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Hi guys!  Sorry if the title of this thread sounds  confusing,  but today something happened and made me feel upset.  Do you guys think that name calling while practicing a language, even if done as a joke is acceptable?  To me this behavior is not acceptable at all. Specially if it comes from someone who is supposed to help you learn/practice the language, when you respect someone you don't randomly utter disrespectful names like ''stupid''. That is just a big no no.   This is not acceptable in any other circumstance either. 

 This is specially bad if it's done in a language you are just learning!  Not very motivating, is it?  So this person (won't say who it is) thought that because I'm not fluent enough he could get away with calling me names in Dutch. No matter in what language you do it, calling someone stupid out of the blue just like that, even if it's done as a ''joke'' is so disrespectful.  

I'd normally think nothing of it, but this was done by someone close to me.  If it had been done by a random stranger well... It'd not have affected me at all.   Has something like this ever happened to you?  How did you react (supposing you realized you were being insulted, of course)? 

 

 

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I attended a college in India. Even though English was the teaching method, Kannada (a regional language in India) was in the primary language of the people in the town where my college was located. In order to acclimatize with the locals, I decided to learn the local language. My local friends were willing to help me. After learning few words and sentences, I was ready to test my language skills. However, I became a joke. The boys had taught me cruse words and vulgar sentences. This was so frustrating.

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I guess I'm experiencing similar annoyance. Just two hours ago, someone called me stupid as well but in the language I understand. I do not like people calling me names in a language I do not understand; neither do I like being in a company of friends or colleagues and suddenly, they start speaking their own language. Knowing I do not understand it.

I think it is rude and disrespectful to speak or insult in a language to someone who does not understand.

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@darkchild  It's considered very rude in my country for two or more persons to start speaking another language if they are excluding another person. Specially if this done on purpose knowing beforehand the person in question doesn't speak the language :(  Sadly I got that done a lot in the Netherlands.  I knew I was being talked ill of, I tried to control myself that one time though, but what I really wanted to say was:  ''If you are so brave why don't you say it n my face in English?''. 

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13 hours ago, VinayaSpeaks said:

I attended a college in India. Even though English was the teaching method, Kannada (a regional language in India) was in the primary language of the people in the town where my college was located. In order to acclimatize with the locals, I decided to learn the local language. My local friends were willing to help me. After learning few words and sentences, I was ready to test my language skills. However, I became a joke. The boys had taught me cruse words and vulgar sentences. This was so frustrating.

That sounds awful. Did you manage to learn the language in the end or not?  Because in my experience this kind f incident are common in the beginning, but people usually come back t their senses after a while ;) 

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1 hour ago, Trellum said:

@darkchild  It's considered very rude in my country for two or more persons to start speaking another language if they are excluding another person. Specially if this done on purpose knowing beforehand the person in question doesn't speak the language :(  Sadly I got that done a lot in the Netherlands.  I knew I was being talked ill of, I tried to control myself that one time though, but what I really wanted to say was:  ''If you are so brave why don't you say it n my face in English?''. 

I don't know about Mexico, but it's certainly true in the Netherlands.
While walking around the streets speaking Polish to my mum, nobody cares.
But when I'm in a much smaller group (at work, at school, with guests, etc.), most people instantly get mad.
I even had one moment somebody asked me I was by any chance talking about them, but I said "no" and they were OK with me again.

So speaking a language others don't understand has both good and bad sides, my favourite good side would be the fact you can hold a private conversation in public. :P

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I call my friends a name A LOT. They are my friends. Even those who are foreign. We have a great rapport between us, so we both kind of understand that it's a joke. However, I never do that to people I barely know. Obviously, that would be disrespectful to them. I never call my co-workers a name. I never do this to my students. Common sense, guys. It's the key.

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@reverserewind  I've a friend with whom I've that kind of dynamics with.  In that case we both joke about it,  and have a good laugh, but never at my own expense or his.   This person did this kind of thing very openly (jokes at my expense), I felt kinda disappointed about that :(  I thought we had gotten through that. 

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10 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

I don't know about Mexico, but it's certainly true in the Netherlands.
While walking around the streets speaking Polish to my mum, nobody cares.
But when I'm in a much smaller group (at work, at school, with guests, etc.), most people instantly get mad.
I even had one moment somebody asked me I was by any chance talking about them, but I said "no" and they were OK with me again.

