To feel annoyed English will never become the main language in DP's life...(164 Posts)
My DP is Spanish and would say she was fluent in English (very good English accent and only noticeable she is foreign when she pronounces certain words, but you couldn't guess she was Spanish at all) but when she gets angry/is tired tends to switch to Spanish. We have been together for 7 years now and it has always been like this, although we did spend the first 4 years of our relationship mainly speaking in Spanish, whereas now we mainly speak English. I do have have a degree in Spanish but feel our relationship works better in English. AIBU thinking English will never become totally natural for her? Would be very interested in hearing the opinions of any foreign ladies who have an English DP.
WHy does it bother you? Will Spanish ever become or has become a natural thing for you?! She's foreign, accept it.
Your DP is from Spain, she sometimes speaks in Spanish....
Why would this annoy you? Does it annoy her that you speak English all the time?
Her mother tongue is spanish, it will never be english, no matter how fluent her english is.
Well, if she still speaks Spanish regularly (to family/friends) then of course she'll revert to it more often, especially when she's tired/angry because that's often when your "natural" thoughts come out - eg. you speak Spanish because it's easier.
I would say YABU, but I can see it being frustrating if your Spanish isn't fluent.
I am English, but speak Dutch (not brilliantly)
Dh is Dutch, but speaks excellent English, with accent
He would say that his English is now better than his Dutch. He works in English and we live in the uk.
But when we are in Holland, there are some things that he does differently in his 'home' language and country.
Your wife is not English, She never will be, you are so lucky that the 2 of you have full access to 2 complete cultures and languages.
See that as a bonus and a benefit to your marriage.
Maybe she feels frustrated that after spending several years talking Spanish, she now has to use English all the time.
You say your relationship works better in English, but YOU are the English speaker. What does she think? Does she feel that she communicates better with you in her second language, or would she rather you upped your level of spanish so you could have a spanish speaking relationship?
Many bilingual families I know talk about using different languages in different contexts eg - (quote) 'my mum was french speaking and when I had my first girlfriend, I suddenly realised that I was more comfortable using romantic and emotional terms in French than in English' or ''x language is my academic language, I read, write and debate and theorise better in it. But y is my heart language, my closest friends all speak Y''
Songbird: There are times when we do talk in Spanish (when I don't want anyone else to understand what I'm talking about). And no, it doesn't bother me at all, I understand Spanish perfectly and it's only natural she wants to speak her native language, as I speak mine, English. For the record, it doesn't bother her either me speaking to her in English all the time, but I sometimes just feel I would like it if she spoke in English all the time. (I speak to her family in Spanish when we go over to Spain as they don't speak any English at all)
Surely it would be pretty sad for her if she lost her connection to her Spanish roots by losing her reflex for her own language?
I think YABU, to be honest. It's natural you find English easier, of course, but she will naturally find Spanish easier.
Why do you feel the relationship 'works better' in English?
your partner is Spanish and speaks Spanish shocking behaviour maybe you should find a nice English rose to argue with, she is probably swearing out of frustration in Spanish because the person who is supposed to love her wants her to forget her language,
but that doesn't make any sense chico. nobody ever gives up their mother tongue completely, and if you cannot accept her you should have found an English woman.
YABU (a bit U) I think. My mother tongue is English but am fluent(ish) in Spanish. I'm happy to speak it with friends who don't speak English or in contexts when I need to - but when I'm really shattered/emotional I always revert to English. I learnt as a young adult and therefore it's just not as available if I'm feeling tired. If it helps, I also find I express my personality differently in both - in English I am assertive and straightforward, but find when I think in Spanish I am a little shyer and tbh a bit more feminine. I don't always find having an assertive conversation all that easy in Spanish, just because of the way the language is constructed. Might be something similar for her, but in reverse?
SteppeMum: That is the same for my DP although she has only been here for a year (people do ask her, 'you can have only been here for a year! Your English is amazing!' Or even 'do you have English parents?' (That happened when she was teaching English in Spain for example) but unlike your DH, I wouldn't say she thinks in English more than Spanish as if she did, when she got angry/tired etc. she's still use English surely? My Spanish is nowhere near as good as her English imo.
I lived in the UK for a long time, and despite speaking good English, at some point during the day my brain started to ache...
Seriously, when you need to swear... well, it's your own mother tongue you need to use.
YABU. Spanish is natural to her. Why don't you speak Spanish more as it means so much to her and encourage her rather than stifle her.
I sympathize with you not being so good at Spanish as she is at English, as I'm terrible at DH's language and he is bilingual, but I do think you might benefit from trying to learn it a bit more.
Do your children speak both?
My DH is not English, he speaks English about 80 per cent of the time (including mostly with me and dd.) the only time he gets to speak his mother tongue really is on Friday nights when he goes for a few beers at an expat place. I would never dream of denying him that, it's who he is. Why would you want to cut someone off from their cultural roots? Sounds like your DP speaks good English and is pretty well assimilated. Expecting her to cut herself off from a major part of what makes her who she is is just storing up trouble and resentment. YABU.
Lessonsintightrope: she actually says I am near on fluent in Spanish (I do work with the language, as well as Italian and French) but I agree with you in that even though I believe I have a reasonably good level of the language, having only started at 16 and finishing my BA when I was 23 and MA when I was 24 (am nearly 28) now, when I'm tired I would divert to English as speaking Spanish does require my brain to think more than usual, whereas English, being my native language doesn't.
