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I got an email in English from a staff member, and it turns out that he speaks the same native language as me (which is not English).

Would it be rude/appropriate to respond to the email in our native language?

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  • I’m voting to close this question because as our help center states, questions asking whether something is rude or inappropriate aren't on-topic on this site. Instead of asking whether something would be a problem, focus your question on the Interpersonal Skills (behaviors you use to interact with others and achieve certain goals) needed to resolve the situation.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 20 at 7:30

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I think it really depends on the situation. In a relatively informal setting this might be pleasantly accepted, but there are situations where it would be problematic.

In particular, I've been involved in workplace settings, with regulations requiring that all business communication is in English. One main reason given is that even in situations when you think all relevant parties speak the language, you may later on find a benefit to adding another person to the conversation, and not being able to understand the previous messages would exclude them. And if left unchecked, the use of other languages could create long-term cliques that could make other employees feel less welcome if they want to join the same project(s).

As such, I would only suggest responding in your native language (and introducing yourself as a speaker of that language) in a purely social context, either in a separate thread, or on an entirely separate platform (e.g. Slack), while keeping the original conversation in English.

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  • Particularly agree with the bit about possibly needing to add someone else to the thread later. Not being able to see how a conversation reached the point where a third person's input is needed is often a pain. Jan 20 at 7:04

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