So speaking a language others don't understand has both good and bad sides, my favourite good side would be the fact you can hold a private conversation in public. :P

 

It is also true in Mexico :)  But people generally don't take it so seriously, unless you start excluding people from the conversation on purpose, then it's considered the rudest thing ever.    I had something like that last time in the Netherlands,  but I am getting better at just letting that kind of things pass.  I've so much to learn about the Netherlands :mellow:   Do people where you live use a lot sarcastic humor? 

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11 hours ago, Trellum said:

That sounds awful. Did you manage to learn the language in the end or not?  Because in my experience this kind f incident are common in the beginning, but people usually come back t their senses after a while ;) 

I did not have time to go to a proper language school to learn the language. The boys were only interested to make fun.Thus, I avoided learning the language. However, at the end I managed to learn few sentences from the girls in my class.

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4 hours ago, Trellum said:

Do people where you live use a lot sarcastic humor? 

I actually don't know to be honest.

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Name-calling in whatever circumstance is a definite no-no for me. In learning languages, there are people who actually think that learning 'cuss' words is funny. Admittedly, it can be funny to be learning those. But there has to be a moral boundary. When we start to accept or tolerate these things as funny, we somehow propagate the idea that it is OK. Well, it is not. I fully understand that it can be upsetting. The tongue is powerful. It has the power to inflict pain. But it too has the power to express love. Gentle words can motivate more than discourage.

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Well, I suppose it depends on how bad the name was, really. I mean, there's a big different between "dummy" and "****ing idiot", you know? But I definitely agree that you have to draw the line somewhere. After all, name calling you in a language that you can't really speak that well doesn't give you that much opportunity to counter/combat that person on your terms. As such, name calling in this circumstance becomes some sort of social power play, which can quickly become fatiguing to deal with.

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I would mostly be the immature on calling people things or even telling them off in foreign languages, mostly cause of the places I used to go a lot of people were rude, insensitive, and just down right deplorable, so sometimes I would curse them out in another language... I'm terrible I know...

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I totally agree with you. Name calling is just rude, no matter if it is done out of a joke or not. And that is especially true for someone struggling to speak an unfamiliar language, because it may make you loose confidence in yourself and may make you think that you are not really good at what you are trying to do.

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I hate it when people put you down for wanting to learn another language. When I was just beginning to learn Spanish a lot of people would make fun of me for not saying words properly. I didn't get why they were being so rude. I thought they would be happy to know that I wanted to learn their language. 

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Yeah, I had an interesting situation happen the other day that is related. There is a local dialect where I live and since we moved to this part of the country a year ago, we have begun to try and incorporate some of the words when we can. The official language is understood by most but many locals when speaking to one another use this rich dialect to communicate. There are 3 different parts of this tribe who all say things slightly differently: north, central and southern. The other day I tried to incorporate how something is said in the north and everyone (mostly central present) laughed hysterically. I didn't understand why and someone explained that they are illiterate and that is the incorrect way to say it. The proper way of course, in their opinion is the way THEY say it. Which is ridiculous, because the language has almost no known written form! So no one can say which fraction of the tribe speaks it correctly or incorrectly. But this explained something to me, when I inquire how to say something, many try to teach me the official language almost as if they are embarrassed. I think they have been made to feel that their dialect is the language of 'illiterate people' and those who are educated in the official language are some how more worthy of imitation. This is very inaccurate in my opinion. But now it has made me realize that by trying to incorporate their language words into what I know, I might be embarrassing them in front of others as if they have taught me the wrong way. I'm not sure how to deal with this situation. But it proves your point, making fun of someone can really stunt progress, especially in langauge development. 

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On 21/03/2016 at 4:05 PM, Blaveloper said:

I don't know about Mexico, but it's certainly true in the Netherlands.
While walking around the streets speaking Polish to my mum, nobody cares.
But when I'm in a much smaller group (at work, at school, with guests, etc.), most people instantly get mad.
I even had one moment somebody asked me I was by any chance talking about them, but I said "no" and they were OK with me again.

So speaking a language others don't understand has both good and bad sides, my favourite good side would be the fact you can hold a private conversation in public. :P

It just human nature, we always think that people are saying something bad about us if we don't understand the language. I do think if everyone in the group understands a language the people in that group should use it. It's the best way to avoid confusion.

