What Annoys Me The Most About Some Bilingual People

There's no doubt it is a great advantage to be able to speak more than one language.


You are able to communicate and connect with that much more people.

However, as someone who is only familiar with her native language, I am quickly deterred by some of the actions I see those who are bilingual do.

What Annoys Me The Most About Some Bilingual People

They come across as rude

Switching from one language to another in conversation.

Out of the many examples I can give, I will share one with you.


There was this one time me and these two other young women were walking off of our College campus. They were African girls from the same country. We were all laughing and speaking to each other in English. Before I knew it they started speaking in their language together. The five minutes that I stayed walking with them felt even longer. I felt as if I were an alien. I was being excluded. I waved my hand in the air and said "See you in class tomorrow" and left.

After class, they always asked me to wait for them. When they did, I acted as if I had to immediately leave. I never wanted to feel as awkward as I did that day.

Of course as mentioned before, that wasn't the first occasion where a similar encounter took place.

I find it completely rude for people to switch from one language to another, in front of someone they know that doesn't speak or understand it.

Depending on the vibe I feel, I get a sense that I am being spoken about. Sometimes you can just feel in the air when there is negativity floating around.

Of course, I don't jump to any conclusions until my suspicions are confirmed.

Related video:


They are more friendly towards their own

Friendly smiles and greetings.

There was this time I went to a supermarket close to where I live. I was familiar with the cashier because it wasn't the first time she dealt with me as a customer. I observed that she would smile and greet anyone who appeared to be Spanish and start speaking to them in her language as she rang up and bagged their items. I am American and being so, she didn't greet me at all. She rang me up and before I knew it, I was out of the store. I observed her giving the same treatment to other customers who were not Spanish.

Lets just give this woman the benefit of the doubt, lets say she knew her language far better than English. I am not saying to carry on a conversation with me as she did with others, but at least give me a friendly greeting "Hello", or "Have a great day!"

The same scenarios played itself out with other ethnic groups I have encountered throughout life, several times on different occasions.

The receptionist at the medical center I went to was Russian and seemed to only speak to those who were. The people that were not, she spoke to them harshly and in a dismissive tone. She didn't try to hide her attitude either, it was blatantly obvious she had a disdain against those who didn't share her cultural background and language.

I am a person that likes to treat every one the same.
I am also someone who takes into account how the actions I exhibit may be interpreted by someone else.

Perhaps, some of these bilingual people may operate this way subconsciously (without intending to cause harm), while others may do it because they are discriminatory towards those who are not their own.

Whatever the reason is, the affect still weighs the same because there is no taking away what comes across as rude.


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What Guys Said 16

  • When I was in high school the Mexican girls used to bully me for not knowing how to speak Spanish. They did the same to my mother too when she was in high school. Needless to say, it made me prefer the White girls instead. Mexicans can be very mean to their own kind, particularly those from Mexico toward those who are more Americanized. A lot of it was through the ways you listed, so I strongly agree with this take.

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  • I can't help it when I'm in front of my Hispanic friends. I know it might seem rude or funny to black friends, but I value Hispanics as worthy of speaking to in their language too.

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  • I have to agree with some of that, and I find that those who are rude don't speak ANY language particularly well. These are not the highly educated scholars with classical educations that speak four languages fluently. No, they tend to be low-brow, low-class individuals who can't really speak English, and can't really speak Spanish (or whatever).

    They also tend to be louder, for some reason. Like people shouting across the store at each other in another language... I don't care what your original language is, when you came to the country, or what your culture is. That's rude. No, childish would be a better word. I'd be committing the same faux pas if I shouted across the store in English.

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  • I'm multilingual. My wife too, so is my son. We'll often switch languages when talking to each other. No problem.
    We always talk (as much as we can) the language of the person we're dealing with. I pity the people who try to speak my native language (with difficulties) thus I'll use their language when I can.

    But indeed, some employees speaking the same native language will tend to use that.
    But wait until you go to Switzerland or to Quebec. (Or to some known Flemish cities) You'll feel worse.

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  • I agree with that, and I'm bilingual.
    I hate it when I enter a store or some place, and there's a Latino, and if they realize I'm Spanish, they'll start speaking in Spanish, and I don't like that, especially if there's other people there, people that don't understand Spanish. It's rude cause it's like pushing them away from the conversation.

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  • I would agree on first point. Its just plain rude to speak in a different language when you are with someone esle. Its just basic manners.

