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Why someone wouldn't want to teach a language to a friend?


Mameha
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I have this problem. In addition to Korean and Chinese, i wanted to learn Spanish because it is more similar to Italian, i like it and it's really spoken in the world. I have a friend from Sud America who is here in Italy since when she was young, in fact she considers Italian her first language and she speak spanish only with some Sudamerican friends or with her family sometimes. I asked her many times to teach me Spanish because it's a great opportunity to speak with someone who's near you and to have a conversation, it would be a luck! But unfortunately she avoids this and it seems like she would not teach me Spanish. When i think of this, i compare myself to her, if someone near me would ask me to teach Italian to him i would be really happy to do this because it's beautiful to share my own language and culture. Why some people are so reluctant to teach a language to a friend or anyone? what do you think of this? :)

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Well, I can't really say... Maybe it's because she uncomfortabe with teaching people other languages, or maybe she just doesn't want to teach you mostly because for reasons of her own accord... She just might want to keep to herself or keep you from understanding her family... Just like you I asked if my friend if she could teach me Lithuanian, but sadly she declined, mostly because even though most of her family can speak her gramdmother is extremely racist and she didn't wan't me understanding anything her grandmother saying... So yeah... So in the they have their reasons... 

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The big problem with friends is that they aren't willing to teach a language you speak.
Let alone, learn to speak yet another language at all.

I did hear many phrases like "I want to learn English sometime", "I want to learn Spanish sometime", "I want to learn Chinese sometime", etc.
They never start.
The problem is, there are 7 days in a week and "someday" is not one of them. :P

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I agree with that. Teaching a friend is informal and I don't know whether they would take it seriously enough to make use of it or forget it the next day. I love teaching people words I know and hoping one day it might be useful to them but I'm also very shy about my teaching skills and get embarrassed to correct them when they say it's wrong. :) I'd probably start laughing hilariously if they pronounced a clean word as a dirty word and then I wouldn't be able to tell them why, language problems, we all have them :)

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Well, maybe she doesn't want to correct you all the time? I mean, you would have to change roles from two friends to a student and a teacher and maybe she doesn't want that? I liked helping my then-girlfriend with English, but only some basic conversation. I would definitely be uncomfortable if she asked to full on teach her the language from ground up. I like the saying "Different strokes for different folks". I feel like you can apply to almost any inter-human exchange. 

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Mameha, being asked to teach a language can feel very overwhelming. If I was asked to teach English, I would not know where to begin. I could teach people how to say hello and how are you, but outside of that, I would not know grammar or anything that would be of great importance to someone who does not speak English. If you asked me "Is this the right way to say this?" I could tell you if it is or not, but apart from that, I couldn't really offer much in terms of teaching English, unless what you asked me was to simply try to have conversations with you in English. This I could do. I can keep conversation light and easy, but if you wanted to know what verbs might be helpful to know, or what nouns would be used most frequently, I really wouldn't have a clue. 

Maybe your friend feels quite the same way. She considers Spanish a first language, which probably means she has no idea what someone learning it would need to know. I think it might be better for you to just initiate conversations with her in Spanish. If she responds in English, or whatever language you two tend to communicate in, then so be it. You tried. Keep trying. Eventually she will start speaking more and more Spanish with you. She probably communicates withyou in the language you two communicate in because it is "easy". Most people default to what is easy. Even I do it sometimes. (Okay, often.) Just keep challenging it by attempting to use Spanish instead of what is easy for both of you. :)

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What do you mean when you ask someone "teach me your language"? It takes thousands of hours to learn a language. How many of those thousands of hours do you expect them to spend with you? Are you willing to pay them? Personally, I get a little annoyed at acquaintances who ask me to teach them English. But I hide my annoyance, because I realize this kind of person is rarely serious about learning. I usually just chuckle, or even reply "ok", but they never follow through. Rather than torture your friends, why not just do a free language exchange on skype?

