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AIBU for asking DH to speak English when I am around?

(157 Posts)
gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:15:44

To make this short and sweet, DH and MIL barely speak in English when I'm around. I'm left sitting there twiddling my thumbs feeling uncomfortable and excluded. So I asked DH if he can speak in English most of the time so that I feel included. Nothing. This will be a very long three weeks!


TheLovelyBoots Wed 09-Jul-14 15:16:50

I think you should make the effort to speak his mother tongue.

nomdemere Wed 09-Jul-14 15:16:50

What language do they speak? Have you tried to learn it at all?

MyFairyKing Wed 09-Jul-14 15:16:57

It depends. Have you tried to learn his mother tongue and how long have you been together?

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:18:10

I've learnt the basics and can understand some things but it's so hard and they speak very fast. I asked him to throw in some English words so that I can get the general idea but nothing.

WorraLiberty Wed 09-Jul-14 15:18:16


My MIL is Spanish and when her Sister comes to stay, they save their Spanish chats for when they are alone because they think it's rude to exclude others.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:18:39

nomdemere they speak Yoruba

UncleT Wed 09-Jul-14 15:18:42

+1 for the language question - it's not a one way street.

DidoTheDodo Wed 09-Jul-14 15:18:52

If he speaks English to you, would that exclude his mother? How much English does she speak?

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:19:35

She speaks perfect English and does speak English to me, bug to each other they only speak Yoruba.

MummyBeerest Wed 09-Jul-14 15:20:14


Probably not a popular opinion on here though.

But I have old European grandparents, and I can tell you with certainty that they're probably talking about something you don't want to hear.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:20:56

I assumed so Mummybeerest.

nomdemere Wed 09-Jul-14 15:21:08

Well, I think you have a point. When all three of you are there, conversations should include you all - that might mean him speaking to his mother in Yoruba, and filling you in in English so that you can join in. It might also mean both of them talking more slowly in Yoruba so that you can catch more of it, and get some practice.

However, you need to make sure he and his mother have plenty of time where they can chat comfortably just the two of them.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:22:03

I speak another language also but my mother and I only ever spoke in English when he was around because it's rude in our culture.. I've asked him politely more than once

DidoTheDodo Wed 09-Jul-14 15:23:17

Ah, if she speaks English then I'd say YANBU.
Otherwise I thought maybe your DH would offend one or other of you!

It must feel as though you are being excluded on purpose, regardless of the subject matter and I do think it would be kinder for your Dh and MI>L to speak in English when you are in earshot.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:23:26

nomdemere I've given them space today so that they can talk although I've heard my name mentioned a few times.. I won't ask him though as ignorance in this case is bliss

Doodleloomoo Wed 09-Jul-14 15:23:52

Yanbu. It's rude. I've heard the opposite opinion on here before, but imho they are rude and dh should have more consideration of your feelings. You've made the effort to learn a bit, but if course you won't be able to follow ans feel excluded. Have words op.

ithoughtofitfirst Wed 09-Jul-14 15:23:57

For fuck sake whatever you do do NOT learn their language because you feel obliged. I did this and it's just totally above and beyond what should be expected of you. It's actually really pathetic funny when you think about It. I am now bilingual in a failed attempt to make my mil like me. Wwwwwhatatwat.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 09-Jul-14 15:24:27

Its being very rude. You would have to be very fluent to keep up with a conversation. How would he feel if you excluded him.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:24:44

Dido I asked him to include a few words in case his mum feels more comfortable speaking in Yoruba as I know that you can't express yourself as well in your 2nd language, but not even one.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:26:14

sonlypuppyfat we had this conversation ages ago and he told me he felt awkward at a family bbq when my family were all speaking in our language.. so he knows how it feels.

NigellasDealer Wed 09-Jul-14 15:26:20

I do agree that you should learn some more Yoruba - perhaps just enough to say 'I can understand everything you say so please shut up now'

TryDrawing Wed 09-Jul-14 15:27:32

When a group of people, who speak different languages are together, the ONLY polite way to behave is to speak the language that will be best understood by all present. Dh, who is by no means a linguist, struggled his way through many stilted conversations in his extremely basic French, in order to avoid excluding my Spanish flatmate, who didn't speak English.

If he and I had been chatting away merrily in English, that would have been very rude. And he didn't even owe her the courtesy that a husband owes his wife, just general good manners.

gwhappylife Wed 09-Jul-14 15:27:42

Nigella, the little I learnt was from an app on Google play store.. he hasn't taught me and told me he won't as "we both can speak English"

NigellasDealer Wed 09-Jul-14 15:30:29

time to put your foot down gwhappylife!!
every time they start to speak yoruba, just talk over them in english and keep asking them to translate every single phrase

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