Should you learn your partner's native language?

I've always thought if you're going to marry someone who speaks a different language from you (as in, your language, plus another), you should learn your partners native language, but I find this isn't the case with a lot of couples in this situation. What do they do at family events where his/her family is all speaking their native toungue or when they visit their partners home countries? I mean, they can't translate everything or wouldn't that be exhausting for them.

  • You should definitely learn your partners native language
    62% (13)79% (15)70% (28)Vote
  • No, you shouldn't learn their language as long as they speak your language
    10% (2)5% (1)8% (3)Vote
  • You should learn their language only if they ask you to
    28% (6)16% (3)22% (9)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

0|0
7|7

Most Helpful Guy

  • Great question! I actually happen to be in this very situation. I am Swiss and my long-term girlfriend is Korean (not like European-Korean but really born and raised in South Korea). Since we will most likely end up getting married in a few years from now, we are both making an effort to learn each other's languages. However, especially for me, this is a real, long-term challenge because Korean is one of the most difficult languages I could have picked a girl from. If my girlfriend was, say, Norwegian, that would still be okay because I speak a Germanic language myself. If my girlfriend spoke Spanish or Italian, this would also be no big problem because in Switzerland we have about 9 years of mandatory French in school and I also had to learn classical Latin in college because I study history. But Korean is really like... woahhh it's as different from my own native tongue as it possibly could be ;-). At the same time though, this can also be great fun sometimes. My girlfriend and be are both the liberal-arts types and we can both be pretty nerdy about languages (I also major in English linguistics). So sometimes it can be tons of fun to discuss the different quirks of our respective native languages and, for example, compare them to English. Especially if you get to an advanced level in any language, it becomes tons of fun because suddenly you realize so many cultural thing hidden in this language you're learning. My girlfriend has learned so many things about Swiss and German culture and mentality, simply by studying hard and getting fluent at German.
    So while my girlfriend can now already talk to my family (and strangers) in German and even studies in German and reads academic texts in German and now slowly begins to understand bits and pieces of Swiss after only 2 years of studying the two languages, my progress with Korean has unfortunately been a little slower. I am still at an advanced beginner's stage I'd say. Partially this is because I haven't had a lot of time recently to study the language and it also doesn't come as easily to me because I don't live in Korea (I've lived there for a year but I forgot some things again). On the other hand, my girlfriend has it particularly hard because has to actually learn two languages, Swiss and German.

    So yes, I do think that you should definitely learn your partner's language. On the hand, however, I also have to admit that 80% of my girlfriend's and my communication happens in English. It's just a very

    0|0
    0|0
    • handy tool because we're both very fluent at English but, at the same time, it's neither my native tongue, nor hers. This can be very helpful in arguments for example. Because when you are in a situation where you want to just yell or speak fast, it can be very unfair if one person speak the language since birth and the other person had to learn it. It's so much harder to express yourself as a learner if emotions are involved. English solves this problem for us, because we both have to think a bit about how to express ourselves (which also takes out some emotional tension of the fight ;-)). Plus, and this is the most important reason why we'll probably stick with English for the most part of our marriage: we got to know each other in English. It would be strange to suddenly exclusively speak German or Swiss or Korean with each other. On the plus side, we can bring up our children tri-lingually, because they naturally learn Swiss and Korean and catch English "on the fly" so to speak ;-)

    • Show All
    • Yes, I definitely know about the respect issue. My friend's husbands family is very judgmental of her for not speaking their language. My friend is always going to be an other to them because of this, but he sticks up for her a lot with them, but its still and probably always will be an issue for her to gain their respect. I've personally found though when I even make an effort to speak in Spanish with her family, they tend to really admire my efforts even if I'm way off course. It's the whole idea that you are trying to relate to them and come to their level and speak on their terms instead of just come into a room and ignore them because you can't speak the same language. I guess I would see that after a while as maybe a bit rude, like you saying hello, and I just keep walking without acknowledging you. I can in an offhand way relate to your struggle a bit with Korean with me trying to learn Sign Language. Since there is no 'new' language to learn per se, its easy to pick up signs...

    • ... but the hard part is putting them to use because to literally translate sign language into English, it would translate as someone who has no grasp of the English language because the sentence structure is much different simply because it would be extremely exhausting to have to sign every single word in every sentence, so a lot is shortened and pronouns are often left out unless you're mentioning someone not in the conversation. Something like "shopping mall. Go. Time 7?" would mean "would you like to go to the mall at 7." I want so badly to sign complete sentences and to read back something that makes sense right off the bat, but that would be like me trying to force English into German and use English rules of language to define German rules of language. It just doesn't work like that. Again, a part of the learning process is adapting to and actually learning someone else's language/way of life. I'm glad you are trying. So many just don't even bother to at least try.

What Guys Said 6

  • Yes, if I ever married a girl whose native language is different than mine, I would love to learn her native language and I would also love is she learns my native language too, if she wants that of course, it's not like I'm gonna tell her "oh I learned your language now you have to learn mine" lol no, but the thing is, I love to learn languages and me being married with a girl like that would be a good reason to motivate me to learn that language.

    0|0
    0|0
  • I would pick D) - It would be nice, but isn't mandatory.

    My ex-fiance was Czech (but she spoke beautiful English), but I started to learn her language. Her mother spoke no English, nor did her sister, and I wanted to live there one day.

    She appreciated the gesture, and always helped me.

    0|1
    0|0
  • I pick none of the above, not to be annoying but I feel there's no obligation to, but to me its a nice sentiment one that shows you want to be closer to the other person (though not the only way to show this).

    1|1
    0|0
  • It would be the proper thing to do or at least to try and do.

    0|1
    0|0
  • A - but don't let them know about it. That way you can tell what they say to their family (and vice-versa) when they think you don't understand.

    0|0
    0|0
  • My brother didn't and he's married with kids. Depends if you're ever gonna use it and how often. I'd try to learn a bit.

    0|0
    0|0

What Girls Said 7

  • Depends I'd at least try to make an effort but if it's hard for me then I'll probably only know a few words and phrases. Just to make sure communication is even. This one guy tried to teach me German, German isn't easy for me but I taught him some English also so it wasn't so bad.

    1|0
    0|0
  • From my experience don't marry someone that speaks a different language. Worst decision i ever made. I've learned some of his language but it's hard to get past basics when you aren't immersed in it.

    0|1
    0|0
  • You don't have I practice it super sepoys lot but I think you should truth learn a little so that it can help with communication. Also it can how that you care enough to lean and put effort into their culture.

    0|0
    0|0
    • I'm not quite sure what this means: "You don't have I practice it super sepoys lot "

    • Show All
    • lol, I assumed it was some sort of auto correct malfunction

    • I hate my autocorrect sometimes but I know I need it.

  • Yes you should. That would make things more fun. Since if you could speak it well you could both talk to each other in that language.

    My boyfriend is Portuguese so I've been trying to learn some Portuguese.

    0|0
    0|0
  • You should at least try to learn it if you want to.

    0|0
    0|0
  • I would most definitely try to

    0|0
    0|0
  • i think you should.

    0|0
    0|0
Loading...