Foreign Language

by Gloria Corrigan

At a holiday gathering in my home I was having a small private conversation with my (immigrant, 90yr old) stepfather, explaining something to him that he didn't understand.

I used his native language because

1) it was the easiest way to ensure he could understand my explanation and

2) it is the language he and I always speak with each other.

My sister and her daughter were offended that we were not speaking English and loudly called out "are you saying something that you dont want everyone else to understand?"

Which is more rude? My speaking a foreign language to my step-father or her "calling us out" for doing so?

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Feb 24, 2010
Foreign Language
by: Marie Francesca

My husband reverts to his native tongue. He thinks in his native language, so it's natural for him to slip into it. Also, he knows all the nuances of the words so he can express himself exactly.
While I believe etiquette would say one should speak in the language that everyone understands, I sometimes speak in my husband's native tongue to him to clarify something or -- honestly -- if I am saying something I don't want others to understand, rude as that may be.
You may have said to the others, do you mind if I speak in _____ so my grandfather could better understand _____? That way, you are considering the other peoples' feelings but still able to help your grandfather understand

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