I'm actually failing to see the problem here. It's not as if you don't understand Spanish, so she can't, for example, call you " a monkey's snot ball " and you not realise.
FWIW, my DH is French and speaks English all day, every day but I would never insist want to insist that English should become his main language. He likes to speak in his native language whenever he gets the chance.
I think your annoyance is a bit weird, TBH. And it sounds controlling.
But she is Spanish, I think you are asking the impossible.
MalenkyRussky: We haven't had kids yet!! Haven't even got married yet, although she wants to marry in Spain and won't be budged from that.
FrancaGoestoHollywood: Anche ho visto i tuoi post nel thread 'Little Italy''! Does your partner speak Italian then? I do agree about the swearing, but it's mainly when she's tired/angry when she will use Spanish if we have generally been speaking in English to each other. It's just sometimes I think there are people (say from Sweden, Netherlands, Germany etc) who have English speaking partners and always speak English to them even though it's not their native language...
YABU. Language is a part of who you are, its a tool to express yourself, asking someone to give up their own language forever, under all circumstances (and especially in situations when they are not feeling their best!) sounds, well, cruel and controlling to me. Why on earth would anyone expect another person to give up their language??!! I also agree with Saralyn you cant try and change someone, you must accept who they are.
Do you have children? Do you want them to learn Spanish? How will they do that if your wife never speaks it?
But she will feel the same about English, surely, chico? Even if it is to a lesser extent.
Btw, you will improve - my DB only started learning his SIL's mother tongue in his mid 20s and he has got so much better. He was improving until pretty recently and he's 30 now. So don't let people make you think you can't improve now you're no longer formally learning it.
OP when I am in holland we do everything in Dutch. My Dutch is not great, and so by the end of the day I am tired, and would really like my BIL and SIL to switch to English.
But I would never ask them or expect them too, because when I married dh I took on another culture and language and that is part of my life. It is also something that I love about my dh, his dutchness, because it is part of who he is.
It seems as if you want her to become English, and not be spanish any more.
Your post makes me quite sad. It seems as if you wish you had married an English girl. I think for the sake of your marriage and your wife, you need to rediscover the joy her spanishness.
when I'm tired I would divert to English as speaking Spanish does require my brain to think more than usual, whereas English, being my native language doesn't.
Dont you think its the same for her?
You are being very unreasonable.
You answered your own question * when I'm tired I would divert to English as speaking Spanish does require my brain to think more than usual, whereas English, being my native language doesn't.* she probably feels the same about her native language.
I am English but live in Sweden with my Swedish dp, wespeak a mix of Swedish and English, for example we always talk about medical things in Swedish, we talk about things to do with our baby in Swedish, we talk about sex in English, when we have disagreements it's in English, we talk about food in Swedish but housework in English.
You have the opportunity to embrace both languages, try to embrace Spanish.
If you want a girlfriend who speaks English all the time you need to fin a British/American/Australian partner.
is this a stealth boast about being bilingua? I dont get it
hmm, just realised that my last post may look as if I am agreeing with you over switching language when tired, whereas I mean just the opposite, you took on a partner with another language, you need to embrace that, as I do with Dutch.
Are you Nick Clegg?
Also - think hard. If you have kids then it is likely that she will want to speak spanish to them, which means she will be speaking spanish all the time to your dcs, and your household will be very bilingual, much more than now.
if you don't like it, please think about that now before you go any further together.
This is such an odd post, I don't know where to start. Why would you be annoyed someone still wants to speak their native language, just as you do? Find someone English if speaking naturally in English is very important to you.
Actually I think that Miriam is the most surprising and interesting thing about Nick Clegg!
OP, how would you react if you saw a thread from someone upset that his/her dp wouldn't speak his/her mother tongue 100 percent of the time? Utterly unreasonable.
YABU, and frankly this makes you sound like a narrow-minded nobber.
reeling, I love you.
My friend is german but has english mum so spraks it like a first language. If she is around german speakers she does tend to lapse in to german esp if she gets annoyed - just an unconcious thing
Aw,i'm quite fond of you too Malenky.
SteppeMum: You are right.
Reeling: What does LTB mean? No, am not lol!
Can you go back to this thing about your relationship working better in English?
I don't understand you and I'm British!
You still haven't explained why her speaking Spanish at times bothers you.
LTB = Leave The Bastard - as used often on the relationship boards
find a lovely English bird. Bob's your very english uncle.
Well I feel things just work better in English. Again that is a very subjective opinion and surely she would say it works better in Spanish if push came to shove. Thanks steppemum for that, very new to all these abbreviations!
so you say it works better for you, but not for her, and you still want it that way? Poor lady...
Have you tried using both languages at once? So you speak English and she replies in Spanish?
I find it is much easier to understand the other language than speak it, so it takes the pressure off you both.
How bizarre. If you feel that strongly about it wtf did you get involved with a foreigner ?
OP, you are being utterly, utterly unreasonable!
If you didn't speak the language, I would have a little sympathy (though still not much) but you clearly have a good grasp of Spanish so why are you so keen to build in this linguistic inequality into your marriage? Why always your mother tongue and not hers? Why shouldn't she speak in whichever language she feels like speaking at any given time. You married a foreigner - so just accept that she speaks a foreign language sometimes. It's no big deal.
