Seriously? Did I just say "those people who learn another language are freaking morons"? I didn’t think so.

And as usual, you are all being too f*cking politically correct.

I totally disagree with all of you immediately got your hackles up and were offended by my post instead of seeing that what I’m ranting about could have a huge fat kernel of truth.

If I don’t think some of you multi-language speakers out there can speak the English language properly, then it’s true because you cannot vouch for every single multi-language speaker out there to be perfect the way you are.

Anyway, I am not targeting YOU specifically, I am saying IN GENERAL, it’s a good rule to stick to if you are multi-lingual.

I’m not saying that ALL speakers who can speak multiple languages suck at anything BUT their native language, but quite frankly if it’s a language you’ve just learned, or just aren’t comfortable with for whatever reason.. OR….. you just freaking know you have a very strong accent then you need to be aware that I can’t understand you.

(Hell, sometimes I don’t understand my own parents).

That and this was and is not about mocking them, so don’t get all up in my stuff about how admirable it is that they speak many languages, bla bla bla.

I know.

The rule applies to English people learning another language too, not just other cultures. Think about it in reverse, an Anglophone trying to speak Chinese.

It’s a hell of a job to understand what they’re saying because they just don’t have that language down pat- they have never had to learn the 4 tones in Chinese and they mix up the word “death” with the number 4 just by a slight tonal change.

Better yet, let’s use me as an example.

Case in point: I wish I could speak French fluently but I don’t (yet, and some really nice people have emailed letting me know they’d love to help me), and even if I tried, it would take me years before I could ever speak it like a native French speaker (and even then, prognosis = DOUBTFUL).

So when I try to pronounce words like “truc” or “concombre”, I have to go slower or just try to avoid using that word altogether because I just can’t say the “eu” in TRUC or the “bre” in CONCOMBRE

Or I just have to spend my life in front of a mirror practicing French words like that if I am picky about being perfect.

In addition, BF also speaks 4 languages. Even he has admitted that sometimes words in English get him confused because he can’t pronounce certain words with a proper “H” on them, so “hate” comes out like “ate”, and when he says:

I (h)ate snakes!” … I’m hearing it as “I ate snakes!“. Capisce?

See how confusion can happen when you’re on the other line listening and then you hear that your love has eaten snake for dinner?

(A mortal FB enemy, as I am extremely scared and nervous about snakes since they’re on the ground slithering near my feet where I rarely pay attention. I suppose I should be thrilled that he ate member of the Animal Kingdom that I am scared of… but I totally wasn’t.)

So he goes slower on that word to try and pronounce it better, or he just uses another word entirely like “dislike” or “detest” which is close to the French word.

Some East Asians (Indians) and Asians in particular have this problem if they’ve just moved to a new country, and when they speak English, it’s like they forget that they have a strong accent, are speaking in another language that isn’t their native tongue that they’ve worked hard to learn, and they just rush through the words, biting off the end or slurring vowels and talking in the same style as their mother tongue (very fast).

I worked with Brazilians on my last project and they were pretty good as first-timers because even though they have never really used their English skills, they went slower, and used simple words, which really helped.

So, what prompted the rant, Eric, (good question by the way), was trying to get some computer service help (I needed an activation code for a program), and the Indian guy (as most IT is outsourced to India) on the other line was talking so fast in his faux English that I couldn’t even make out what he was saying.

I’m tellin’ ya, on the phone, it’s a lot harder to understand WTF anyone is saying because I cannot see their faces or their lips.

And they have no clue what I am saying in return, so I ended up repeating myself 5 times before he asked me to spell it.

If someone is asking you to repeat yourself, or constantly saying “PARDON ME?”, then you need to pick up the f*cking hint and slow down and enunciate more.

I also have a slight problem with strong Russian accents or strong Australian accents. But it just takes some adjusting before I get used to how they pronounce the actual vowels and consonants before I’m comfortable understanding them.

Even native English speakers have this problem of speaking too fast when they speak in front of audiences. But at least I can understand them most of the time, even if they slur words or go too quick.

And unless you practice ALL THE TIME with your 2-7 languages (like one day of the week dedicated to JUST speaking one language), you are never, EVER going to be 100% fluent in all of them, all the time speaking like a perfect native of that language — the brain forgets a lot of things because it can only hold so much.

There are going to be times where you get confused, lost or mix up the words between the languages as BF does all the time (which is the cause for lots of confusion followed by laughter).

So I’ll repeat myself:

GO SLOWER and ENUNCIATE MORE, and STOP trying to pretend like you haven’t thought the same thing, or something similarly un-PC about other people in your life.

I’m not a saint and you aren’t either.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.