Don’t Speak English to Me!

What I find especially cute is how students who Major in our program really resent it when you try to speak English to them outside of the classroom.

When you say hi to them, they give you this churlish look that seems to say, “What are you doing, you weird weird adult person? Don’t you know that I can speak Spanish?”

Then, they start speaking Spanish to you in a very pointed way.

It is very rewarding to see how they come to us with absolutely no knowledge of the language and then end up developing this Spanish-speaking persona that becomes an integral part of their identities.

I just love my job.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Speak English to Me!”

  1. Pero, con todo esto, me parece que el traducir de una lengua en otra, como no sea de las reinas de las lenguas, griega y latina, es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que, aunque se veen las figuras, son llenas de hilos que las escurecen, y no se veen con la lisura y tez de la haz….


  2. This is really wonderful! So, you need to remember not to speak English to them, I suppose. I know that when I have been enrolled in courses in modern day languages, I felt the same way, and when I was taking Old English or Latin, I felt a bit cheated that this was not done.


  3. I live in an area that has had a large Mexican population since “the line crossed them”. Also, we have lots of fruit orchards, sheep ranches and ski resorts. So, we have a large percentage of immigrant agricultural workers, ski area housekeepers and manual laborers from Mexico, Central America and Peru (shepherds). When I go into a bar, restaurant, carnecería or bodega that caters to Spanish speaking immigrants the waitresses, bar tenders and cashiers almost always speak to me in English, despite the fact that I speak Spanish to them. They just can’t believe that they heard a gabacho speak Spanish, so they answer him in English. When there is a darker customer next to me it is funny to watch them switch from English to Spanish and back depending on which one of us they are speaking to. If I go in frequently, they get to know me and speak Spanish with me, but never if I am new or an infrequent customer.


  4. As a language student, I can sympathize. Unless we are blessed by living in a very diverse area, or have special connections (I’m an ESL/TOEFL conversation partner for Japanese students) we get very few chances to speak with people who know the language fluently; study groups with our fellow students are nice, but it’s better to talk to someone who can correct your mistakes or keep you up to speed. 🙂 I also consider it more polite to talk to my professors in Japanese, because it shows I’ve been paying attention in their class.


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