Is it offensive to people that speak a foreign language if you try to speak their language, but don't speak it well?

I speak Spanish and am around Spanish speaking people who don't speak very good English. I have a Southern accent so my Spanish sounds like a little like I'm mocking the language. But, I do know basic Spanish, which I'd like to practice speaking more , but that means speaking to people. I've taken Spanish in high school and college, but still only know basic Spanish even though I managed to do okay in the classes. So, should I just speak English to those that speak Spanish as a native language to not appear to mock the language? Or should I try my Spanish? Everytime I've used it, people seem to understand me well then me trying to understand their English. I just don't want to be offensive by not speaking it well. I find Hispanic people cool, I like Latin American culture and the food. I just sound like a redneck trying to speak Spanish. LOL.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I know what u mean I have the same problem I'm from the south and took two years of Spanish and lived in Tucson Arizona for about two years where your either learn to speak it or your really have problems with basically everyday life however I still feel like people look at me funny in the way I say somethings and even some people are surprised when they are carrying on a conversation that I can understand them because I will start laughing or will reply in Spanish but then they get quite so I don't know but I would not worry to much about it

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think especially as an native English speaker, even more so as an American (maybe not with Spanish so much), they love the effort!

    I am fluent in German and not terrible, but I do have to repeat myself to people who don't know I am American before talking to them. Even though they usually respond instantly in English, I have been told how mush they appreciate the effort to learn and speak their language with them, Germany especially as English is very prevalent.

    With this group, you should try speaking each others languages, that is how I got good, they speak English and you speak Spanish, so no one has a language advantage too much!

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What Girls Said 5

  • I don't think so. I speak English and tere are a lot if people here (US) who aren't from the Us. In fact it makes me more happy because taking he time out to try and learn about their culture and assimilate into is awesome.
    And I hear from Latino people that the best way toget good at Spanish is to speak It with native Spanish speakers. If you say something weird they typically are nice and teach you how to say it properly. They've only ever been nice when I've asked them questions.

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  • I noticed they love their culture and speaking Spanish is doing just that. They'd appreciate your efforts rather think you're just another el gringo

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  • I don't think it matters as long as you're trying and get your point across.

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  • No it's not offensive, so long as you're not making a mockery of it.

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  • I think they're flattered you want to make things easier for them by speaking their language

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What Guys Said 4

  • If you're in a Spanish speaking country than they would probably appreciate your trying to speak the language instead of assuming everyone speaks English.

    In the US, just stick to English unless they really can't understand it well. I met a latino guy who was really pissed when he went into an employment office and they greeted him in Spanish. He spoke it, but he was all "My Grandfather was born in this town and they assume I'm from Mexico".

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  • Are you offended when foreigners speak English?

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    • No but just didint know if it's different.

    • People are people, man. Outside of politics you can pretty much assume that they way you'd interpret something is how most people will interpret something.

  • Not offensive at all. It always feels good to know someone wants to learn my mother language.

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  • Just speak it. If they dont like, its their problem, not yours.

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