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  • I don't do that but once a German girl did that to me and was speaking to her friend and I told her by the way I can speak german she was really really embarrass lmao

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  • Reading a few comments i noticed very clearly that everyone takes this MyTake in diff ways. People who move out of their countries, they do it beacuse they're seeking for a better life style, a place where is safe and, a place who is better economically. Unfortunately the language is a huge barrier for many of us and we can't help but to speak out own language when we are around people that speak the same language. Why? Because it's just easier to speak our own language and we dont have to think about what to say or what words to use to express what we want to say, and with that comes our culture. We have our own culture and everyone should respect it instead of telling us to change it and get use to the culture that the country we now live in has. We were raised in a different way and we can't get used to the new culture in a year. So, for those who say "go back to your country, why did you move if you dont speak the language, go back to where you came from" those people haven't lived what some of us had to go through and they haven't left their families and liives behind just to be safer and of course to have a better lifestyle like I said before. If the language wasn't a barrier and we all spoke the same then things would be much easier for everyone.
    As for your experience with those 2 girls, you could've just said " sorry girls I dont feel comfortable when you guys speak your language cause blablabla can you speak english?" And you wouldn't have felt awkward again.

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    • Thanks for ur response.
      It is an overview of the perspective some people provided here and your response to it.
      I see the viewpoint but like I've said to others and in this article there are two types of bilingual people. Those who do things subconsciously (without intending to cause harm) which is the type of person you just described and those who actually are discriminatory or plain rude (and just don't care). Just as there are rude people who speak only one language there are those who are bilingual who are that way as well. We can try our best to act as if that doesn't exist and justify it but the reality of it is the world isn't perfect. Some people are just rude and want to cause harm.
      Now the African girls were sweet (and weren't trying to cause harm) but we're being rude subconsciously. I'm not about to tell someone I only speak with after class and before it not to speak their language in front of me. They have every right to do so. We were not close on that level.

    • Lol that's true. And i completely agree with you!👍

  • I've witness the same thing Stacyzee. And lots of people who are bilingual do this. Especially those who are not native English speakers.

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  • Get over it.

    Your fault for living in such a multicultural society.

    I speak franglais with my siblings all the time.

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    • Being a londoner I hear dozens of different languages each day.

      Some of them I understand, most of them I don't... I don't get into a hissy fit and write a MyTake expressing my bitterness at not taking the initiative of learning and enjoy language.

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    • @Oram52 No one I know cares when someone speaks another language.

      Your shinny white knight has arrived OP.

    • Yes another intellectual come back.

      Yes no one cares when they speak Polish or another language, EXCEPT, what OP specifically emphacized. When they are in a group or together, it is considered rude in UK that they start speaking in another language when someone else is with them. It is considered bad manners, and it is.

  • I can't stand it either, I think it is extremely rude and disrespectful. If you wanted to speak ur native tongue, then you should of stayed where you came from. If your in America, then speak English, if your in the UK, GB, Scottland, then speak English. If you are in Mexico, China, Germany then speak your own language there. But please quit being disrespectful to those around you. I tend to get rude to people who do this.

    The people that I find are the worst at doing this in the US is Middle Eastern folks, Spanish and Chinese people. They are the worst, actually out of all of those Middle Eastern people are the worst. I can't stand any Middle Eastern people, they are the most disrespectful people that I have ever encountered, and not only that they don't take showers, they do strange things at night and they will NEVER ever TIP any American for service they have done for them.

    Don't ask me how I know so much about foreigners, but I've had enough of them to last me a lifetime.

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  • Getoverit

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    • I have the right to freedom of speech don't i? If u don't like it, don't read.
      Being childish and saying "get over it" isn't going to silence me.

    • he has the right to be childish, it is not hate speech so it is freedom of speech.

    • I'd hate to be childish at 36 but you're right can't hide regression or someones childish mockery.

  • Especially at your work, you go over there to do something and when your leaving they start talking in the other language and one starts laughing while the other gets wide eyed like they said something messed up, then he looks over at you and stares.

    Or when your working right next to each other and you mess up, theyll say "its okay" but then excitedly turn to their Spanish coworker and speak Spanish , yell out your name, speak more Spanish, then yell "FIRE ME!!" Then bust out laughing.

    I know Spanish speakers who dont look like they speak Spanish and they always complain their coworkers talk shit about them in Spanish right in front of them. The look on their face is priceless when they realize they can speak Spanish too.

    Or your in a conversation and right after you talk his friends talk to him in Spanish and they all talk in Spanish and dont translate what their saying. But they do translate when they said something they want you to know.