We have 3 languages in our marriage - one his, one mine and one neutral one that we both speak fluently. We interchange between them as and when we feel like it, but try to stick to the neutral one when arguing - it's fairer!
I'm bemused by this. I can't see why the OP has a problem.
But what do you mean, 'work better'?
You mean you argue less? Or you feel less stressed? Or you have fewer misunderstandings?
It is genuinely tiring to be working in a language you're not totally comfortable in. I don't think anyone could blame you for feeling that way. And it may well be she is more able to cope in English than you are to cope in Spanish. But I don't think you can therefore expect her to use English all the time - basically, you're just not totally compatible if this is something you can't put up with. It's not her fault.
Mind you, I can see why his partner might have a problem with him...
I really dont understand what the problem is tbh, so she insists on speaking her native language occasionally... And?
I tend to use my mother tongue when angry
shouting at the dc I dont know why, probably because I feel I can express myself better.
What on earth did you expect when you married a Spaniard?
You are making a problem out of nothing. You both speak Spanish, you both speak English. What has it got to do with you if she speaks Spanish occasionally? What do you care if she speaks Spanish when you are not there?
This sounds more about control and wanting to change a person into something you want to be. No reasonable person would make an issue of this, and most would consider it one of the things that attracted them to their partner.
Its actually very odd.
I'm just concerned that by "work better", you (perhaps subconsciously) mean "gives you the upper hand". I hope not.
I really dont understand what the problem is tbh
The occasions when it bothers the OP are when she is angry or tired. So here is a wild guess, is it because he can win arguments more easily if they only speak his language?
This sounds more about control and wanting to change a person into something you want to be.
I'm just concerned that by "work better", you (perhaps subconsciously) mean "gives you the upper hand".
Yes Mummy, it's very difficult to argue against a native speaker in a second language, no matter how fluent you are. It inevitably puts one person at a disadvantage in the discussion.
Don't make her angry. And make sure she gets lots of sleep...
YABU. Why should it be? As long as she has a goid command of English for daily life in an English speaking country, I don't see why it bothers you. Imagine if you both retired to Spain, would she be unreasonable to expect that all conversation from you henceforth, both public and private, should be conducted only in Spanish? I suspect yoj would feel so and you should extend her the same consideration you would expect.
If this is something you find intolerably irritating about your wife, then you are in trouble. Because it goes to the heart of who your wife is, its her identity and birthright to speak her own language when and where she chooses (unless she is at work).
YABU. I would revert to my native language a lot more if only my DH understood it. I just witter on to DS instead. So, it's only English with DH, but that does infuriate me at times, because if I'm angry/excited/whatever I can't always find the words. Neither do I have access to all the nuances and appropriate sayings I could use in my own language.
DH would like to learn my language, but it's one of the hardest, if not the hardest, in Europe. He is getting there slowly, though, from having listened to me talking to DS.
"annoyed" seems an odd word to use about something that doesn't seem to cause either of you any practical difficulties.
With Italian or French friends, I find it much easier to speak in English and understand in their language. Much fairer in a relationship I would have thought. And, if you have kids OPOL is easier.
I find your OP very sad. It sounds like you find who your DP is problematic. Her language is part of her. If you find it annoying, that is very worrying.
What's LTB in Spanish?
I can't understand you saying you would like her to speak English all the time. You are in a relationship with Spanish person, if you don't like that person speaking Spanish then why would you begin a long term relationship? I live abroad and also find that when I am tired or stressed the language of my adopted country gets pushed out by my mother tongue.
I would not be at all happy if I had a foreign husband who expected me to speak his native language exclusively.
oops, wrong gender, that'll be my bloody English coming through because I'm tired, should have been
Dejo el Bastardo
"Deja a ese cabronazo" would be a better translation (a Spaniard here). Although the word "bastardo" does exist, we don't really use it in Spain.
OP, you do sound like a bit of a knob. Why in Hell should your girlfriend even contemplate renouncing to Spanish?
Thank you aurynne I'm in Chile and so the spanish I hear isn't always correct, plus I'm not fluent.
OP your post is really sad. You don't sound very supportive.
My DH finds it easier to speak Portugese (and Spanish) over English. After x number of years, he still finds English hard. I really wish my language skills were better so I could give him a break from English in his own home.
My language skills are so bad I can't even get the name of the language correct. Poor DH!
this is all a wind up anyway.
This is such an odd post!
I'm Portuguese and it's as much part of me as my eyes or my
wonderful sense if humour. If DH had the problem you describe, I'd infer he had married the wrong person. (and so had I)
why is it a wind up?
it is a ridiculous thing to be "annoyed" about, is what it is
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
why should she effectively give up her language because you think she ought to?
English is my husband's third language.
For many years he would talk to me in one of his other two when tired. He thought in his primary language and then had to translate it in his head before speaking.
Some years ago he woke me up and said that he'd just had his first dream in English!
Now he thinks and dreams in english and has to translate in his head into his other languages.
I would never ever EVER think that he ought to. As it happens, just through years of being here, it happened naturally.
I would never want to take it away from him or ask him to give it up.
Things don't work better in english. English isn't some super language that reaches the places other languages can't reach, for crying out loud.
She speaks both. Leave her alone.
I always win argument whatever the language
cause Im a stroppy cow
The fair way is to speak one language up until lunch & the other till bed!