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On 3/24/2016 at 3:41 PM, Chris_A said:

I totally agree with you. Name calling is just rude, no matter if it is done out of a joke or not. And that is especially true for someone struggling to speak an unfamiliar language, because it may make you loose confidence in yourself and may make you think that you are not really good at what you are trying to do.

Exactly!  You totally got what I meant.  It's really bad, specially if it comes from someone who is close to you and you are supposed to trust and respect (respect each other).  I'm no longer upset with this person though :)  I only hope he doesn't do this again.   If he does we might have a problem.

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The older I get the more insensitive I become, even my dad calls me stupid and I am not affected anymore. But I guess if you are a sensitive person then you might be affected no matter how many times you have heard it.

I agree that calling someone stupid is not cool at all, and if it affected you then call him stupid right back and see how he will react. If he gets offended, then you can say that you just gave him a dose of his own medicine. If he's unaffected, well, no wonder he casually says stuff like that to other people.

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This is really a case by case and it depends on the intentions of the person/the language you are learning. If the person actually meant what they say and it was a verbal attack, then no, that's not okay.

But what we don't know (because we are not fluent in the language) is that there is slang in every language and "offensive" words to us might have a different meaning in that language. For example, we have words in Cantonese slang that literally mean "stupid" or "naive". But when used in slang, it means "clumsy" -- which is not derogatory. The word itself in the dictionary still has the meaning "stupid", but when used in context, it means something else.

So yeah... it really depends on the person who's saying it.

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3 hours ago, Miya said:

For example, we have words in Cantonese slang that literally mean "stupid" or "naive". But when used in slang, it means "clumsy" -- which is not derogatory. The word itself in the dictionary still has the meaning "stupid", but when used in context, it means something else.

Very true.
In Dutch for example, calling somebody "zwarte" is racist (it means "black (person)"), but if friends use it in a context like "hey black guy, wanna play some video games with us", everything is OK.
But if enemies use it in a context like "hey black guy, wanna get some peanuts", it's considered both racism and discrimination and therefore, the person in question can sue those who said that.

 

FYI: I have nothing against other races, cultures or whatever, these rather offensive sentences were purely meant as an example (if you felt offended any way, I'm sorry).

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On 25/03/2016 at 6:00 PM, Blaveloper said:

Very true.
In Dutch for example, calling somebody "zwarte" is racist (it means "black (person)"), but if friends use it in a context like "hey black guy, wanna play some video games with us", everything is OK.
But if enemies use it in a context like "hey black guy, wanna get some peanuts", it's considered both racism and discrimination and therefore, the person in question can sue those who said that.

 

FYI: I have nothing against other races, cultures or whatever, these rather offensive sentences were purely meant as an example (if you felt offended any way, I'm sorry).

This very true, context is everything. When people are playing sports it's not uncommon for them to wind each other up, but if it was anywhere else that wouldn't work out well.

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So calling names really depends on the context where you are, if someone you do /not/ have enough trust with calls your names you honestly shouldn't let it happen whatsoever.

While I was learning english with my friends in my own country we call us names we use a lot of mean words because to us in the language we are learning it doesn't really mean an insult to us however in our native language we do not talk to each other like that we treat ourselves a little bit more respectful somehow but it is still the same after all but as I said it really depends on the context, the country you are currently at, the people, the place, etc. So you shouldn't really let anyone call you names if you don't trust the person.

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28 minutes ago, FenWoFon said:

So calling names really depends on the context where you are, if someone you do /not/ have enough trust with calls your names you honestly shouldn't let it happen whatsoever.

While I was learning english with my friends in my own country we call us names we use a lot of mean words because to us in the language we are learning it doesn't really mean an insult to us however in our native language we do not talk to each other like that we treat ourselves a little bit more respectful somehow but it is still the same after all but as I said it really depends on the context, the country you are currently at, the people, the place, etc. So you shouldn't really let anyone call you names if you don't trust the person.

It doesn't help if it comes from someone you love and trust either :(  Specially if the intentions of said person weren't so good, like if he or she thinks that they can insult you and get away with it.  Like telling you something in their language they'd never dare to say to you in a language you understand.  That can be hurtful too, even if done as a joke.  That is what happened to me, but I am ok now :) 

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