Ivy - yup, totally lol Mayan too. No aversion to other languages in this part of North America...
3/16/14 2:44 P
When I don't understand someone, I simply tell them that and continue on my way. If it's a caller I simply hang up. I'm always polite, but firm and assertive. While I will help someone if I can, I'm not going to stand there for hours while someone keeps talking to me in a language I don't understand. I was an exchange student in Spain in high school, and I LOVED the immersion learning opportunity I had. I lived within an hour's drive from Portugal, so I was able to spend time there as well. In today's economy and world, it would be fantastic if more people were able to have that opportunity. Knowing Spanish has given me a rudimentary understanding of many of the romance languages, which has been helpful to me in many ways. I can understand far more than I can speak, which sometimes baffles people who think they can talk about me without my understanding them.
3/15/14 7:37 P
Err... not all north Americans. Most Mexicans speak English Spanish and Nahuatl . Right Danny?
Fitness Minutes: (30,986)
3/15/14 7:00 P
I find this post both amusing and a bit sad. My advise would be to get out into the world and learn what it is like to be in a foreign land where no one speaks English. My own experience is that most people the world over are friendly and helpful even to an ignorant Canadian tourist like myself. I am thankful that it was required in school to learn at least some French and to major in at least one language to graduate ( it could be Latin, Spanish German or French etc.) If you travel throughout Europe and Asia you will find most people speak more than one language and often they can converse in two or more. It is only North Americans that have an aversion to other languages and sadly that is so limiting in so many ways. The world is a big and vast place and it is a now a global economy and with that brings a multitude of cultures together. Better get used to it and better prepare your children for a vastly different world than the one you might of been raised in. Just like the old timers going on about the "good old days" and staying stuck in the past (think computers and the internet) those who embrace the future will reap the rewards.
3/15/14 5:53 P
3/15/14 4:16 P
:S eww Hunter lol what is thaaat? :P and no, meow.. Burritos aren't Mexican...
Ivy, lol NO! you're not cute enough to speak Chihuahua :P sowyyy...
3/15/14 3:59 P
how can you understand that? xD very impressive ajajajaja x'D so how many languages do you speak now? brazilian, gay, gringo spanish, mexican, english? xD mmm... chinese? I'm learning chihuahua atm. I can teach you :) "no mames wey, sus pinshis chingaderas wey o sea wey qué poca madre!" I'm learning from the best I want to learn Chinese too.
This happens a lot. Its difficult for me to understand what a person is telling or asking me in a language other than english. I respond I am American and understand only english. I suggest (if they understand) to go a customer service counter to see if someone there understands their language or can assist them. On the phone, I just say i'm not interested than hang up-remember this is a person on the other end working to make a living.. so don't be rude.
On the phone, consider it a blessing. If you pick up the phone and someone is speaking in a language you don't use, then you know instantly that it's a marketing call or a wrong number and you can just hang up instead of wasting your time or theirs.
In person, consider it a compliment. People who don't speak the majority language have to choose someone who looks kind and trustworthy to try to speak to. They think you're that type of person. You have a choice between letting them continue to think so by doing your best to help with whatever limited skills you have, or proving them wrong by getting offended that they would mistake you for a Chinese speaker.
Fitness Minutes: (224,550)
36,456 3/14/14 7:04 P
I'm not sure but I think a *shrug* is pretty universal. Then just walk away.
Haha you hate cinco de mayo so much xD cute Burritos aren't Mexican ? X_x
Tú estas bien nice vamos a hacerlo twice see? Perfect Spanish...
3/14/14 1:55 P
Ohhh yes I think it's like a mexican-american gang thing. Chicanos seem to have like a completely different culture... I mean, different from ours. Like their... 5 de mayo... and burritos... and stuff . But yes you're right, it's easy to understand all the spanish variants, even the american one :P
Hunter, you don't even speak Spanish so you don't count :P our Spanish is the best lol
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314 3/14/14 10:11 A
Sorry , I am not following you, Please explain again.
The truth is I can't understand Mexican, sorry Danny... I don't speak chihuahua.