    I understand you'll speak your native language to native speakers but there's a difference between havin it being normal and having it be rude.

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  • media.giphy.com/media/3o7abAvdkL881lbMPe/giphy.gif
    What can I say? If you knew another language you'd understand. We can't help it.

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  • I'm bilingual too, but very few people speak my native language, and I am much more comfortable with English. And I only converse in my native language with my family and a few close friends.

    I get where you are coming from, though.

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  • Bilinguals have a superiority complex... I'm multilingual... I'd know

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What Girls Said 8

  • am trilingual :/
    and i make sure not to make other people uncomfortable like you stated in #1
    and when it comes to the second point... nah... am not friendly towards my own am friendly only towards the ones who deserve it ;)

    good take by the way

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  • it's a bit generalising, but these issues can pop up if the bilingual person is inconsiderate, of course.

    not all of them are like that though so I'm sorry stacyzee i gotta say #generalisation653 :P forreal though, it isn't as common as id expect- the rudeness. one i dont like however is when I'm at my hairdresser [she's indian], she'll start talking to her indian colleagues and clients in front of everyone else. i think it's worst in a professional setting, so i completely see where ur coming from.

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    • There's nothing generalizing about an article that clearly states what I am speaking about is applicable to some bilingual people. That word is even in the headline of this article.

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    • thank you for that insight.
      and if you'd like to take that direction, messages dont lie either.

    • Don't know what you're talking about. We've never spoken. You're just the child that feels the need to have the last word. Have it. I'm done.

  • The sense of community when another speaks your language makes you discomfort worth it lol

    It gets kind of annoying how familiar people I've never met get with me. I was walking down the sidewalk and a woman pulled me to the side to translate a letter from her renter. Then she asked me about how to deal with her situation but I suck at my language so I didn't know how to tell her I'm too young to know jack shit about renting !

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  • I'm trilingual myself (I don't know if my English is considered good enough by native speakers to be considered my 3rd language, but still) and I want to point out that not all of us do these things.
    For the 1st point, when we (as in me and my boyfriend) were hosted by a Polish family (in Poland, ofc) they just started talking in Polish to each other and flat out ignored us. So we started to talk to each other in Hungarian and they found it very rude from our side. Uhm hello, you guys were talking in Polish, why can't we communicate in our language?
    As for the second point, when I was with the class on a changing experience program with a high school from Gyula (Hungary) they looked down on us and told us that we can't speak Hungarian. We are Hungarians as well and they looked down on us because we weren't born in Hungary like them.

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  • I get what you're saying, but, you should cut people at work a little slack. The people the clerk was greeting in Spanish were probably pretty close friends or even family -- I know the kind of neighborhood you're talking about, and it really *does* tend to be one of those "everybody knows everybody" kinds of things.
    And work is... well, work. It can get monotonous, and in NYC there REALLY isn't a culture of greeting everyone with a big smile. It's the city -- people just want to get in, get their shit and get out.
    Honestly, I think more people would get annoyed if there were too many pleasantries, since there's already way too much waiting in NYC as it is. I mean, whenever I've been in a Gristede's in midtown, people in line get murder-eyes if the clerks have more than 1 or 2 lines of conversation with anyone, lol.

    __

    Also -- The Russian language has a fundamentally different tonal structure. Russians don't raise and lower their voices or tones in the same way Americans do -- so, LOTS of Americans think that Russians are talking in a "rude tone of voice" when in fact they aren't at all.
    (More familiarly, Americans tend to make the same mistake when hearing perfectly polite conversation in Chinese. As one of my Chinese American girlfriends put it once, "Cantonese is screaming; Mandarin is just yelling."

    @sovetskii13 is a native speaker of Russian, so, he should be able to confirm what I'm saying here.

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    • I remember having a Spanish friend who was bilingual who agreed with me on this issue. As much as people want to make excuses for others or paint them in a acceptable light , the fact of the matter is there is such a thing called discrimination. Unfortunately, I've been made to feel that way by some bilingual people. Not all of them have that intent (I can tell the ones that are harmless). But let's not sit here and act like we live in a perfect world where everybody loves everybody.

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    • *there's a way you conduct

    • Like I said, I'm totally on board with you here. (:

      I just don't let it bother me when people cop an attitude -- especially at no-frills discount stores. Jobs at discount stores really suck, and I'm well aware of that.
      Not gna let it affect *my* day.

