linguoboy wrote:I saw one just yesterday. I was on the train and two women were having a conversation in Chinese. A guy standing near them was glowering in their direction and started barking "English!" at them until I told him to shut up and he started yelling at me instead.
Can't say I've ever seen such thing happening yet.
First I read this and thought "I haven't seen that happen either, but I'm pretty sure it happens here, whether I notice it or not."
And then I read this
Saim wrote:I dunno, I'm writing my MA thesis on the Hungarian minority in Ukraine (Transcarpathia) and I have came across examples of people being told off or yelled at for speaking Hungarian, even by strangers on the street, and Ukraine is hardly a linguistically homogenous country. It seems more to do with nationalism and xenophobia than whether or not other languages are present.
and remembered a long-forgotten instance of being called "sales Flamands" by an older woman simply for being in Brussels with some friends and *gasp* speaking Dutch. So yeah. If it happens to white people speaking a (Western) European language, it must definitely happen to people who are not white and/or speaking a (Western) European language.
linguoboy wrote:So there's a lot that's intertwined here, but I think that one of the strands is that monolinguals really don't understand the language use of polyglots. To a ludicrous degree, they assume that if we're speaking a foreign language in public, we're doing so in order to talk about other people without being understood. The idea that it's simply the language we're most comfortable expressing ourselves in to this particular person just doesn't occur to them because they don't have that same experience. So they read it as an aggressive act when in reality it's anything but.
Yes. To this particular person, about this particular topic, in that particular situation.
Personal experience again: I've once been told exactly that, not to speak Dutch in [monolingual English-speaking person]'s presence because it'd make her think we were saying bad things about her.