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to want to drop a foreign friend?

(328 Posts)
livingintheeast Tue 30-Oct-12 20:58:19

Firstly let me get one thing straight - I am not a rascist and I have a foreign mother (a genuine one not one of those that people sometimes invent just to prove how PC they are). It is a real bugbear of mine that my foreign friend will constantly talk to her lo in their mother tongue. They are both perfectly capable of speaking english - the mother talks to me/my lo in english and the lo talks to me/my lo in english. Personally I find it blooming rude and so irriatating that I'm not sure I want to be around them much at all. Even my lo has resorted to asking me (in her 2.5 year old way) what they are saying - and I don't have a clue! I know my friend wants her lo (also 2.5) to know her mother tongue but surely on a playdate, with english people etc it's just common courtesy to speak in english. AIBU?

Ouluckyduck Tue 30-Oct-12 21:00:59

Yabu, totally. Why do you need to know what they are saying anyway? She is doing what you are meant to do to raise your child bilingually.

sausagesandwich34 Tue 30-Oct-12 21:02:03


if you want a child to be bi-lingual it's important to use the language

it may well be one language with mum, one language with dad and at 2.5 it's very easy t get confused so for consistency then she should be talking to her DC in her mother tongue

KenAdams Tue 30-Oct-12 21:03:02

Erm, surely that's how you raise a bilingual child? My parents speak a different language and talk to my lo solely in that language at my request so that she can learn it.

AuntFini Tue 30-Oct-12 21:04:04

YABU. She is trying to raise her child bilingually. You could do with supporting her, as she's meant to be your friend. I can't imagine ever wanting to drop a friend over something like this! If it's bothering you, why don't you ask her if when you're all together, could you speak English? It doesn't have to mean the friendship is just over, she can't mean that much to you...

Rollmops Tue 30-Oct-12 21:04:44

YABU. She is teaching her child her mother tongue, what on earth could be wrong with that, specially if the child can converse, if you will. in English as well.
Grow up.

livingintheeast Tue 30-Oct-12 21:05:00

So for the few hours we are playdating, it's unreasonabel to expect them to talk english? For example, her lo did something at my house, I said to my friend "it's ok I don't mind" and she said "but Ive already told her she can't". But I didnt understand a word!!! It's like having a really disjointed conversation. My mother is foreign, her and my nan would speak spanish all the time UNLESS there were others present who couldnt speak.

OTheEldritchManateesOfMadness Tue 30-Oct-12 21:05:11

Yabu and a bit strange. If her child is the same age as yours it's only going to be stuff like 'Oh look, a bird' or 'No dear, dog poo is not for rolling in' anyway so who cares what language she says it in?

It's not like she's excluding you from UN peace talks or something hmm

MousyMouse Tue 30-Oct-12 21:06:01


HeinousHecate Tue 30-Oct-12 21:07:42

I think you are not being unreasonable to find it rude.

I think it is very rude to speak in a language that people you are with don't understand (if you speak the language that they do understand, which she and her child do)

I think it is unacceptable.

The child is not going to be harmed by an hour speaking english on a playdate.

I was once sitting with some of my husband's friends and they were all chatting away in kikuyu and I couldn't understand anything. I sat there in silence, feeling awful. My husband kept answering them in english and eventually they took the hint and switched to english.

It is rude to speak in a language that excludes someone.

DolomitesDonkey Tue 30-Oct-12 21:08:01


PurplePidjInAPointyHat Tue 30-Oct-12 21:10:47

Yanbu. In company it is generally considered courteous to communicate in whichever language all parties understand.

I've worked with people of many nationalities, and seen one person tell another off (both same common non-English language) for speaking in the common language in front of me. Many occasions, socially and professionally. I've also dug up my rusty schoolgirl french in order to do the same (Polish colleague in Latvia!)

honeytea Tue 30-Oct-12 21:10:50

YABU and really small minded. It is really important to speak only one language per parent to a child.

It is also a great oppertunity for your DC to pick up some basics in another language, why don't you ask your friend to teach your DC some songs in her mother tongue?

