Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

General discussion about learning languages
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby Systematiker » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:59 pm

Oh, that's made me think, I do have a couple, with regard to the assumption that all the language-learning is career-connected.

"But aren't they mostly [insert worldview, religion, denomination here] anyway?"
Cause yeah, I've only got one goal.

Or: "are you going as a missionary?" (Not so common these days, but I used to get that), because I must be one-dimensional, right.

Or the assumption that my interests in other languages are one-dimensional (ok, there's some legitimacy here, I do interact with my religion across my languages, but also because it's a lower hurdle to engage with material that I know I care about and kind of know what's going on). Slightly related, when I mention authors or films in any language, I often get "but aren't you a priest??"; guess I'm not supposed to read or watch anything not religious :roll:

Oh, and the new one: "I didn't know you were Swedish" (less often Danish) (background: my faith tradition had a lot of Swedish immigration to the USA, so the connection gets assumed. It's heritage like Irish-American, though...)
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby mercutio » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:21 pm

oh I have a few which really annoy me

1) my number one that annoys me is "oh the best way to learn a language is get a girlfreind/boyfreind native speaker" this is actually completely idioitic, plenty of international couples if not the majority cany speak each others native language! also anyone in a relationship will know that its just not gonna happen, been there done that and i still had to learn on my own! your partner isnt your teache

2) you have to go to the native country and live there to learn the langauge, a five minute google search or look on youtube blows this one out the water

3)"oh just watch movies and you will autmotically assimilate it" (you really wont and you will have a heardache)

4) "just watch movies in native language with english subtitles turned on" (this wont work cos you cant read, listen in two different langauge and learn at same time all the while trying to follow the movie)

5) "spanish is easy" this one is so silly, no one says "oh swahili is easy!" yet its same hardness as spansih see the FSI rating here (Group 1: French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahil)
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby tarvos » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:21 pm

"Why don't you learn something difficult like Chinese?"

I already did, and which Chinese are you talking about, kid...
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby mercutio » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:25 pm

Random Review wrote:Slightly off topic, but I found variations on the following incredibly annoying:

Interlocutor: "How long have you been in Spain?"
Me: "Oh, 8 months this year, 9 last year and 10 in 2008, so about 27 months in total".
Interlocutor: "ah" (in tone of voice implying "ah, that's why you speak OK Spanish").
Me: "Er..." (fighting urge to say, "no, I worked bloody hard, actually. Being in the country is an advantage, but doesn't just happen effortlessly even then.")

when people heard I had a native girlfriend they assume thats how i learnt which is madness! I learnt myself! via hard work
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby Random Review » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:00 pm

mercutio wrote:
Random Review wrote:Slightly off topic, but I found variations on the following incredibly annoying:

Interlocutor: "How long have you been in Spain?"
Me: "Oh, 8 months this year, 9 last year and 10 in 2008, so about 27 months in total".
Interlocutor: "ah" (in tone of voice implying "ah, that's why you speak OK Spanish").
Me: "Er..." (fighting urge to say, "no, I worked bloody hard, actually. Being in the country is an advantage, but doesn't just happen effortlessly even then.")

when people heard I had a native girlfriend they assume thats how i learnt which is madness! I learnt myself! via hard work


I have never had a Spanish-speaking partner, but now that you mention it, I have been asked that in contexts where I got the impression they were looking for a way to dismiss what I had worked for. That one was only ever English speakers, though, I never got asked that AFAIR by any Spanish speakers.

Edit: On the whole I have to say that (at least that last year in Madrid), Spanish speakers were a lot nicer about my Spanish than English speakers and said some really nice things. I strongly suspect that is because a lot of people in Spain are trying to learn English and know at first hand how much work is involved. They will insist on trying to make you pronounce the "z" and "c" like them, though and pointing out that hundreds of millions of native speakers in Latin America pronounce it the same way you do doesn't cut much ice with them. :lol:
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby Cavesa » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:18 pm

tarvos wrote:"Why don't you learn something difficult like Chinese?"

I already did, and which Chinese are you talking about, kid...


This one is hilarious, thanks Tarvos!

I hope all these fountains of wisdom were polyglots themselves, speaking at least two or three asian languages.
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby Theodisce » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:13 pm

"You must be extremely talented". No, I'm definitely not. I've simply devoted ~ 10 000 hours of study to various languages since 2011.
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby YtownPolyglot » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:48 pm

Say "...." in language X, especially when it's something really obscure or vulgar or nearly unique to speakers of English.
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby mercutio » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:15 pm

Random Review wrote:
mercutio wrote:
Random Review wrote:Slightly off topic, but I found variations on the following incredibly annoying:

Interlocutor: "How long have you been in Spain?"
Me: "Oh, 8 months this year, 9 last year and 10 in 2008, so about 27 months in total".
Interlocutor: "ah" (in tone of voice implying "ah, that's why you speak OK Spanish").
Me: "Er..." (fighting urge to say, "no, I worked bloody hard, actually. Being in the country is an advantage, but doesn't just happen effortlessly even then.")

when people heard I had a native girlfriend they assume thats how i learnt which is madness! I learnt myself! via hard work


I have never had a Spanish-speaking partner, but now that you mention it, I have been asked that in contexts where I got the impression they were looking for a way to dismiss what I had worked for. That one was only ever English speakers, though, I never got asked that AFAIR by any Spanish speakers.

Edit: On the whole I have to say that (at least that last year in Madrid), Spanish speakers were a lot nicer about my Spanish than English speakers and said some really nice things. I strongly suspect that is because a lot of people in Spain are trying to learn English and know at first hand how much work is involved. They will insist on trying to make you pronounce the "z" and "c" like them, though and pointing out that hundreds of millions of native speakers in Latin America pronounce it the same way you do doesn't cut much ice with them. :lol:


yes I have also had people think i learnt spanish from a girlfriend, also as a way to dismiss my own hard work, i think people in uk aka non language learners which means basically everyone in the general population ;) thinks language learning is some weird esoteric magic that they can't fathom and therefore they want to justify it somehow like "oh he had a spanish gf so thats why he speaks it" which is kind of odd because like I said before I'm convinced you can't learn from a partner and everyone has to do the hard slog on their own, i correct them and say i taught myself
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Re: Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

Postby smallwhite » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:18 pm

> Things you wish people would stop saying when you tell them the languages that you're learning

That you should use it this way, that you shouldn't use it that way, that you should speak to your daughter this way, that you shouldn't speak to her that way.
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