41

I live in a large shared house with with several roommates. The company that owns the house tries to rent it out to international people (however I am not international myself). If the landlords like to get international tenants, then you can fully expect the others to not speak English. From the point of view that this is one of your "issues", the simple ...


38

Here's what I would say: You speak [whatever language]? How lucky I am! I love learning new languages. Do you mind if we try speaking in [whatever language]? Would be great for me if I could practice. Helped me maaany times (and I guess that you really do love learning languages, so nothing bad is done there). I have been expatriated in Hungary for the ...


32

It's important for the translator to not be part of the conversation. I've used a translator many, many times -- for different languages and many circumstances. I've developed a kind of sense for when a translation is going good or not. If a translation is not going well, you might as well go home. I have had bad translators, and they pretty much waste ...


19

After your edit, I think your best course of action is to address this part first: I think what I find uncomfortable about it is I don't know how serious their business is (since I can't understand any). That would bother me too. Using a common area for serious things from time to time is ok, but since you don't know if you need to be quiet or not each ...


17

So, I'm guessing from your comments you have no idea why your co-worker is showing this behavior. This means you might want to ask them, to get a conversation about the behavior going. Not in a confrontational way though! Include in your 'conversation starter': One or two examples of his behavior, and how this bothers you. Describe the behaviour ...


16

I'm not sure but, based on what you've said, I might recommend slightly different phrasing. I talk in a slight dialect (Norddeutsch), speak very fast and often kind of unclear. Even other Germans occasionally have a hard time understanding me. While this makes sense as a reason for you to not want to talk in German with non-native speakers, people with low ...


16

I had a roommate for a year who was deaf and I didn't ever learn ASL! We didn't communicate a whole lot but we certainly did have to talk from time to time. The various solutions we used will work well for you, too... and they all pretty much come down to the same thing - write it down. If you're not in the same place, communicate the way you're used to. ...


16

People (especially co-workers) who behave like that are just willing to do more. They just don't want to stop working, and don't want to waste time waiting for an answer. They're on their way, and nothing/nobody must slow them down. +1, on one side. -1, on the other side. From my experience, and that how I handled them, it's important to show them the side ...


15

As an American, having been in the situation, it's a bit of a blind spot... American's have a pretty huge luxury language wise. We're a rather large country, so you can drive a good several hundred miles and people speak the same language. And when we travel over seas people seem to make an effort to speak "our English" I'm not saying it's right, I'm ...


15

I know this might have to be dependent on context, but I have met people who speak English as a second language, and who have introduced themselves by saying Hello, my name is ______, it's very nice to meet you. Please forgive me but I am just learning English and at times I might ask you for clarification. This way, you can communicate that you are ...


14

I'm concerned whether it is rude of me to post when my English needs a lot of help. No, it's not. It's never rude if you are trying to the best of your ability. Nobody is perfect, and for the majority of people, English is not a native language. It would be rude to expect everybody else to speak your language, it's pretty much the opposite of rude to try ...


14

Disclaimer: I know nothing about playing, reading, or teaching music. But I have had to use translators in my work. TL;DR: Train the mother. It's helpful to avoid asking as many open-ended questions as possible at first. (Open-ended questions are those that require more than a yes/no/single word response.) Asking closed-ended questions requires exact ...


9

I appreciate your sporting willingness to teach the student the piano under these challenging circumstances. The success of such communication entirely through a translator in this situation depends very much on (1) the mother's understanding of English being adequate for her to translate your statements/ questions accurately to the student and (2) the ...


9

Hand motions Most Americans really only speak English and only to other Americans, so they're not used to this situation. There's also a cultural stereotype that it's rude to speak slowly as it can be seen insulting to the listeners' intelligence. So, even if you ask an American to speak more slowly, they might accidentally speed back up. A good way to ...


8

I have the impression you are mainly inconvenienced by their meetings because you are trying not to disturb them and the foreign languages bother you because you feel you need to socialize with your room mates. If this is true, then the simple solution to this is to just use the common room as you would otherwise. It's a common room. It's your good right to ...


7

I'd say the thing is they probably do want to learn English, so may not want to go to their native language. So having them speak it will help that. If someone is not a native speaker don't be afraid to say to them something like Could you repeat that a bit more slowly/clearly? If you need a reason you could add I'm a little hard of hearing Or ask ...


7

It's not necessarily, rude, but it can be very difficult for other users of the community to understand. On any sort of network that uses a single-language, such as Stack Exchange, posts that don't demonstrate a native proficiency of the language can often get mixed reception. What this means, is that some people will appreciate the post, whereas others ...


7

If you're in the USA, where most of the country only knows English (and thus have never experienced the reverse situation), there probably isn't a lot you can do. For Monolingual English speakers in the US, their main experience with people who don't use the language very well has been with people who are either mentally challenged, from a non-favored ...


7

About occupying common spaces: are they preventing you from using this space when you need them often? Then you should politely tell them, and politely agree to fairly distribute the usage time, fairly sharing the space so you both can do what you need to do at the same time... About unpleasant additional noise: is this noise really loud? Then you should ...


7

First, this is mostly the guide's job. If the same person keeps doing things like this, you could say to the guide, one-on-one, that this person's behaviour is disrupting your learning and could the guide please make the person stop. You would not be wrong to do so. But before you ask the guide to handle the recurring actions by different people, can I ...


6

Learning how to understand a new language with native speakers is often difficult. what others have said about Americans associating speaking slowly with treating someone as less intelligent is true, and is another factor. (Your written English is very good, though; congratulations!) When a native speaker (of any language; tagalog, french, arabic, welsh, ...


6

I think you might be struggling with picking your 'target audience' for your practices. You said you would like people to 'just have a conversation with you'. But if there's a language barrier involved, a conversation isn't something you 'just' have, it becomes something that actually takes a lot of effort. Let me give you a few examples: I've worked ...


5

As I've faced similar challenges in the past, I'll talk from my experience. There's no magic solution for avoiding the situation. English isn't your primary language, and people should respect that. Thus, if you want to "disclosure" that to your online friends that your English isn't perfect, a reasonable solution could be politely telling them ...


5

Example, if they say something really fast or a sentence which have a few words you can't understand, ask them clarify what they mean and give the reason that you're new to English as a language. Another way would be to ask questions pertaining to the subject of the conversation which show intelligence and higher thinking (etc etc) which will show that you ...


4

I work in a safety-critical position in inner London. Given the multiculturality around there, we quite often get children or sometimes entire families who speak no English and who we have to use a translator for. Side note: this works just as well for non-verbal translators, such as sign language, as it does for verbal translators - though I tend to find ...


4

I've personally always struggled with understanding people. I don't have a hearing problem, but I do have issue parsing the sound that I hear (even in my own native language). I'm well aware of the awkwardness that entails having to ask someone to repeat the same thing several times. They are likely to get annoyed, feeling that you're the problem. The ...


4

While the other answers focus on the situation where the other person wants to practice speaking English, I want to add another perspective: If the person you talk to is (almost) fluent in English, conversing with you in German might be far more tiring for him than English, e.g. because it takes you longer to form setences, he has trouble understanding your ...


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