AIBU to be offended by my colleague's bluntness?

(51 Posts)
ElaYar Tue 23-Apr-13 22:10:25

A bit of a background - I'm Polish, have been living in Germany with my English DP for the last 12 years. We speak English at home. I'm fluent in German but I'm unfortunately unable to get rid of my accent. I have just started a new job where I met a woman with whom I had this conversation today:
She: "So where do you originally come from?"
Me: Poland, but I've been living here for the last 12 years..
She ( eyes wide open): Really? So long? And you still have such a strong accent? Does your family speak German?
Me: Nope, I speak English at home with my DP.
She: I could tell straight away.. Strange. I had a roommate once who was
Polish and after just three
years you couldn't tell she
was a foreigner.

What do you think? AIBU to be offended by her choice of words? I really make an effort to learn German, my grammar is good, I just have the bloody accent. My DP found it amusing, I am still confused... I mean she really did not have to rub it in with this remark about her genius roommate..

soverylucky Tue 23-Apr-13 22:12:03

Ignore her - really. Loads of people keep their accents for many years after they have left a place - look at Cilla Black.

WandaDoff Tue 23-Apr-13 22:14:05

She probably didn't mean to upset you, it sounds like she was just making small talk.

I am in awe of you being able to speak 3 languages fluently. I can barely manage english blush

BobblyGussets Tue 23-Apr-13 22:14:06

She's just jealous. I am too, but in a nice, admiring way. You speak three languages, all fluently. What second or third language does your colleague speak? Does she speak "Fuckwit" or "Gobshite"?
Don't take any notice of her.

It is amusing, only becuase she was being a sour puss and you really don't have to worry about what she thinks.

But your colleague is German, right? I was under the impression Germans aren't known for beating about the bush.

squoosh Tue 23-Apr-13 22:15:06

I haven't lived in my home country for ten years. I still have my original accent, in fact I don't really udnerstand how some people can change their accent so easily. Is it a conscious decision?

I don't see why you'd want to lose your accent.

squoosh Tue 23-Apr-13 22:16:15

You are the Cilla Black of Poland OP.

Sorry about that wink

AprilAndFrank Tue 23-Apr-13 22:17:53

I think it's lovely when people keep their accents. I met a French girl who lived in Australia, she spoke perfect English and I could have listened to her for hours smile

TheCraicDealer Tue 23-Apr-13 22:18:03

You could've said, "she must've been very impressionable. I imagine if she read Treasure Island she'd develop a limp".

I admire you for speaking three languages fluently, that's pretty cool.

RevoltingPeasant Tue 23-Apr-13 22:18:15

'Yes, it's interesting how accents work. What about you - do you have a really strong accent when you speak Polish? Oh-you don't speak it? Do you speak any foreign languages fluently? Oh.'

LadyKinbote Tue 23-Apr-13 22:18:39

I think she was rude but don't let it bother you, just tell yourself how exotic your accent makes you sound compared with her boring old genius flatmate! grin

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 22:19:44

Are you in the North? That would pass for pleasant conversation around here....smile

Ignore, she probably is a bit mad meant nothing by it and even if she did, its not worth your energy to get upset by it [snile]

emsyj Tue 23-Apr-13 22:19:50

PILs have a neighbour who is French, but who has lived in their street with her English husband (who cannot speak French) for over 30 years. She still sounds 101% French - very very strong accent. However, her English is perfect. I don't see that it's an issue if you have a Polish accent unless it makes it hard for people to understand you when you speak German.

My DSis lived in Italy for several years. Her landlady used to have both of us falling over laughing by speaking Italian in an English accent - it was hilarious. She couldn't speak a word of English but had the accent down to a tee. It doesn't sound that funny written down.... Maybe you had to be there. blush

I only commented to DH yesterday that one of our drivers still has a really strong Scottish accent despite living in Cheshire for eons. I love accents and you should be proud of yours.

Salmotrutta Tue 23-Apr-13 22:20:26

German people are just very blunt though.

They wouldn't see a problem with saying that (well, none of the Germans I've known over the years anyway) at all.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 23-Apr-13 22:21:57

Oh yes of course,sorry, you are in Germany not northern England. Doh.

<puts reminder for eye test in diary>

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Tue 23-Apr-13 22:21:57

She is flattering herself that even though others can't tell, she can 'tell straight away' this is all about her seeing herself as 'astute' - nothing to do with her friend, or your accent.

I think she thinks you have a strong 'foreign' accent, and thought your german sounded english-tainted or just different. I bet her surprise was that you weren't english not that you were Polish.

If it comes up again, tell her that its not a surprise about her friend- most people you know well seem to have no accent to you, even if to others they sound really spanish or whatever.

Tell her its amazing that she can tell that you speak english at home, and have some polish pronunciation, and that mostly people never notice! Tell her that noone notices your accent(s) unless they are polish people who have lived in England - she will think SHE is a genius.. then say, probably because you understood your friend so well, you have an ear for polish and that you feel comfortable talking to her as a result.

This is ALL about her wanting to tell you about the international people she has known and to get you to ask her where she has travelled to.

I think being with English DP has made you paranoid about others judging you.. that is SO eeenglish!! smile

Bunbaker Tue 23-Apr-13 22:22:00

I am from Surrey but have lived in Yorkshire for over 30 years. I would never be mistaken for a local with my accent.

HollyBerryBush Tue 23-Apr-13 22:24:19

I'm amused. I'm 48, born in the UK, schooled here, I still have my parents accent

mercibucket Tue 23-Apr-13 22:26:17

sounds v german

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Tue 23-Apr-13 22:26:57

Youse are aw shite ya cunts.

ZZZenagain Tue 23-Apr-13 22:27:22

read that Cilla Black could switch the accent on and off, totally contrived

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Tue 23-Apr-13 22:28:27

<cough> I mean, 'I delight in your slightly disruptive contribution to this person's very real concerns. Making light is amusing, but watch yourself you don't offend.' <cough>

AvrilPoisson Tue 23-Apr-13 22:28:38

My BIL left France 30 years ago, but still has a french accent!

what's wrong with having an accent anyway?.... Rude bloody madam. That said I'm desperately trying to imagine what speaking German with a Polish accent sounds like... I've often wondered what english speakers accent comes across as in other languages. I bet we don't sound as cool as Polish speaking English, or French speaking English, or Italians or French. Apparently speaking English with a Geordie accent to a friend who was Israeli (and spoke Hebrew) sounds like we are swallowing the last half of a word.... confused

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