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Would you tell them?


Alpo

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You are sitting there, minding your own business. Two people start talking about you, under the belief that you do not understand the language they are using.

 

They're not saying nasty things about you, but they are discussing you.

 

You speak that language. Would you tell them?

 

Watching Buona Sera Mrs Campbell. Shelly Winters and some other woman are in Italy, and they are in a beauty parlor. And Shelly says something along the lines of, "don't stare at her, so she won't know we're talking about her, but isn't that girl over there just about the perfect example of an Italian beauty?" And the other woman nods and says that she is quite attractive, and the woman they are talking about turns and says, "I feel I must tell you ladies that I speak English".

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I have seen situations where the person being discussed, turned to a third party and said something in the language that the first party was using.

 

DAUGHTER TO MOTHER: ¿Adónde te gustaría ir?

BOB to JIM (looking from a short distance): WOW that girl sitting next to her mother sure looks cute!

DAUGHTER TO MOTHER (in English): Do you want to go shopping?

MOTHER who doesn't speak English, looks at DAUGHTER inquisitively.

DAUGHTER TO MOTHER: Esos tipos están hablando de mí.

 
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I never did.  Lived and worked outside of the US for over 20 years.  Learned to understand several languages.  By acting like I didn't understand, my hosts would just start speaking their native language in front of me whenever they did not want me to know something.  Learned a lot about what was actually happening at work, and also how they really felt about me.  I always considered it an advantage that they didn't know.

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Been there, done that!

I was the only non Spanish speaking (or so my co-workers thought) employee in a shop of 21 

I let them go on about " the new guy"

( me ) for most of the first day.

When I joined in the conversation,  in Spanish, there

were some pretty surprised and embarrassed faces in the crowd. 

Never had them talk behind my back in front of my face after that!

Choctaw

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Never gave a damn about what other people who were talking in another language, other than American English, had to say about anything or had to say  something to me or about me.

Want to say something to me, or about me, step up and say it to me in American English or shut up.

Want to live in the USA, then go to school and learn to talk USA.  

Right now the US Gov't wants schools to have specialists who can converse in 100 different languages to appease the illegal immigrants. 

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When I was Japan I was on a train with two other Marines who were discussing a very lovely Japanese lady.  After a span of about ten minutes they were startled when we slowed at a station and she turned and calmly said "Excuse me gentlemen.  This my destination."

 

They looked like they had  been slapped and as she got off and the train started up again one of them said "My God.  She spoke English".  An older woman smiled at them and said,  You should know that many of us do."

 

Then the blushing, stammering, and apologizing started.  Before we got to Hiroshima I had recruited one to be a Conversational English Glass where  I  was one of the instructors every Friday night. ...and signed up two more students for the class, too.

 

Sometime life is just FUN!  :P  :lol:

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In my experience, just because someone can not speak a language doesn't mean  he can't  understand a little of it. Or misunderstand some of it. After four days in South Africa I understood  when the PH told the tracker to take us to the waterhole. I think I actually understood 3 words and inferred the rest. The m oh re people hear a language the more they understand and they will fill in any gaps in their understanding with what they expect you to say.  

To answer Alpo's question, it would depend on what I precieved to be in my best interest.

....

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I heard a story about Winston Churchill:  He was sitting in the parliament two rows behind two men who were talking about him.  They were speaking softly and one said that he had heard that Winston was becoming feeble and couldn't do the job any more.  Churchill leaned forward and tapped one of the men on the shoulder and said, "They say the old bastard is getting hard of hearing, too."  :P  :lol:

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As has happened, and previously mentioned — depends on the situation. 
 

Didn’t know French, but spoke passable Italian while on a liaison to a former Soviet bloc country. After the formal sessions, a bunch from both sides got together for ‘informal contact’.

 

One of the other country’s reps spoke French, which I could understand well enough to translate, and he understood my Italian well enough to translate. 
 

Must have worked, since we didn’t make the news anywhere. 

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probably not - why ruin their fun , id more likely wait for the right moment to talk about them to someone else so they could hear me , not say anything bad of course just be obvious about my understanding 

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I had a lead man at a company that I worked at as the Maintenance Supervisor that was Hispanic and spoke English and Spanish. He was a conceited A*****E that went to upper management and undermined me and tried to get them to give him my job and terminate me on several occasions. About half the maintenance crew spoke Spanish as their first language and their English was not very good. Any time he was talking to the guys that mostly spoke Spanish and he saw me coming, he would switch to Spanish as he knew I did not speak Spanish. What he did not know was I had taken one year of Spanish in High school and had worked with enough Spanish people that I could translate most things into English if it had to to do with problems with equipment.

One day I was walking up to the shop and he saw me coming and switched to Spanish to discuss a problem with a machine with 2 of the Spanish mechanics. I walked up to them and stopped and listened to their conversation for a minute, and then told them in English which circuit was messed up and what they need to check and replace to get it running. Their mouths dropped open and I turned and started to walk away as I had work to do.

I got about 5 steps away when the lead man said loudly" Since when do you speak Spanish!!!??"

I stopped, turned around and looked at them and said " You all have no idea what I can do."

I turned and walked away and i could feel their eyes staring at my back.

It cured him of speaking Spanish when I was around since he did not know for certain I did not understand what he was saying.

However, he did not ever quit undermining me to management.

However, I had the last laugh on all of them. 

The company was bought out about a year later and all management except 3 people were let go ( myself included), and he got to keep his job as lead mechanic since he was not considered management. This was on a Friday. I cleaned out my office on Saturday and went back on Monday afternoon to turn the severance package I was given so I did not sue the company for wrongful discharge. The HR Manager ( Politically correct anti-gun Hispanic Lady that hated me and tried to fire me for talking about my vacation Cowboy Shooting at work. (several long different stories here)) told me I might be lucky and find a job in a couple months and I should have a lawyer review the agreement before signing it. I looked at her and laughed and proceed to tell her I had interviewed with a Fortune 500 company that morning as a maintenance supervisor and once I did the paperwork, I would be starting with them on the following Monday. I then told her I would be back to pickup my severance check on Friday ($10,000+ in Nov 2000). She was so mad when I walked out she could not speak. It is always good to have friends in industry with job openings.

Edited by Maddog McCoy SASS #5672
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