And I can't see how you could begrudge her marrying in her home country if you really loved her. Hope she reads these replies & has second thoughts as you sound really controlling!!!
YABVVVU and sound like an narrow-minded, controlling Little Englanderz
'It just works better'?
Sounds very controlling.
ToysForLuv - what's your native language then? I would say your written command of English is better than that of my fiancée's. I can't believe this thread has generated so much response! I know most of you have rightly criticised me, but really want I meant was that there are a lot of non-native speakers (or 'foreigners' if you prefer) who speak English to their partners ALL the time and as such their command of the English language is probably higher as a result. In the future, if/when we have kids, we will be adopting OPOL (well DP also speaks Catalan, although she would speak to them primarily in Spanish (although maybe a bit of 'catañol' too (mixture of Spanish and Catalan) and then they'd learn Catalan from the TV (even that may prove difficult seeing as we will probably still be living in England here).
Aurynne - ¿hablas con tu pareja en español entonces? Me ha hecho gracia lo de 'deja a ese cabronazo', es como si yo fuese un ogro jaja
Spaniard speaks Spanish shocker! Is this OP for real?
Little Englander mentality. Clearly you need to dump her and find an English Rose. But then you'll probably be upset about her accent.
Your weird mate. Date an English woman if you are against your present girlfriend being Spanish.
Weird and unreasonable. Lucky her for getting you......hope she wakes up and smells coffee soon.
Any previous convictions the police might know about per chance.... Rather worryingly controlling.
Dackyduddles - are you a guy by any chance? Just can't see a woman calling a guy mate tbh!
I still don't see the problem! Why do you need her to speak Spanish all the time? Even half the time? It is her native language, you are both lucky to be multi lingual, celebrate this! My DH is bilingual English/Spanish and I am learning Spanish to help him keep it, our aim is to have Spanish speaking days.
Msrisotto - that's fantastic! The thing is (and this may sound a bit strange) but I actually like English in a foreign accent, even though my DP doesn't have one at all!
Chico, how do you know they speak it "all" the time? You've said yourself you find it harder to speak Spanish when tired and people on here have given examples of different mixes of languages.
Why is how you want her to communicate more important than how she wants to communicate?
"but I actually like English in a foreign accent"
yes, it does sound strange
and a bit pervy
Msrisotto - is your DH Spanish then or has he learnt Spanish, at uni say?
TheDoctrineinAllan - well for example a Polish girl at work has an English boyfriend and he doesn't know any Polish at all so obviously she will only speak in English to him. She does have an accent but again her command of English is higher than my fiancée's for example, although my fiancée's accent is much more native-like.
I think you showed your "true colours"when you stated that you speak in Spanish when you don't want anyone else to know what you are saying.
It is extremely bad manners to revert to a foreign language when there are people around who don't speak or understand the language.
I am saying this as a person who speaks fluent Spanish, Italian and English.
Dude, I'm sorry to say that you're now coming across as worryingly weird.
Is this some sort of bizarre fetish?
chicoingles Mon 17-Jun-13 22:58:39
"It's just sometimes I think there are people (say from Sweden, Netherlands, Germany etc) who have English speaking partners and always speak English to them even though it's not their native language..."
Not in this house they don't! I'm Swedish and this is a bilingual household, meaning that everybody speaks the language they happen to feel like at that particular time, both languages are valued equally and both cultures are valued equally. Because- surprise, surprise!- dh and I are equally important.
If you moved to Spain, would you expect an instant ban on your own English speaking? And if not, why not? Because you're the bloke?
His first language is English. The point is that maintaining two languages is about practice and as his partner, I fully support that and want to do the same myself. Maybe because you work with languages, you don't feel the need to practice. Fact is, you are lacking in understanding for her point of view. When you are tired you want to speak your first language, when she is tired, she wants to speak hers. Pretty simple concept unless you think your desire is more important than hers which I assume you don't?
And for the record, my English is good enough for my publishers, it is good enough for the university that lets me teach it, and it is good enough to allow me to coach my daughter for her drama exams. So I hardly think dh's gracious permission to use my native language has done me any harm.
Ugh. You sound horrible. Your poor DP.
Does she feel the same about you speaking English?
I think you are extremely odd.
Please ask your fiancé to join MN so we can tell her what a weirdo you are.
And on the technical side, what Cory said. If my (Italian) dp tried to make me always speak Italian he'd have a shovel in his face and be under the patio by now. I speak what I fucking well like, and always with great aplomb.
I'd like to think this OP has to be either a wind up, or a research project tbh, as if it's genuine it's just too bloody odd.
Okay, taking the whole bilingual thing out of it, I have a couple of questions.
I notice you keep mentioning women you know who only speak English with their partners. Why do you keep saying 'Oh your/writing/speaking is much better than my partner's.'
What is the actual problem? Are you ashamed of her or something?
I am not sure it is a wind up. I have known men like this, men who marry foreign wives for that little bit of pretty exoticism but don't actually expect them to be foreign. Or at least only when it suits them.
Has the Polish
girl woman at your work been with her boyfriend for seven years?
Perhaps he is learning Polish. Perhaps she does speak Polish when tired and then has to think how to put it in English.
So that's one example. There are lots of different ones from long term relationships on here. Any comments on any of those?
Oh, and why didn't you answer my second question?