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 3/13/14 7:09 P
I always thought that Ese was a gang thing, like the letter "s" para Sureños/MS13. It is 2nd/3rd generation Mexican Americans and people of Central American descent.
Like all things Estadounidense, our Spanish is a mixture of 100 different things. I always use Spanish (Ecuador) or Spanish (Argentina) when I use Microsoft Word. My Boriqua, Cuban and Mexican friends all understand me 99% of the time. All Spanish dialects are mutually intelligible.
3/13/14 7:03 P
Just be pleasant and simply say I don't understand ,if you only learn to say that in chinese and then simply walk away.... I don't think you need to learn chinese unless you want to learn. As far as telemarketers I'd just hang up as one of the other posters suggested.
Fitness Minutes: (35,999)
2,387 3/13/14 6:50 P
Just smile, answer in Malay and walk away.
We need a fish like the one in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...an auto translator in our brains!
3/13/14 3:09 P
Say, I don't understand or comprehend. Shrug your shoulders. Where I work there are so many different dialects of the Spanish language, that we have to use an interpreter phone. Wonderful invention. And always, always smile.
3/13/14 2:53 P
American Spanish huh? that must be like Spanish, boricua Style! or like Pitbull ya tú sabe!
3/13/14 2:40 P
lol, Español Estadounidense..... it's so strange... I've had many english speaking friends ask me what does "Esse!" (not sure how to spell it) means... They say they hear mexicans say it all the time in movies. I had no idea what they were talking about... but once they showed me a movie clip and it was true :O they were like "Hola ESSE! cómo estas ESSE??!!". We never ever say that here, of course it was an American movie so.... I guess it is true. American Spanish is actually a thing :S
lol and I hear you... in Australia, every time I said that I was from Mexico they were like.... " So.... why are you.... white?"
Edited by: --MEOW-- at: 3/13/2014 (14:41)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 3/13/14 2:03 P
Bueno, yo hablo un espanol estadounidense. :) Actually, I have the opposite problem from the OP--most people assume that I don't speak Spanish because I am tall and blond, when I do in fact understand the language well. Yes, there are huge numbers of Latinos in the United States who do not know any Spanish. There are also many who speak the language, but they cannot read/write in Spanish or they have terrible problems with grammar because they have never studied it formally.
Occasionally I encounter people who assume that I am Russian (goodness knows why because I have absolutely no Russian ancestry) and I just explain to them in my very rudimentary Russian that I only speak and a little, and badly. I've never had anyone push me beyond that.
Eowyn, what do you mean by callers? What is the context?
lol uhmm... the other day my mom got a new phone and I saw something really scaryyyyyyy D: I was setting up all the stuffies and you know it asks you what language you prefer? well it had all the Spanish(es?) listed like, you know... Español (España), Español (Mexico), Español (Argentina)... and after all that it said Español (Estados Unidos) it's weiiiird.... I never saw that before :P lol it kinda makes sense, though....
3/13/14 1:39 P
Hunter: but I don't want to and I wasn't born there anywayZ I was born in but I lived my entire life somewhere else. But still, I speak Mexican that should be good enough eh?
If you're Chinese I think it would be a good idea to learn to speak Chinese...
same thing goes for you IVY xD haha...
Fitness Minutes: (245,830)
3/13/14 12:34 P
Hi, Eowyn !
Malaysia is not unlike Switzerland, a place where multiple languages are spoken. I wish I was able to speak more than one language fluently. Here in the US, it's not unusual to walk into place that may only speak Spanish or Portuguese or even Chinese. So, being able to speak more than one language would be valuable.
I have had people walk up to me and assume that I must speak a language. Like you, sometimes I have to say sorry, could we speak in English ? So, don't feel bad if you need to speak in Malay. Just be polite, that's all. Some of the older Chinese people probably don't speak Malay and assume that because you are Chinese you must speak Chinese.
The telemarketers ? You can feel free to hang up on them. If they refuse to do business in Malay, then they can take their sales pitch elsewhere.
Would you like to improve your Chinese ? If so, it wouldn't hurt to talk to some of the sweet old ladies for practice. If you prefer to speak Malay, just let people know.
