were there(speaking in spanish), and we starting laughing i guess others would think we are talking about them, but overall its not rude. If the whiners were all speaking english and we didnt speak english it would be easily as rude, so no lo entiendo.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by ladominicanaloka
0
votes

I agree with jrey0474 - I think it's a matter of comfort, not being rude. I think those who are bothered by others talking in a different language are paranoid and narcissistic.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by jaysprout
0
votes

I don't think of it as rude. That just doesn't make any since to me at all. Is me speaking in English right now rude?

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by eric_collins
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