I'm English. In Italy.
When you get tired or stessed your "other" language can and does desert you.
Which made giving birth lots of fun. Not.
I am not sure what you expect people to do in that situation. Stop being human ?
What a strange post! My DH is Italian and we speak both languages. In front of our son we follow OPOL (I speak only English to him and he speaks just Italian) and alone we speak both languages to each other, but usually I speak in English and he replies in Italian.
When I am Italy it does get very tiring speaking Italian all the time and I start to make mistakes so can totally understand why your DP slips when she is tired or angry.
I don't understand why you would want to deny your partner her language and culture in this way?
I remember a parent where I work said that her husband didnt want her teaching her little girl Spanish as she was in THIS country now and should speak English It was really sad the mum was Mexican and wanted her little girl to be bi lingual
YABU and your attitude is odd, especially as you yourself speak spanish well. Most people I know who are in a relationship and have different languages as their mother tongue speak both languages to each other and their children grow up bilingual.
If I was your wife I would be upset that you were not accepting of my roots. You are being very unfair imo and you sound controlling.
Your wife is Spanish and Spanish will always be her mother tongue. What an odd OP.
English is my second language, but I find it much easier to speak English, even (or maybe particularly) when I'm tired or emotional. I find talking in my native language increasingly difficult, can't remember words etc. However, if my husband had ever told me that it annoyed him if I talked in 'my' language, I would have thought that weird, rather immature and probably controlling.
We are all different. Some people are happy to speak another language most or even all of the time, others are not. So what? You really are being very unreasonable to be 'annoyed' by it.
Nope femme fatale! Ah, denotes my accent somewhat. You almost hear the "duff duff duffers" of eastenders sometimes at the end of what I say! Or Jamie oliver..... Eek!
How bizarro. Is your relationship an equal partnership generally, would you say? Are there any big gaps in age, income, education, class/background?
Just wondering why you think it would be fair for her to do all the work on this one facet of your relationship. You have two different mother tongues, but you'd prefer if one person did 100% of the adapting for the other's convenience, despite actually being a linguist yourself.
Do you think she would be proving something to you in terms of how much effort she is prepared to go to for you? And if so, when do you think she might notice how much you are prepared to go to for her?
My wife in Spanish and I am English. When we met as 20 year olds I didnt speak a word of Spanish, while she was fluent in English
After a few months I decided to start learning Spanish, after all, I was (and still am) in love with her therefore I thought (and still think) that speaking her language is essential
So now, 13 years later, I am fluent in Spanish and in our daily lives we speak both languages, as does our little boy
I passionately feel that if you love someone then you should speak their language. It really isnt such a big commitment. I can't imagine not being able to chat and laugh to wife's family members, it would be awful, and I am sure they would hate me for it, especially given how important the extended family is in Spain.
Above all of this, the OP has a degree in Spanish! And yet you are not fluent, I cannot believe it, what were you doing all those years!
Although I agree with some of what you are saying, you are very unreasonable.
I cannot understand how somebody who works with languages would seek to obliterate mother-tongue from another human being. You of all should know how important language is for personal, and cultural identity, especially if living abroad.
What is it really about he speaking Spanish that you dislike?
I am Norwegian, my husband is Polish. I have lived in the UK since I was 21, he since he was 18. We both speak fluent English, we speak English together and with our children (who are English Norwegian bilingual)
My husband also speaks Norwegian. We lived in Norway for 3 years, and he did a 1 year Norwegian course. His Norwegian is not as good as his English. Our relationship work better in English than in Norwegian, but this is mostly due to having dated, fallen in love, and gotten to know each-other "in English". Maybe it would have been different if we met in Norway and he spoke Norwegian? The second reason is that the limitations of his language, although fluent to chat, to go shopping, etc, falls short when discussing budgeting, finance, our children, and life issues. We instantly change to speak English together. It is just easier. I dont speak any Polish. He speaks English, Polish, Norwegian, and understands some Russian and Czech. I speak English and Norwegian and understand Swedish and Danish. We cant "wish away" any of the languages.
I have a friend whose mother is Belgian and her Father is Moroccan. Her father never spoke Arabic at home. My friend feels that she has lost some of her identity, culture and heritage, through her father never speaking to her in Arabic, because there is so much identity tied up in the language.
When you look at indigenous populations around the world, like for example the Sami people in Norway, who suffered language oppression, and were forced to speak Norwegian as opposed to their native tongues, this has caused all sorts of identify problems.
So, seeing there is no practical reasons why your dp should speak English all the time, I ask again, what is the real reason you want your dp to only speak English? What is behind this? I think you should examine this carefully, and also whether you and her have a future together, when you are so opposed to something so quintessentially her, her Spanish language and heritage.
YABVU I am French, have lived here for 22 years and speak perfect English but I am still French! A lot of my culture, habits are French. Speaking English all the time won't change that.
My DS is very lucky growing up with not only two languages but two culture to take from.
So enjoy the fact that you have such a wide range of cultural experiences to discuss and offer.
I dated a French guy for a long time. My French is very good and I understand perfectly, as was his English but I spoke Engilsh to him and he spoke to me in French. Effectively this meant that all our conversations were bilingual, with a bit of franglais thrown in, but it meant we both had access to the nuances and words we needed whilst being able to understand the other. It worked perfectly. Perhaps this is something you could try?