  • I think you re exaggerating and being too sensitive.
    I am somewhat trilingual and the things you mentioned aren t really done on person.
    like in my country we all use the 3 languages in our conversation creating somewhat a 3rd language a slang.
    Like the easiest example to mention in lebanese is: Hi kific cv? where hi is English
    kific arabic and cv french.
    so when we re used to speak like that it s hard to exclusively speak one language cause we are used to mixing it up.
    reason why when we find someone like us, we tendto talk to him likw that.
    it s like if you know your mother tongue and learned a new language but you re not as fluent in it. so when someone speaks your mother tongue you tend to speak it with him.

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    • on purpose**

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    • Sorry for the typos I hope u can still understand. I am using a phone with tiny keys.

    • lol no worries I didn t notice shit and I do far worse on a daily basis

  • Well, i didn't know we were supposed to pussy foot around people and make them feel like we cared about them all the time because they were so sensitive...😏
    Please, what's next? Reasons why I hate people who drive a Porsche?
    It's very understandable that people are going to use a skill when it benefits them. You probably don't understand but most of these bilingual people were brought up with parents who spoke to them in their native tongue. Why would they need to think about other people's sensitive feelings when it doesn't even matter. It's not like they are using a superpower and you feel excluded.
    Let me explain it to you in simple words, if one is living somewhere where one is part of a minority, one will try to connect to others who are part of that minority because one feels vulnerable.
    You'd do the same if you lived in another part of this world where you were part of a minority. You'd be much friendlier to someone who came from north America than someone who came from, let's say china. This is very normal. If you want to experience the same then move to china and we'll talk again... 😏

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    • I am speaking about some bilingual people which I made clear from the title. If you don't do these things, then don't take offense to it. It's just that simple. Acting the way you are now, just confirms that you are those who are ignorant who lack proper self conduct.
      If someone made a take about "The Things I Hate About Some Women" why would I get all hot in my panties about it? Unless I'm I am the woman in question guilty of those actions.
      The fact is there are some rude bilingual people as well as those who speak only one language. I am simply just sharing my experiences with those who lack etiquette which you seem to.
      The thing is I live in America where there's something called diversity.
      I treat all people equal.
      I don't show favoritism to someone just because they are my race.
      People are people.

    • As I already explained, as long as you live in your familiar environment where you were brought up you don't feel anything toward the people around you because you are just one of them. But if you move to another part where you are not one of them and the people living there don't speak your language you will automatically feel connected to someone who is from your original country because you will have many things in common. I have experienced this many times and have observed it in others as well. You won't really understand this until you are in this particular situation where you are part of a minority. It's not rude, it's just like a "I'm in the same boat as you" gesture when one is friendlier.

    • Well, that's a completely different scenario.

      I get that you are trying to provide me a perspective.
      I understand it completely.
      However, lets be realistic just as there are rude people that speak only one language there are those who are bilingual that are plain rude.
      I've unfortunately had to encounter them.
      I'm not saying all bilinguals have intentions to be disrespectful, but there are just those who seem not to care. They go out of their way to be friendly towards their own, and are cold towards others.

  • I don't understand why people feel so strongly about this. I guess it's my culture. Being Puerto Rican and Jamaican I understand why these people are the way they are. No, they aren't talking about you and no it wasn't their intentions to make you uncomfortable.

    When you know more than one language and especially if the other is your native tongue sometimes it just happens. It's not easy to constantly think about what you want to say and then translate it.

    My grandmother is Puerto Rican. When she speaks to me she'll try to incorporate Spanish words so I can learn but also she wants to feel connected in an easier way.

    Imagine you learned how to speak French and moved to France. I'm certain you'd be relieved and a little happy whenever you came across a Native English speaker, or just an English speaker at all. When you think you think in English right? When these people think they think in their native tongue and translate it to English so you could understand. It's not an easy thing to do 24/7.

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    • Nice perspective but examples given shows how these people appear rude. Ignoring someone and not greeting them when ur job is customer service is rude , there's no excuse. Only greeting ur own and being friendly goes beyond just being happy to see someone that speaks ur language.

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    • @Other_Tommy_Wiseau Sounds awesome! I really would like to explore my own country first especially the mountains. I've only been to a few states but I have friends that travel a lot and seeing all their pictures and videos of those places is breathtaking. This is why I need college lol. I've gotta get me a good job first because I can't do diddly squat.

    • Yeah, that's how I got to go to Italy in the 1st place. I became fluent in the language and studied abroad. I guess it depends on where you live, but I'd say take a road trip just to see how far you get. I did that for graduation and got to north Dakota from NJ. I didn't try to speed through it, either. It was fun

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