Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

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Cesare M.
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Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Cesare M. » 2017-01-10, 17:21

Have you ever come across a native speaker of a language you are learning telling you (or more so begging you) to stop learning their language?

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-01-11, 1:04

Not one I'm learning now, I don't think, but I had a Cantonese classmate in high school who told me to stop trying to learn Cantonese and just stick with Mandarin, I think because my pronunciation was so awful.

I have also heard from Nora England that Aymara-speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right and that speakers of some other language (I think maybe Choctaw?) don't want outsiders to learn it at all. There is also a user on this forum who I definitely don't want to ever learn Malayalam.
Last edited by vijayjohn on 2017-01-11, 1:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby mōdgethanc » 2017-01-11, 1:24

vijayjohn wrote:I have also heard from every Quebecker ever that French speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right
FTFY

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby md0 » 2017-01-11, 7:23

The only example I know is the story I read a couple of years ago about Australian aboriginal communities wanting to protect their languages from outside use by using Copyright.

I found this article about it http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/13/59982 ... old-debate

The argument against Wikipedia’s palawa kani page, however, is even more complicated. For one thing, palawa kani is neither an organically developed language nor a completely invented one. It’s part of a 20-year project to reconstruct and unify up to a dozen extinct Tasmanian indigenous languages, of which only fragments have been preserved. In addition to managing palawa kani’s development, the TAC promotes its use within the aboriginal community and sets rules for who can use the language, and what they can do with it.

Further complicating matters, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center (TAC), which filed the complaint, isn’t simply arguing about US or even Australian copyright law. It’s appealing to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which it says allows it control over how the language is used.

TAC language program coordinator Annie Reynolds says that palawa kani should not become available to the general public "until aborigines themselves are familiar and competent with it." A use policy for the language, sent to The Verge, asks any non-aboriginal person or company to submit an official request if they want to use the language for any reason. Words for geographical features, plants, and animals are acceptable, but they draw the line at using them for "farms, office buildings, educational facilities, homes, streets, etc. which have no connection to collective aboriginal values."

Indigenous intellectual property rights have been a topic of research and discussion for decades now. Often, they come up in the context of "biopiracy" — using indigenous medical knowledge to create and patent drugs without informing or compensating the groups behind them. In many cases, they feel intuitively ethical. But they can be difficult to square with existing copyright law.
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Osias » 2017-01-11, 12:29

:shock:
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-11, 18:47

mōdgethanc wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I have also heard from every Quebecker ever that French speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right
FTFY

You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Prowler » 2017-01-12, 0:50

From my experience German speakers, Germans in particular, seem a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a foreigner attempting to speak German with them, especially if he's not fluent in it. I've tried to type in German with Germans online in the past... and some either replied to me in English or just ignored me. Maybe I was unlucky dunno, since the Austrians actually seemed positively surprised "oh you speak German? Didn't expect that :) "

linguoboy wrote:
mōdgethanc wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I have also heard from every Quebecker ever that French speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right
FTFY

You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.

Yeah what the hell?! If anything, many French speakers assume people in many countries speak French.

I mean,when I went to Paris in 2005 more people than I expected actually tried to speak English to you but they sure as hell didn't object if you spoke French to them. I remember ordering an ice cream in a very central avenue in Paris(Camps-Elisées prolly)and she couldn't understand what the words "strawberry" and "lemon" meant so I had to say "fraise et citron" and she seemed happy.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-01-12, 1:47

linguoboy wrote:
mōdgethanc wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I have also heard from every Quebecker ever that French speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right
FTFY

You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.

Maybe this works differently if you're a fellow Canadian as opposed to a complete foreigner?
Prowler wrote:From my experience German speakers, Germans in particular, seem a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a foreigner attempting to speak German with them, especially if he's not fluent in it. I've tried to type in German with Germans online in the past... and some either replied to me in English or just ignored me. Maybe I was unlucky dunno, since the Austrians actually seemed positively surprised "oh you speak German? Didn't expect that :) "

I keep hearing people saying things to this effect, but that hasn't really been my experience. But then I've also met one or two monolingual German-speakers. Also, the first time I took Lufthansa (with my mom, from Washington, D. C. to Frankfurt en route to Chennai, when I was maybe nine?), the lady sitting next to us was from Heidelberg and was thrilled that I spoke even a little bit of German since she spoke barely any English. :D

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Prowler » 2017-01-12, 1:50

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
mōdgethanc wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:I have also heard from every Quebecker ever that French speakers don't want outsiders to learn their language unless they learn to get it exactly right
FTFY

You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.