Chico, I think you're being a bit of a gilipollas tbh. I have a Spanish partner, and naturally he speaks inSpanish when he's tired or annoyed, just like I speak in English when i'm tired or annoyed. I really don't see what the big deal is. I think one of the beautiful things about our relationship is sharing our languages and learning from each other.
You also said she's insisting on getting married in Spain. I don't blame her! Spanish weddings are amazing!
Its also particularly sad for the OP that he has gained so little from studying a languages degree. What is the point of studying an Arts degree like this if it doesn't at least give you an appreciation of other languages and culture, and broaden the mind? QuintessentialOldDear has given a far better depiction of language issues than the closed-minded OP.
I have actually come across this attitude in the North East of Scotland, the sort of "we are right and everyone else is wrong" attitude and I wonder if this explains the OP's attitude. Certainly if I were Spanish and thinking of marrying this man and found this out, I'd tell him to take a running jump.
Chico: My language is Finnish (unrelated to any other languages, apart from Estonian and Hungarian - but only grammatically). My own, long-suffering, Mediterranean mother had to learn it as an adult. Despite her best efforts she still makes mistakes after 35 years in the country, and 30 years in working life. DH would like to learn it, but simply doesn't have the time (he is self-employed with a start-up). It doesn't bother me in the slightest - all my relatives speak English anyway. We do whatever comes naturally to us, at the moment.
Also, my DH is a linguist and says that there is a cut-off point in childhood after which you cannot learn a language up to native standard. So, unless your DP learned English under the age of 10 (ish) (I'm pretty sure it's around that age, but not 100%), she will never speak as a native. She might come very, very close to it, but it will always be a bit of an effort (even if she forgets her Spanish to some degree - I know a lot of people who feel that they do not speak ANY language up to a native standard because of this - me included). Same goes about your Spanish, of course.
Good to hear you're going to do OPOL with any potential DC. Bi (Tri) - lingualism is such a gift and makes the brain more "flexible". From my own experience, it really works, even if at times she might be talking in Spanish and the DC will answer in English.
P.S: OP: I hope I'm wrong, but you sound slightly patronising with regard to us "foreigners". We are not some cute, fluffy creatures to be observed and admired for our quirks. We have our own countries where you'd be the "weird" one.
OP are you saying that she reverts to speaking Spanish when in the company of people who don't speak Spanish, thereby excluding them from the conversation?
Because then I would say she was in the wrong, although I have always reverted to English when I'm very upset, so I can understand it.
If her speaking Spanish to you when the two of you are alone is bothering you then I'm afraid I have no idea what you are complaining about.
"Also, my DH is a linguist and says that there is a cut-off point in childhood after which you cannot learn a language up to native standard. So, unless your DP learned English under the age of 10 (ish) (I'm pretty sure it's around that age, but not 100%), she will never speak as a native. "
I am surprised to hear a linguist make a statement as categorical as that.
The truth as far as I can see (and I have spent my life around language departments and read a fair amount of the academic literature on bilingualism) is that different people have different abilities and different cut-off points.
It is common to find it difficult to learn the phonetics of another language after puberty, but that is not the same as a one-size-fits-all cut-off point. Some people do manage it; some academics I have known are indistinguishable from native speakers despite having taken the language up at university. It will obviously partly depend on the range of phonemes in your native language and how much they differ from the target language, also on things like pitch accent. For an Englishman to learn to speak phonetically accurate Arabic after childhood- very, very hard. For a Swede to learn to speak Italian- far less so.
As for grammatical correctness and writing, there has never been any evidence of a cut-off point. Joseph Conrad's written English was quite adequate, really.
Not that it matters to the OP's argument.
My Aunt was born and raised in Germany until she was 10yo, she never spoke German when she came to the UK and now can't speak it at all, my maternal GM also is shit at German now after living in the UK for 30 years and not using it. I find that really sad tbh.
YAB really really U.
Cory: I'm surprised to hear that. DH is, however, not specialised in children or bi-lingualism, and went to uni in the late 80's, so there might be new developments he is not aware of. In my experience (I come from a very multicultural family), the cut-off point makes sense.
It is relevant to the OP, as far as, if you can't speak like a native (and probably never will), you might feel like the native speaker will always have the upper hand in arguments, etc.
Toys, I think the cut-off point makes sense for the average person, but that it is always unsafe to make predictions about any one person because you don't know if they are the average person.
My db took up German at school in his early teens; the only exposure he had had previously was a few nursery rhymes and similar from our mother whose accent was nowhere near native. His first exposure to native speakers was when he was about 17. He has since lectured at a German university, he writes books in German and I have been told repeatedly, by different highly educated Germans, that they could not tell him from a native speaker.
But since he speaks at least a dozen languages, having grown up in a monolingual home, I strongly suspect he is not your average person.
All the same, I very much doubt he could have done the same with Chinese, because the two languages are too different.
If two languages share the same sounds (not entirely true of Swedish and German but more so than of English and German) then the phonetic cut-off point is going to be less of a problem. Spanish to Italian is not going to be the same as English to Swedish.
There are exceptions to every rule, of course, Cory. Your DH sounds amazing! To hear that he was monolingual as a child makes it even more remarkable.
OP I'm just going to go the route of... there are other issues here. This is not what you want and it's not what's best for her.
Rethink the relationship.
