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Bilingual Woman Stirs Drama After Calling People Who Struggle To Learn Another Language ‘Lazy’

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Learning different languages comes easily for some and immensely slow for others.

It’s just the way learning works.

Knowledge comes at its own pace.

So why make commentary about how another person acquires it?

Case in point…

Redditor heyimpelican wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for telling my friend that her second language ‘doesn’t count’ because her parents taught her?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m a 24 F[emale].”

“We live in the U[nited] K[ingdom] but my friend Cara’s (25 F) dad is from Spain.”

“She learned both English and Spanish growing up, so she is bilingual.”

“I am interested in learning French but really struggle with learning languages.”

“I studied German in school for a few years but have forgot most of it.”

“And have been studying French for the past couple of years and am at an intermediate level.”

“Cara really often makes comments about how it’s so ‘embarrassing’ that many people from the UK can only speak one language.”

“She said the other day that it’s not that hard to learn another language but people are just lazy.”

“I snapped and told her that her knowing Spanish isn’t the same as someone learning a language in adulthood from scratch when no one around them speaks it.”

“She told me that I’m obviously just jealous and isn’t speaking to me.”

“I am a bit jealous but think I’m right!”

“My parents both only speak English, but if they were fluent in another language I’d obviously know it.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. She’s fortunate her parents were able to immerse her in their language from an early age.”

“Not everyone is so lucky.”

“And classes at school do not have the same kind of atmosphere as having it constantly spoken to and around you alongside another language.”

“She needs to stop being pretentious about the opportunities she’s had and understand that not everyone is as fortunate.”  ~ TinyRascalSaurus

“I agree. I think Cara is lucky to have a second language skill that she acquired by basically being a member of her household family.”

“If she hasn’t had to learn a foreign language through instruction, she can’t really say that it’s ‘so easy.'”

“If it’s sooo easy, shouldn’t she be embarrassed she doesn’t know a third language?”

“I still think she should be proud of being bilingual and use it to her advantage.”

“But she has no reason to be so rude or punch down on others, specifically her friend, that didn’t receive the same opportunity as she did.” ~ velnovel

“Despite Cara being a moron, it’s unfair to say she acquired it by ‘just being a member of a household.'”

“I have a bilingual family and it’s not just shits and giggles for my daughter.”

“There’s A LOT of instruction and explaining that other small children simply don’t have to deal with.”

“Lots of vocab exploration.”

“With a lot of bilingual kids, it doesn’t just get soaked in.”

“Parents and the kids themselves have to actively put massive effort into it to get it right and not end up with mixed languages, pronunciation issues or language trauma.”

“As I said, Cara still is a dumbo for not seeing the difference.”

“But treating bilingual people as if they got something for free is not fair either.”  ~ justgeorgie

“My parents did none of that and I ended up bilingual (actually, trilingual) as well.”

“They didn’t do anything to encourage it.”

“Yes, I mixed some words at first.”

“But now I have sorted it out.”

“Bilingual children may take longer to achieve a full set of vocabulary in both languages, but it’s very doable.”

“I can definitely see how OP’s friend just picked it up by being a member of the household.”  ~ LabyrinthianPrincess

“Many bilingual children do have additional challenges because their communication isn’t streamlined through one language.”

“Some don’t.”

“Perhaps Cara and her family struggled in a similar way.”

“But however she attained fluency she is the one acting as if it is so simple when she is the one with the leg up due to her family.”

“At least OP admits she is jealous.”

“Cara can’t even admit learning a second language is more difficult if you aren’t brought up around one.”  ~ velnovel

“NTA. OP but Cara surely is.”

“I speak several languages enough to carry a conversation or watch a show without needing subs and they were all self-taught except English which was mandatory at school.”

“However learning new language is a skill that comes naturally for me and i can pick up languages easily which is something i am grateful for.”

“Both parents are illiterate and so I encouraged my siblings to learn as much as they can, skills, languages, math and used to tell them it will be very helpful in their lives.”

“My youngest has the same natural ability to pick languages as me.”

“However the 2 sisters in the middle, not so much but one tries her best and became very good by practice while the other gives up after 2 times and says learning is hard for her (same for other subject specially math).”

“NEVER, NEVER once did i bragged about it or called anyone lazy because they cannot pick it from the 1st go, this is ridiculous.”

“I consider myself lucky and I’m impressed by my sister’s hard work to learn but I do respect that people have different skills.”  ~ chandrachur3

“I was fully ready to ‘YTA’ you based on the title, but after seeing what you actually said in the conversation, NTA.”

“You’re right, it is much harder to learn a language once the sheer neural plasticity of childhood has diminished.”

“It’s still not true, fair, or kind to say that her second language ‘doesn’t count’ for that reason, but that’s not what you said (despite the title).”

“You merely said it’s not the same for learning.”  ~ xeresblue

“Exactly this.”

“I speak English, French, German, and Spanish because those are the languages that were spoken around me ALL THE TIME when I was a child.”

“But I’m learning Arabic now (I’m in my 40s) and it’s like wading through treacle.”

“NTA, but your friend is.”  ~ ScathingHagfish

“ESH. In your particular argument, you were right, learning a language as an adult is hard work and she was being rude.”

“However if you actually said it ‘doesn’t count’ that she speaks Spanish natively, that is a**holery too, because that’s not how languages work.”

“Also, maintaining fluency in a language that’s not spoken in your area, requires work and effort as well.”

“There are many people, usually the children of immigrants, who knew a language growing up that they lost the ability to speak well as adults because of lack of practice.”  ~ viridian152

“NAH. Cara’s commentary about how majority of english speaking countries do not value teaching children other languages in an effective manner is valid.”

“It is laziness that’s preventing an overhaul in curriculum.”

“However, you’re also right in acknowledging that learning a language from scratch, as an adult is hard.”

“I think you can both meet in the middle on this.”  ~ coastalkid92

“NTA. And I was totally going to call you one.”

“But learning a language as an adult is exponentially harder than learning as a child.”

“Especially when they’re immersed in the language at home.”  ~ eidlehands

“NTA, it is incredibly hard for adults to learn a new language compared to children.”

“The learning capabilities you have as a infant/toddler learning a language is astounding compared to that of an adult.”

“Take your time, learn at your pace.”

“And don’t let people that are trying to put you get to you.”

“I have grown up in a multilingual house hold because of the different cultures present in my family.”

“That’s the case for most multilingual people in singular English speaking countries, we’re usually ethnic/immigrants.”

“It’s apart of who we are, because we’re not just British/American/Canadian etc.”

“If someone doesn’t want to learn a new language that’s their prerogative, why the hell is she so butthurt?”

“It just seems like she’s using her bilingual card to hold over you and other primary English speaking people, as a way to feel better about herself.”

“Being bilingual/multilingual/or speaking just one language doesn’t add or detract from your value as a human.”

“I’d try asking Cara to learn a language as an adult that she doesn’t know/is familiar with and she how fast she progresses. LOL.”  ~ paranormalpeep

“NTA. I agree that it’s much easier to learn if being taught from early childhood… parents, nanny, international school etc.”

“And that languages aren’t generally taught well in UK schools, unfortunately.”

“I think you titled this poorly because her second language ‘counts’ for speaking, for job opportunities, for travel.”

“But she’s very arrogant about having had opportunities that not everyone had and that’s what I’m judging here.”  ~ Swimming-Regular-443

OP… Reddit has your back.

You learn how you learn.

Don’t get discouraged.