Learning a new language can only benefit you. It is really exciting when you are trying to learn more about the culture and language.
That doesn’t mean that you should only speak in that language. Especially at work.
But Redditor Michele_Corgi encountered an issue with their coworker. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for yelling at someone who kept trying to practice Spanish with me?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Ever since I started this job, one co-worker has been so fascinated by how I’m fluent in both English and Spanish. He knows a little Spanish and he wants to get practice.”
“When we’re not working, I can respect his interest. We have gone out to lunch a couple times and I was happy to answer all his questions. He really wants to learn, and he’s really interested in Puerto Rican culture.”
“It’s actually kind of sweet.”
“It gets annoying when I’m trying to do work, and he keeps talking to me as if he’s having a lesson with his tutor.”
“I have told him many times to just ‘say it in English,’ because that is so much easier. He does not listen.”
OP’s coworker is making it hard for OP to do their work.
“Today, he was asking me about a software we use.”
“It was already a confusing question, and he made it even more confusing by trying to ask it in Spanish. It was taking him forever, I had no idea what he was saying, and I had a lot of work to do. I yelled at him to just say it in English.”
“He’s a sensitive guy. I could tell it really hurt his feelings that I yelled at him.”
“I don’t think he meant to be rude, even though he got on my nerves by consistently trying to talk to me in Spanish and wasting time.”
“I tried asking him to speak to me in English. That did not work.”
“I don’t know if I had other options. I might be an a**hole for yelling at him.”
OP added an update:
“UPDATE: This problem is solved.”
“He apologized and he speaks in English now with me. Next time we go out for something, I’ll explain to him that I’m happy to speak in Spanish outside the office, but not when we’re trying to do work.”
“I honestly appreciated how interested he was in learning, and I don’t want to hurt the poor guy’s confidence.”
“It is good to know more than one language and it’s good to have knowledge of other cultures. I want to encourage that in principle, even though he was unbearably annoying about it.”
“After his apology and his switch to English, everyone is happy!”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. – He needs to understand his practice time can’t interfere with your work time.” ~ Kellymargaret
“This may need to be escalated to the supervisor if he refuses to speak in English. Communication is key in any organization.” ~ hello_friendss
“Imagine how that sounds. ‘This guy won’t stop speaking Spanish to me!'” ~ acloat
“Dude won’t stop treating me like Rosetta Stone.” ~ PolyPolyam
“What am I? The Duolingo owl?” ~ GoodQueenFluffenChop
“NTA. There are 2 issues.”
“He should not interfere with your work. Your workplace is not his not private space where he can do whatever he wants and demand getting taught by you.”
“You are not his private Tutor !!! Even if you would get paid for it there is still a time and space where you do it. He can not just come to you whenever he wants and demand to get taught.”
“He is the AH for not having any boundaries. It’s ok to ask but not all the time you are not his teacher and you are at work so he had to learn that it is not ok what he is doing.” ~ TRACYOLIVIA14
“NTA and this is the first time I’m even commenting on this sub but I feel you! I’m also fluent in english and Spanish and a language teacher and the amount of people who try to get free lessons out of me and in the process make every single interaction PAINFULLY slow is insane. I hate it and I don’t blame you. When I’m not working, I want to understand and be understood.” ~ h0zzyb33
Boundaries are important.
“Yeah on a lunch break it’s fine, if you agree to it. During working hours not so much.”
“I go to lunch with people and we speak a different language so I can up my game. Or when I have an international meeting and the chit-chat in the beginning is in their tongue, but when we get down to business we switch.”
“Apart from the fact you asked them NICELY not to do that. I speak a few languages (to different degrees) and the sentence I hate the most is ‘can you say XY in Z.’ NTA” ~ Icy_Appeal4472
“I am bilingual (and know a little of a few other languages). And the sentence I hate the most is ‘say something in x.’ What is even the point of hearing just a random sentence?” ~ Eelpan2
“NTA. That sounds super annoying and would test anyone’s patience. Try making this very clear to him, communicate your boundaries and if he doesn’t respect it then keep things professional and only answer him when he speaks English.” ~ randolphmd
“NTA, I hate stuff like this, frankly. Being from another culture or speaking another language does not automatically make you some sort of ambassador obligated to share your knowledge with everyone else. You made it clear to him that this wasn’t the time to practice Spanish and he ignored you.” ~ JennerikUse
“NTA. I bless to have multiple people in my life willing to practice Spanish with me. But 1) I always ask consent cause no one is obligated to help teach me shit and 2) I never do that in the work place. My coworkers have enough to deal with without trying to teach my gringa ass.” ~ drbarnowl
“NTA. I love studying languages and have worked in places with several bi or multi-lingual people. We’d chat in those other languages so I could practice. But we never did that about work. If I had attempted to slow down or confuse things related to our job I would have expected them to smack me because that’s not why we were there.” ~ tothepayne
I’m glad the issue was resolved.