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to expect this couple to have spoken English when I was with them

(152 Posts)
OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:46:16

I was doing some work in a client's house today. Both clients were from abroad but they could both speak good English. When I was doing the work, I could hear them speaking in their native language.

I asked later if they wanted more work doing at another time. They then spoke in their language for a bit (not the first time they'd done that when I was there and with them) before answering me in English.

I do feel a bit strange when such things happen. It's happened at some other places I have worked at where conversations have happened around me in a native language.

AIBU to expect people who can speak English to speak English when I was with them?

coffeeinbed Sat 16-Nov-13 19:47:56

they were very very rude.
You speak the common language.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sat 16-Nov-13 19:48:21

Depends what sort of work you were doing. If they are your clients and are paying you they can talk in whatever language they like

OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:49:13

I was tutoring their daughter.

MushroomSoup Sat 16-Nov-13 19:49:20

Tbh I think YABU to think the world revolves around you.

Latara Sat 16-Nov-13 19:49:49

YABU - it's their own home to speak whatever language they like in; and they were employing you.

Liara Sat 16-Nov-13 19:50:36

If they were talking to each other in the background while you were working then YABVU.

They might well have been talking about something they didn't want you to overhear, or which did not concern you in any way. Why on earth would they do it in English, just so you can be nosy?

KingRollo Sat 16-Nov-13 19:50:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFarSide Sat 16-Nov-13 19:50:45


I wouldn't do it to someone and I hate it when it happens to me.

Liara Sat 16-Nov-13 19:51:26

Sorry, x-post with your explanation.

Then YABU. You should have been paying attention to their daughter, not to what they were saying.

LessMissAbs Sat 16-Nov-13 19:51:28

YABU. Its their house. They can speak whatever language they want in it to each other. I don't see why you would think this was rude, unless you are an Anglophobe.

If you don't like it, just walk out?

OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:51:30

They weren't talking directly to me but "about me". And that kind of felt strange. I'm very self conscious anyway.

OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:51:58

I had finished tutoring.

harticus Sat 16-Nov-13 19:52:26

Native English speakers do this to non-English speakers all the time.

OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:52:35

I asked them if they wanted more lessons. So I had finished.

Ruffcat Sat 16-Nov-13 19:53:10

Yanbu its very rude and excludes you from the conversation imho they were discussimg you the second time.

Lovecat Sat 16-Nov-13 19:53:12

I think it was a bit rude of them not to say 'can we discuss this between ourselves first' to you rather than just launch in in front of you, but not unreasonable for them to speak to each other in their own language.

In that situation if I was your employer I would probably want to talk to DH in private about extra work before saying yes or no, but I would have the manners to take myself off into another room first rather than using the language barrier to be private!

Rufus44 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:54:18

I think that if you need to speak in your own language because it's faster/easier then you should explain that to the third person, not doing that makes it rude in my opinion

Rufus44 Sat 16-Nov-13 19:55:14

Sorry lovecat cross post

TheDoctrineOfWho Sat 16-Nov-13 19:55:40


gloucestergirl Sat 16-Nov-13 19:55:40

It was a work situation and they obviously have a relationship with each other in their own home based on their own language. So YABU. If it was a social situation it'd be entirety different.

MMcanny Sat 16-Nov-13 19:57:19

I have friends do this even though the other language they both can speak is not their mother tongue, English is a first language for all of us but it's like they slip into this other one when they want to discuss something 'discreetly' but right in front of you. I think it is VERY rude. I keep thinking it would be amusing to learn it but not let on!

But if your employers can communicate best with each other in their native language it's not really the same.


evelynj Sat 16-Nov-13 19:57:38

YABU. They will be more comfortable talking to each other in their native Tongue. I sincerely doubt they'd have said anything that you should worry about, just try not to let it get to you. If they were discussing employing you in English, it's not like you could have contributed to the conversation (not welcomely anyway)

OrlandoWoolf Sat 16-Nov-13 19:58:38

And people don't need to be so rude on here. I know it's AIBU but it's just a question. I wondered what people thought. We had a good chat afterwards but I just wondered what people thought.

AphraBane Sat 16-Nov-13 19:59:33

Oh good grief, really get over yourself. If they're used to speaking to each other in their own language, it feels really weird, unnatural and artificial to change that to the community language. And what NoArmani said - they're your clients, they can speak Vulcan if they want as long as they pay you for your work.

Imagine the opposite situation, you live with your English DP in a different country and get someone in to do some work at home - would you really go over to that foreign language when talking to your DP the whole time the other person was in the house? Because that's just weird. I've lived for a long time in a country where English is not spoken. I have put a lot of effort into learning this other language, in fact I'm a translator. We have a lot of non-English friends and talk to them in this other language. But if a plumber or electrician asked me a question like 'do you want the socket here or there', I would probably discuss it with DH in English because that's how we talk to each other - then we would tell him/her the result of the conversation.

This kind of attitude makes you sound rather provincial and unsophisticated, I'm afraid. The British attitude to foreign languages is a bit of a joke in mainland Europe.

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