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I think you just misunderstood what i said. I didn't ask her to teach me Spanish with lessons or something like this, i just wanted to ask her something when i have a doubt, obviously i don't want her to teach me everything. I thought only that speak with her sometimes in Spanish would be great for pronunciation, obviously if i want to learn all the grammar etc i search for something on the internet since when there are a lot of sites, apps, video lessons where i can learn, but if i need to translate something and i have a doubt about it i can ask her her since when she is a native speaker. (for exemple i asked her to translate me a short phrase because i really needed it but she just avoided that)

There's no need to be so rough...:rolleyes:

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3 hours ago, Mameha said:

I think you just misunderstood what i said. I didn't ask her to teach me Spanish with lessons or something like this, i just wanted to ask her something when i have a doubt, obviously i don't want her to teach me everything. I thought only that speak with her sometimes in Spanish would be great for pronunciation, obviously if i want to learn all the grammar etc i search for something on the internet since when there are a lot of sites, apps, video lessons where i can learn, but if i need to translate something and i have a doubt about it i can ask her her since when she is a native speaker. (for exemple i asked her to translate me a short phrase because i really needed it but she just avoided that)

There's no need to be so rough...:rolleyes:

@Mameha, it's a shame your friend isn't for whatever reason, willing to help you learn. To be honest, I wouldn't have thought that asking for her occasional help was asking for too much. Maybe there's more to it than meets the eye, because it strikes me as odd that she'd even go so far as to refuse to translate a short phrase for you. Depending on how close the two of you are, maybe you could put her on the spot and gently coax her into telling you why she's so reluctant to help you? You may be surprised at the answer.

I have luckily never been in your situation, as all my French and Italian friends have always been ever so supportive. They have actually been more supportive than I've been receptive. Silly I know, but sometimes I feel awkward when it's my friends teaching me LOL Anyway, I do wish you luck with your Spanish, with or without your friend's help :)

 

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4 hours ago, Mameha said:

 There's no need to be so rough...:rolleyes:

Sorry about that. But if you'll read the other posts, I'm not the only one who interpreted yours this way. Is it possible your friend doesn't know that "teach me your language" = "occasionally answer a question I have about your language" in your way of thinking?

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Maybe i expressed very badly what i meant...i'm sorry for that, my intentions were just to have an advice from you all or maybe just opinions, i'm sorry again for this.

@lushlala i remember she even answered me "if you teach me some english", but in reality we didn't talk about it anymore :D

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20 hours ago, Mameha said:

Maybe i expressed very badly what i meant...i'm sorry for that, my intentions were just to have an advice from you all or maybe just opinions, i'm sorry again for this.

@lushlala i remember she even answered me "if you teach me some english", but in reality we didn't talk about it anymore :D

Hehe @Mameha.....and there you have it! It may very well be that your friend is unhappy with the fact that when she said you could maybe teach her English, it never really went anywhere. Maybe you could focus on saying to her that you could help each other out, and see how that goes. 

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I don't know her reasons but for me, if a friend wants to learn my native language, I'd gladly oblige. However, it also takes time and energy. Right now, I am so busy at work and at home so I rarely find time to even teach myself French. I reckon that must be her reason too. Or she probably thinks you can learn it online as there must already be loads of free online courses especially about Spanish. 

Why don't you get into a deal with her? What does she like that you can possibly do for her? Maybe that will do the trick. :wink:

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Well, I also avoided trying to teach my friends and my girlfriend German, although they really insisted that I do so. My reason was, that knowing and speaking and reading a language is one thing, teaching it to others is completely different. I might know by-heart how to express myself in German, but I don`t really know if I am at the level of really teaching it to someone. That is a huge responsibility.

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One of the posters here suggested to ask her directly for her reasons. Have you done so? What did she say?

I understand your frustration. But just remember each individual has his or her own passions. Your friend might not be as passionate as you when it comes to learning new languages. Thus, she's not very much inclined to teaching you. Also, perhaps she's more interested to having deep conversations and that can be achieved when you're both speaking the same language. Conversations where interaction is limited to you asking how to translate this or how to say this and that may not be her idea of having a great time.

There are a host of "POSSIBLE" other reasons your friend may have, but my favorite 'assumption' would be she may not be as generous as you with regards to sharing knowledge.