And yes YAB absolutely U but I'll be charitable on this occasion and put it down to this being part of an overall evaluation of the relationship by you.
I agree with cory. I thought that idea had been thrown out as dated. Certainly when I've spoken to linguists about the idea of a 'cut-off' age, they've said this used to be thought true and has now been replaced by a much more general set of ideas.
My uncle's wife didn't speak English until she was in her late teens, and she has now more or less forgotten her first language. Her English effectively is her first language. I actually think that is terribly sad.
Btw, it's worth saying - in various European countries the idea that you couldn't/wouldn't learn a new language as an adult would be seen as a bit odd and rude. My Dutch friends find it really bizarre, particularly.
My Chinese SIL actually speaks pretty good Swedish. But then she is pretty amazing all round. She arrived in the country as an adult, learnt the language, did a whole university degree from scratch in her new language all the way up to passing her (apparently excellent) PhD *at the same time as giving birth to and bringing up two children*- all in just over 10 years. During which time she also learnt to cook (to very high standards), to swim...and I've probably forgotten something.
I speak several languages but learnt my "best" one as an adult. It's completely unrelated to my mother tongue and is generally regarded as one of the "hardest" languages to learn as a foreigner. For some reason, it just clicked with me and I learnt it very easily. I am frequently mistaken on the phone for a native speaker, sometimes with amusing consequences.
My DH's language is supposedly much easier to learn, but while I have a good working knowledge of its grammar and vocabulary, I will always sound like a foreigner when I speak it!
YABU. Why on earth would you want to control your partner's choice of language? How very odd.
My DH is Russian, I am American. We have a fully bilingual household. I learned Russian as an adult (starting at age 18) and I now teach Russian lang and lit at a university. DH learned English as an adult as well and he is highly proficient. Privately, I prefer it when he speaks Russian, as I think his personality changes slightly when expressing himself in English. But I wouldn't dream of attempting to control his choice of language.
The languages we speak are about so much more than words and grammatical function. Language is intertwined with emotions, culture, memory, identity. I would find it very difficult to have a relationship with somebody who didn't speak my native language. I would run a mile from someone like the OP who actually does speak his partner's language but wants to deny her the opportunity to communicate as she sees fit.
I really don't think there is a great deal of point in trying to convince OP that he is BU because he is being soooooo unreasonable that if he can't see it there's not much hope.
It's the word 'annoyed' that really pisses me off. Not upset or sad but annoyed.
All I can say is, if she posted on here saying she was annoyed that Spanish would never be your main language- how would you feel?
I never said that you couldn't learn a language as an adult - in fact I said the opposite. However, regarding the research, I understand the sentiment Malenky, but how can modern scientific research findings/theories be "rude" (the 80s and 90s weren't the dark ages)? They are just findings based on research.. Obviously that changes all the time, but, again.. rude? No.
I, and everyone I know (even the Dutch, funnily enough!), think of it in the same way as, for example, a white person I can't ever become truly black, however much they try (clunky example, but you get the point). Like I said, fair enough, if there is now new research to show that the cut-off point is not universal, but it doesn't mean that there is clear consensus on the subject of there not being one..
I get told that I speak like a native quite often, and people are amazed to find I'm not from Britain, but as soon as I get home and relax I can let it "all hang out" a bit more, so I do have a tiny bit of an accent. Certainly if I'm furious
I would say that one part of speaking a language is in-depth knowledge of the culture, which a foreigner might lack. I certainly don't get all the references DH trots out. We had completely different telly/music/popular culture in general in my country. Historical references are hard to catch-up on. I'm trying, but still don't "get" things like what's good/bad about the Carry On films. I "get it, but at the same time I don't IYSWIM. I'm now falling off the wagon when it comes to the latest Finnish cultural references (have been here for nearly 10 years), so might fall into the gap in-between languages.
Isn't Spanish the next language most likely to taken over planes as the standard language... Or is that French?
Oh, no, sorry, that was a separate point, hence the separate post!
It wasn't intended to be addressing your point at all. And of course, scientific theories couldn't be 'rude'.
I was thinking simply about the OP, and what he's saying. And I was trying to explain that I think our general response on here, that he's expecting too much of his DP, is not unusual. Other countries might even go further and think it was really strange he didn't feel able to get more comfortable in Spanish as an adult.
OK. Sorry Malenky! And I do agree that the OP is a bit rude -- an possibly a bit unhinged--
Not to worry - I wasn't very clear! And I realize it came across as if I were knocking what your DH says, which I'm not at all.
I am a foreign lady with an English DP and I am completely failing to see what your problem exactly is chicoingles. Rather than embracing the diversity that the relationship you're in brings to your life, you seem to resent it.
There are times when we do talk in Spanish (when I don't want anyone else to understand what I'm talking about)
That's just rude. My DC are completely bilingual and I've always made it very clear that you do not exclude people from conversation by speaking a language they don't understand. I only ever talk to them in my native tongue, unless we are with other people who don't speak it. If I want to say something that I don't want anyone else to understand, then I wait until I have a private moment.
I think you need to develop a healthier attitude towards languages before you have children.
For one thing, I think it is going to be very, very difficult to bring the children up bilingual if their father has such a negative attitude towards their mother's language. OPOL demands a huge commitment by the parent of the minority language: how do you expect your dp to keep that up if she is not allowed to use her language until they are born?
well, now I am back in your time zone I see the thread has grown and it is still unanimous in deciding that YABU!
