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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 month ago

Suppose you and another person are bilingual but they don't always understand you in their preferred language. OK to switch to the other one?

ps: Both you and the other person speak the same two languages.


The only reason I have hesitated somewhat is because they're a somewhat-important businessman in my city while I'm usually seen as being just a college student. It gets extremely frustrating, especially as they often seek me out for conversation when I'm not in the mood or simply too busy to talk, yet can't find it in my heart to tell them that.

Update 2:

My hope and feeling is that if switching to the other language, maybe they'd realize I am making an effort to be courteous, even though I have no obligation, professional or otherwise, to do so. Plus the second language (Spanish if it matters) is that of their ethnicity and culture, despite having been themselves born & raised here in the USA.

Update 3:

GG is on the right track. Person and I both speak English as well as Spanish. He is Hispanic, I am not .. our English is about the same, my Spanish is better than his. I often get frustrated expressing myself to him in English, so was thinking of switching to Spanish in order to make him realize that not only do I speak both and not just a few words, but perhaps then he'd make a greater effort to understand me when conversation inevitably switches back to English. It's worth a shot though right?

6 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    I think you're grossly overthinking a not very complicated situation. Why on earth shouldn't you speak to him in  Spanish? Give it a try.

    But whatever language you speak won't make any difference to him coming to talk when you're busy.

  • 1 month ago

    If I understand your update, you think that if you switch to Spanish he'll understand that you don't feel like talking to him. I can't see how that would make him think that. 

  • Zirp
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    of course it is.  The point of communication is that the other person understands you

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Switch to whatever works.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    yeah i language switch a lot with some of my friends. they’re trying to learn english but they sometimes get confused so we just switch to russian and the convo still flows

  • 1 month ago

    Sure why not?                 

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