Express your intention clearly and she might respond. OR she may not. I learned that 'expectations' are really deal breakers. You'll only end up frustrated when expectations aren't met. So, don't expect that because you're generous with your time to teach when someone asks for it, other people may do the same. :)

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There could be plenty of reasons behind this; perhaps she does not want you to learn Spanish so you won't be able to understand when and if talks about you with her Spanish friends, and you happen to be around; she could not be very good at teaching you the language, so she does not want to get embarrassed; perhaps she just does not want to waste her time on that, because she simply does not see it as something necessary to do at the moment; or she might not take you seriously enough that you are really willing to put your time and energy to it..It could be anything.

Nevertheless. you can always try to find some other resource, other than her..

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I didn't see her for a long time because of some problems, but i already asked her, maybe i will try it again later when i will spend with her more time! :) Anyway obviously i use others things to study a language, most of all for the grammar part, but when it comes to speaking, listening, pronunciation, etc it's better to talk a little with a native speaker :D it's like going to another country and learning a language by speaking with people in some ways

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It would be the perfect scenario, heck yea I would want to benefit off of my friend who knows another language, as I would want to teach them if it were asked. First thing that came to mind was maybe she isn't confident in teaching. Speaking is one thing but not everyone is a teacher. Another thing that came to mind was that maybe she isn't as fluent as you think she may be.  I know a lot of people who speak just enough of a language to get them through social gatherings. 

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@XLS ....that could be it, actually! Your friend may not feel that she's well equipped to impart any of what she knows onto you, in  part because she herself isn't confident in her language skills? But rather than come out and spell it out, and risk losing face, she's choosing to act all funny. Then again, how good of a friend is she, how close are the two of you? I ask this because if you're close, then she should be able to open up about what the problem is. of course, you too, should be able to press her for a more elaborate answer. Communication really is key!  I hope though, that whatever happens, you too are able to work it out and remain friends :) 

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Actually i didn't think of it....but now that i'm thinking, it may be this! Because now Italian is her main language, i remember than when we went out together she used to speak spanish with one of her friends fluently but maybe in some ways she isn't good at it since when she don't speak Spanish continuosly, i'll ask her this too! Ty for the advice :)

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My first guess: Because the friend in question (even if she's a very good one) enjoys a certain degree of privacy and has grown fond of having this specific special little bubble where she can share a handful of things in her mother-tongue within a selected circle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that she's not trying to hurt your feelings or actually exclude you, but since you can perfectly communicate in another language, she wishes to keep things as they are.

My second guess: Maybe she's just too lazy to do so... after all, teaching someone a language does require quite some time, and good friends or not, sometimes you're just not up to it.

Third guess: She wants to keep some things private.

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I think teaching someone a language takes a lot of work and is very time consuming.  That is the only reason I could think of that someone wouldn't want to teach someone else a language.  It's not an easy or simple task.  Maybe it would be better if you learned it on your own and only asked them for help when you need it?  It is good to have someone close to you that speaks the language you are trying to learn.

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A friend of mine is not only reluctant about teaching his language to others, but also refuses to make corrections when someone is speaking on writing the wrong way.

I never understood why of this, however, and with the pass of the years, I thing to have the clue about; he doesn't want to hurt people's feelings making them see they are wrong when it comes to corrections, and doesn't want to take responsibility when someone who he could taught would be evaluated and found non proficient in that language.

I do not only agree with this, but I found it to be a completely wrong approach.

On the one hand, you can teach your language, but proficiency at the end depends on the learner. Many people want to be taught a new language, but they don't take seriously and with a few newly acquired words are okay, while others ask, get additional resources and do their best to earn such proficiency at the end.

On the other hand, by not correcting someone, he does more harm than good because the person talking to him or emailing him may believe to be doing it right, when not, and keep going through life dragging the error because a native speaker never made them aware of it.

Moreover, all of us who are learning languages sincerely appreciate when native speakers correct us, and there is not harm or hard feelings, I won't get mad if someone corrects me, but will thank as many of your for sure will also do, hence some of the reasons we all are here :)

 

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