Maybe this works differently if you're a fellow Canadian as opposed to a complete foreigner?
Prowler wrote:From my experience German speakers, Germans in particular, seem a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a foreigner attempting to speak German with them, especially if he's not fluent in it. I've tried to type in German with Germans online in the past... and some either replied to me in English or just ignored me. Maybe I was unlucky dunno, since the Austrians actually seemed positively surprised "oh you speak German? Didn't expect that :) "

I keep hearing people saying things to this effect, but that hasn't really been my experience. But then I've also met one or two monolingual German-speakers. Also, the first time I took Lufthansa (with my mom, from Washington, D. C. to Frankfurt en route to Chennai, when I was maybe nine?), the lady sitting next to us was from Heidelberg and was thrilled that I spoke even a little bit of German since she spoke barely any English. :D

Oh well that's a different. But it seems a lot of German speakers speak decent English, despite their constant dubbing and translation of media. And I don't see Germans in my part of the world attempting to speak German with people. I guess they know that not many people speak German here.

And perhaps I've just been unlucky.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-12, 3:57

My experience is that some Germans are embarrassed to speak German in a predominately Anglophone environment. Unter vier Augen it would be fine, but out in public they would prefer not to draw attention to themselves at all.

I haven't met too many monolingual Germans outside of Germany. The one time I remember well it was a hapless Siemens employee trying to navigate the Paris Métro after being robbed by a prostitute.
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Prowler » 2017-01-12, 4:21

linguoboy wrote:My experience is that some Germans are embarrassed to speak German in a predominately Anglophone environment. Unter vier Augen it would be fine, but out in public they would prefer not to draw attention to themselves at all.

I haven't met too many monolingual Germans outside of Germany. The one time I remember well it was a hapless Siemens employee trying to navigate the Paris Métro after being robbed by a prostitute.

Maybe they fear some possible discrimination or dealing with people who think making Nazi jokes in front of them is funny?

That is an... interesting story.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-01-12, 4:48

See, I don't think it's that you're incredibly unlucky. I think it's that I'm incredibly lucky. :P

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-12, 16:05

Prowler wrote:Maybe they fear some possible discrimination or dealing with people who think making Nazi jokes in front of them is funny?

They have every reason to. Anglophones are a bunch of cocks when it comes to this.

Prowler wrote:That is an... interesting story.

Not really. I bought him a coffee while he told me his sob story, then he touched me for a few francs (that's how long ago this was) while promising to pay me back, which of course he never did. Fortunately I never lend anyone more money than I'm willing to lose (which in this case wasn't very much).
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-01-12, 19:27

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.

Maybe this works differently if you're a fellow Canadian as opposed to a complete foreigner?

That wouldn't surprise me. I've been looked down on by French-speaking Belgians for not speaking French fluently, whereas others were just glad my French was better than their Dutch. Apart from the former, nobody ever expressed disapproval of my (trying to) speak their language.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Antea » 2017-01-12, 19:29

I had the complete opposite experience. I had to work with German clients and they were very inflexible about the language they used. They expected you to speak German with them, and never would they consider to speak another language with us. But maybe it's a different think, because it was a working relationship.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-12, 20:28

Aurinĭa wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:You know, I never had this trouble--not in France, not in Québec. They just seemed happy I was making an effort--you know, like every other place I've ever been.

Maybe this works differently if you're a fellow Canadian as opposed to a complete foreigner?

That wouldn't surprise me.

Oh, I'm sure that's the case. Here in the USA you see this a lot with members of certain ethnic groups. Like Koreans will fawn all over me for speaking even the most basic Korean, but if you look Korean and you don't speak the language well? Brace yourself for some shaming. This even happens to a friend of mine who's a Korean adoptee (i.e. he came here as a baby and was raised by Scandihoovians). There's not the same expectations of older immigrant groups. No one of German extraction--either American-born or otherwise--expects me to know German, so they're impressed to find out I speak it. (Some Germans have even asked me why I bothered!)