When I was in school, my French was pretty good. These days, I wouldn't mind learning Chinese or even Spanish. Being able to speak Spanish in the US would be really really helpful.
3/13/14 12:28 P
too much trouble, indeed.
3/13/14 12:24 P
lol @Ivyxxo... "no waaaay" :), too much trouble...
If it happens a lot to you, have you considered working to improve your Chinese? It sounds like you would get lots of practice opportunity and it might be a valuable skill in your area.
I would probably say "I do not speak your language very well. I don't understand what you are saying. Do you speak or write my language? No? I'm sorry I can not help you."
3/13/14 12:15 P
just stare at them like they're crazy and continue minding your ownbusiness. That's what I do when people try to speak to me in English. What do they expect me to do? to try to understand them using sign language? or even worse... to LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?!? no waaaaay....
I eat words :)
Edited by: IVYXXO at: 3/13/2014 (12:21)
Fitness Minutes: (7,206)
1,524 3/13/14 11:59 A
I would learn to say ' I speak no Chinese " they may look at you dumbfounded ,,just smile & walk away. Gosh if you do not they will stand there & jabber away forever, I do not speak Spanish & I have people try to ask me something I say ' yo no hablo a Espanol ' I politely walk away, I do try to understand what they are trying to say to me if they point to something,but Chinese would be a lot harder to under stand being so many dialects. take care Judy
3/13/14 11:38 A
Actually, there are already many audio translators. There are even apps for your phone and some of them are quite good...
Anyway, I guess the best thing to do is to say you don't speak Chinese... or maybe something shorter they can understand like "No Chinese!" or... just smile and nod :)
Fitness Minutes: (120,548)
3/13/14 10:12 A
@Sherylds, I love the quote you cited in your post:
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer
@OP, where I live more than one language is sometimes spoken to me. I like trying to understand even when my second language skills are very poor. For me, cultural diversity is a plus. So I don't have an answer as to how to respond really. I just try to communicate as best I can and be polite.
we live in a global world .... it's just a matter of time until someone comes out with an audio translator for oral communication. Who thought we would have BabelFish - the Free Online Translator? it amazes me that so many people automatically expect people to speak English...and call others rude when they don't understand us.
is it possible that the people who "continue yabbering away in Chinese" are asking to talk to someone who speaks their language or they are asking what number they called? And can you blame someone for trying to get help when they are lost in the hospital and they see what they consider a friendly face in the crowd...so they ask for directions? Try putting yourself in the other person's situation...what would you do?
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer
3/13/14 8:09 A
It sounds to me as if you know enough Chinese to give a few directions - you don't have to have an in-depth conversation with them! I agree about the phone calls. I get so many unwanted calls even in English that I often put the phone down. (I just say sweetly, 'Oh no, I don't do surveys over the phone thank you, Goodbye.' and put the phone down before they have time to think of a reply. As for people who need directions, I would ask if they speak Malay or English and if not just do my best. And Elaine, you must be too beautiful for your own good if you attract so many lecherous warts trying to chat you up in Chinese!
I get really annoyed when I get callers who insist on speaking to me in Chinese. This is because my standard of spoken chinese is so poor that I can't really converse all that well in Chinese at all! I can't understand much either, as for reading and writing, I only know a handful of words.
When I tell them I can't understand them, they continue yabbering away in Chinese! At least, if they switched to speaking in Malay, then I can understand them. But No! They insist on speaking in Chinese.
I just tell them : "wrong number", because I don't know what else to do!
Honestly, what do you do when people keep insisting on speaking a language you don't understand or only know a little of!?
When I'm out and about, it's even worse! When I go to the hospital, because I look Chinese (because I am Chinese), all these little old ladies and even men, but mostly ladies, will stop me and ask me for directions and such. I don't really know how to respond, because I can't speak much Chinese, so I just say : "sorry, I don't understand", and go on my way. What else can I do?
The men are the worst! Have you ever been chatted up in Chinese? I know what they intend, lecherous warts!, but I just ignore them, but they persist! Oh, Good Lord! Sigh!
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