Just want to add to all the other examples given above that I too have been in 2 long term bilingual relationships, where, and in both cases, both languages were spoken. I also have several bi-lingual couple friends, and in my 11 years in this country have been friends with a great great many more, ALL of which use/d both languages. In fact I have NEVER heard of, and refuse to believe, that there are some bi-lingual couples, who both understand each others languages, where only one language is spoken. Your idea that this seems to go on all the time, is therefore quite wrong. If you really do know a couple like this, I would suggest that their relationship probably wont last very long.
OP - you are not the yoni bloke by any chance?
I think that this is all a wind up.
My DH is Danish, brought up bilingual (in Denmark) as his mother is English. He has now lived in the UK for over half his life. He speaks perfect English, no accent (unlike his brother, who had the same upbringing but lives in Denmark).
We talk to each other in English, because I don't understand much Danish - I wish I did, but finding somewhere to learn it has proven really difficult. I would never seek to prevent him speaking Danish - why would I? It is part of who he is. Now we have DS, DH speaks to him in Danish, so hopefully DS will grow up bilingual.
Different languages have different words/ concepts, so (according to DH) some ideas are easier to express in one language than the other - my PIL certainly used this to great effect, they would switch between languages, often mid-sentence, if they could express themselves more clearly in the other language.
Being bilingual is an amazing skill, I cannot understand why you would seek to limit your DP by preventing her speaking her mother tongue. However, you may find that the longer you live in the UK, the more your DP's English improves - DH says he certainly didn't speak it so well, or without an accent when he moved here, but that is some 20ish years ago.
TheDoctrineOfAllan - I don't know how long they've been together but I'd say about 6 years or so. As far as I know from what she's told me he only knows a few swear words in Polish. When I said a few things I know in Polish, she said I know more Polish than him. So she will be using English literally all the time apart from when she goes back to see her family in Poland which is rarely according to what she's told me.
Thanks for your answer.
Can you also answer my question about why how you want her to communicate is more important than how she wants to communicate?
I would rather she spoke to me in whatever language she felt more comfortable with, which will more than likely be Spanish as this is her native language.
I would rather she spoke to me in whatever language she felt more comfortable with, which will more than likely be Spanish as this is her native language.
So what is the point of this thread, then?
I think the OP might be sad, because his DP won't ever share the same native language and (historical) cultural references, so there will always be a barrier there (however tiny). Is that right, OP?
If that's the case, OP, then I sort of understand you, but at the same time, I feel that the good things about an intercultural relationship outweigh the negatives (or at least neutralise them).
But surely it's pretty obvious when you marry a "foreigner" that you won't share the same language or cultural references. Bit late to start thinking about it now...
Sure, Jinsei. I think so too. Doesn't mean that you couldn't be a teeny tiny bit sad about it. Starting a thread about it on mumsnet, however, means that it might be an unhealthily big issue to the OP, which could indicate a problematic relationship as a whole.
Sad, yes - perhaps. But annoyed??!
Oh, right, yes, I had forgotten about that initial wording.. no, not annoyed. Larger problems below the surface is my guess.
But, but, but...
What is the OP actually talking about?
I still don't understand!
"...I sometimes just feel I would like it if she spoke in English all the time."
I think you need to find out why you sometimes feel like this. What would be different if she spoke in English all the time and why would that be better?Does it feel as if there is a part of her which you don't really know because it is too foreign? I have been with men whose mother tongue was not English and I have never wished they would stick to English all the time. I suppose it just has never crossed my mind that it would be a problem so long as I could understand what was being said.
I could understand it if you worried that her language acquisition had stagnated and that this was limiting her in some way, perhaps professionally or otherwise in her daily life - but you say she taught English in Spain when you met, speaks without a foreign accent and speaks English better than you speak Spanish.
but OP, you are comparing a non bilingual couple - your friend CANT communicate in her own language because her partner wouldnt understand her - That is entirely different from your situation where you and your DP both speak each others language but you just WANT her not to speak her own because you prefer it that way.
Yes, to answer your OP, English will become totally natural to her, maybe it already is but her inner being was largely formed by her childhood and young adult years in Spain. That is who she is and she will probably never want to let go of that. I think really only people who are leaving bad experiences behind are likely to be willing to give up their native language completely. If you spoke no Spanish, of course she would be speaking to you entirely in English, she would have no choice but since you speak Spanish well, she is not excluding you by speaking her mother tongue, rather it is inclusive, it is something you share.
Is this still going?! You people are very patient. What a load of shite.
OPs fantasy Spanish GF has a sexy accent but speaks English at all times and is completely culturally English
His reality GF wishes to retain her own language & culture as well as embrace his. She has even had the effrontery to lose the sexy accent.
That's what he's annoyed about
Summed up Madonna- nothing more to add- except he is lucky she puts up with him.
"I think really only people who are leaving bad experiences behind are likely to be willing to give up their native language completely."
I think this is right. The adults I know who have adopted a language that they didn't learn in early childhood as their first language all grew up in traumatic/dysfunctional families.
I think Madonna has nailed it.
He likes her sexy looks, the accent was "exotic" when they just met. But now, he just cant be bothered about the Spanishnes about her. It is his true xenophobe resurfacing.
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