On the other hand, we expect you to know some English, because everyone knows some English. If you struggle with it, we'll be as patient as all get-out with you--unless we suspect you of being an immigrant. Then we get judgy. Then you're shirking your responsibility to your adoptive country and the people of this country, who so generously permit you to reside here. You're being ungrateful and irresponsible and you should be ashamed of that.
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-01-12, 21:18

Oh yes, I'd heard that about Koreans too.

linguoboy wrote:raised by Scandihoovians

Raised by what?

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Prowler » 2017-01-12, 21:31

Not many people outside of South Korea(bar many Korean immigrants obv) speak Korean, so it's not surprising they'll be in awe if they hear a non-Korean person, especially a white person speaking Korean to them.

And linguoboy, I've read online accounts of Mexican Americans(and I guess other latinos) being asked "why didn't you bother learning the language of your people?" by other Mexicans(and other latinos). They interpret that as "they don't consider me one of them for being born in USA and my first language by English and not speaking Spanish at all or well enough).

To be fair, that sort of, I dunno what to call it(elitism perhaps?) is quite common all over the world. I'm gonna let a secret in on you guys, some of us Old Continent folk look down a bit on New World people thinking you guys lack culture and some of us even laugh at you or roll our eyes at you when you come over to us and claim to be "Italian"or "Irish" but then don't know much or anything about those places or complain about how "old fashioned/conservative" or how "racist" they are and how you're glad you r family went to America/Canada a couple of generations ago.. And ofc, if you don't speak the language of the European country most of your ancestors come from, some people will be disappointed with you and not consider you "one of them".

These are just more extreme examples, btw.

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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-12, 22:05

Aurinĭa wrote:
linguoboy wrote:raised by Scandihoovians

Raised by what?

People of Scandinavian descent living in the Upper Midwest.

Prowler wrote:To be fair, that sort of, I dunno what to call it(elitism perhaps?) is quite common all over the world.

Ethnonationalism?

Traditionally, language has been one of the chief defining characteristics of any ethnicity. Recent massive language shifts have confused things, though. So you have, for instance, Irish people referring to Irish as their "mother tongue" when 98% of them learn it in school.

I never wanted to be one of those Americans who claims a heritage without any idea what it entails, which is why I've learned German and Irish, read a lot of Continental and Irish history, and lived in Europe. I'm definitely an exception in this regard.
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Re: Native speakers that don't want you to learn their language

Postby Prowler » 2017-01-12, 22:28

linguoboy wrote:
Aurinĭa wrote:
linguoboy wrote:raised by Scandihoovians

Raised by what?

People of Scandinavian descent living in the Upper Midwest.

Prowler wrote:To be fair, that sort of, I dunno what to call it(elitism perhaps?) is quite common all over the world.

Ethnonationalism?

Traditionally, language has been one of the chief defining characteristics of any ethnicity. Recent massive language shifts have confused things, though. So you have, for instance, Irish people referring to Irish as their "mother tongue" when 98% of them learn it in school.

I never wanted to be one of those Americans who claims a heritage without any idea what it entails, which is why I've learned German and Irish, read a lot of Continental and Irish history, and lived in Europe. I'm definitely an exception in this regard.

Well yeah it depends on the person. From my experience, Canadians are more likely to know more about their origins than Americans are. Although many of them seem to just identify as Canadian and nothing else.

Just anecdotes but it seems Americans of German and British origin don't care much for their heritage in the sense of identifying as such as much as others. I guess because the descendants of the founding fathers have been there for so long they cant' feel anything other than being American. As for Germans, many Americans of German origin seem to have anglicised names(Brown instead of Braun). I guess probably because they feared discrimination during WW2(internment camps). The Americans of European origin I see bragging about their origins the most are Irish and Italian ones. As for Asian Americans, I dunno, many from my experience can't speak their ethnic group's language at all or just have a completely different attitude than a born and bred East/South East Asian person. And many also kind of complain about how they don't really fit at home when they visit the country of their ancestors "I look like any other Japanese person but I'm a gaijin" and such.

When I went to Ireland in 2005 their stores had lots of t-shirts with slogans in Irish/Gaelic. usually "kiss my ass". Also, I remember flicking through channels and seeing some cartoons dubbed in Irish/Gaelic.


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