I have friends that are Dutch, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, and I'm british, we all speak to our kids in our mother tongue, I even speak to the small children in English even if they don't have English as a home language because kids are little sponges and pick up languges so easilly.

Are you one of those people who always think that people are laughing at you if you? I am sure that your friend is saying nothing more interesting than "don't do that" or "do you need a wee?" to her child.

usuallydormant Tue 30-Oct-12 21:11:44

YABVU. Just tell your little one that her friend and her mummy speak their own language together. A good way of introducing her to other lanuages and the concept that not everyone speaks just one language.

It's the normal way to bring up bilingual children. I just explain to my friends children that we speak a different language at home. We do use the other language if those around us are part of the conversation but if we are talking directly to each other, it's a totally different issue. It takes a lot of effort to bring up a bilingual child, try to support your friend and use it as a great lesson for your child, rather than as rudeness.

surroundedbyblondes Tue 30-Oct-12 21:11:45

YABU. She has every right to speak her own language with her DC without you getting all arsey about it.

livingintheeast Tue 30-Oct-12 21:12:56

What is OPOL?

OTheEldritchManateesOfMadness: I also think it's a bit rude to say I am "strange", but you are entitled to your opinion of my reasonableness, which is what I asked for.

riksti Tue 30-Oct-12 21:13:00

I'm assuming your mother and nan already knew the language. The 2.5 year old doesn't really.

I speak to my 2-year-old in my language. That's the only way I can ensure that she has even a passive understanding of it since I don't know anyone within a hundred miles who can speak my language. Once she has an understanding of the fact that her mother speaks one language and her dad and friends speak another then we can start mixing it, not before.

I don't think my friends mind. After all... what could i possibly be saying to a two-year-old that is so important for them to understand?

squeakytoy Tue 30-Oct-12 21:14:10

I dont think you are being unreasonable at all. It is rude when she is doing it knowing full well that you dont understand what she is saying.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 30-Oct-12 21:14:30

YANBU - it isn't too much to expect your friend to speak in english whilst she is with you.

You're not saying she shouldn't raise her daughter bilingually. That is admirable and completely fine. But surely it is common courtesy to speak a shared language when in company?

flossy101 Tue 30-Oct-12 21:14:55


What a silly thing to be upset about.

NosFarlotu Tue 30-Oct-12 21:16:15

I have a friend who does this, but it has never troubled me as I know she is doing it to raise her DD bilingually in a country where very few speak their language and she struggles to get her DD to use that language. I think if her DD even once got the idea she could drop that language and speak with her Mum in English then she would never speak her Mum's language again. I would feel that it was rude in an all adult situation however if the only language everyone had in common wasn't used.

GhostShip Tue 30-Oct-12 21:17:42


I think it's rude of her to speak another language when she's out with you, when she knows you don't understand it.

An hour of speaking English isn't going to stop her child from becoming bi-lingual. In fact it might even teach her that its acceptable to be rude and ignorant buy blocking others out of conversation by using language as a barrier.

usuallydormant Tue 30-Oct-12 21:17:45

Just to add, if the kid is only 2.5 it is even more important that their mother speaks only their native language as they are only really acquiring the language at that stage and it's unlikely the child is yet fluent in each language

GhostShip Tue 30-Oct-12 21:19:02

Just to add, if the kid is only 2.5 it is even more important that their mother speaks only their native language as they are only really acquiring the language at that stage and it's unlikely the child is yet fluent in each language

Where have you learned this from?

DolomitesDonkey Tue 30-Oct-12 21:20:56

OPOL = One Parent, One Language. It means - "don't speak to a child in a language which is not your mother tongue".

For example, today whilst dropping my 2.3 year old off at creche I spoke English (3-way conversation) even though my child speaks the local language with creche. If I speak the local language it messes up all the separation he's doing in his head.

Once he's old enough to have divided the languages fully then I will be able to speak the local language and involve him. Until then, I am consistent and speak English.

It would be quite frankly like you speaking English to your child and then one day for no discernable reason, spend the day speaking to her in one of those silly "make up" languages where you add something on to the end of the word - then get frustrated when she messes up.

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