Is there ever a wrong time to speak Spanish?
I was with my mom at the hospital a couple of days ago--she fell down the stairs, but thank God she's ok--and even though we're both bilingual, we were speaking Spanish when a lady walked in asking for her insurance information. I handed her what she asked for and kept on talking to my mom in Spanish. A few minutes later, my mom thought it was necessary to apologize to the lady for our speaking in Spanish. The woman laughed and said "no worries." Then, my mom added, "By the way, we're not talking about you." And they both laughed. ¡Jajaja!
I, on the other hand, was pretty mortified because I don't think we were doing anything wrong. Later, I asked my mom why she felt she needed to apologize and she said "I've always thought it's rude," which makes absolutely no sense because if she thinks that, then why was she speaking to me in Spanish in the first place?
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As I've said here before, I'm raising my children bilingual and to accomplish that, I only speak to them in Spanish, regardless of where we are or who's around us. But before you go criticizing me, hear me out. If, for example, Vanessa has invited a friend from school over to the house and she doesn't speak Spanish and I have to say something for the benefit of everybody I will, of course, use English then.
Other than that, however, whatever conversation I'm having with my children is our business and our business alone. I don't care if people don't understand what I'm saying to my 5-year-old girl and my 2-year-old boy because it doesn't concern them one way or the other.
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You could say this is okay when speaking to children only, but what about what my mom and I were doing at the hospital? Well, I guess there's always the assumption that we're speaking Spanish because we're talking about someone who doesn't understand us. I'm totally sure this happens all the time. Heck, I've done it myself. Truth is, though, that most of the time I have better things to do than speaking about others in a language they supposedly don't understand. I say supposedly because you should NEVER EVER assume.
What do you think? Is it rude to speak Spanish in front of those who don't understand even if you're not talking to them?
Image via lst1984/flickr