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Guy Asks Bilingual Niece To Stop Speaking French Around Dyslexic Wife Who Can’t Learn It

A young woman holding a French flag.
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Not everyone is blessed with the art of conversation.

Indeed, some people have no trouble keeping the conversation flowing, no matter whom they’re talking to.

Others, however, have trouble finding things to talk about.

Then there are occasions where even people who are naturally good conversationalists have trouble contributing to the conversation at hand, being out of their element for one reason or another.

Redditor ThrowRA_mmh grew up bilingual, allowing him to converse fluently in two languages.

His wife, however, only spoke one of the original poster (OP)’s two languages.

When the OP’s niece arrived for an extended visit, she primarily spoke to the OP in the language his wife did not speak, resulting in the OP asking if she could stick to the other language.

A request the OP’s niece did not take kindly to at all.

Wondering if he was being insensitive to his wife’s feelings, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for Asking My Niece to Stop Speaking French Around My Dyslexic Wife?”

The OP explained why they asked their niece to speak English around his wife and why she did not take kindly to the request:

“My wife (28 F[emale]) Sarah and I (30 M[ale]) have been married for five years.”

“She’s incredible, loving, and my favourite person in the world.”

“Now, my entire family has tradition of learning and speaking French.”

“It’s always been a fun way for us to bond.”

“However, for Sarah, it’s been a bit of a challenge.”

“Sarah has tried for years to pick up the language, but due to her dyslexia, she’s found it extremely difficult.”

“It’s been a great source of frustration and insecurity for her, especially when we’re around my family who like to speak French with each other.”

“My niece (17 F), Eva, is staying with us for a while.”

“She’s speaks English and French too, and understandably speaks a lot of French around the house.”

“While I understand its just a normal thing for her, it’s been a bit upsetting for Sarah.”

“She feels excluded from our conversations and she’s started trying to brush up on it but its just stressing her out and hitting a nerve.”

“Given the situation, I approached Eva and asked if she could try to speak more English around my wife.”

“I explained that it wasn’t about controlling her choices but about helping Sarah feel more comfortable and included in conversations.”

“Unfortunately, Eva didn’t take it well.”

“She accused me of prioritizing Sarah’s difficulties over her comfort and claimed that I was asking her to suppress her identity.”

“I’m not sure if I handled it the right way.”

“AITA for asking Eva to stop speaking French around Sarah?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for asking Eva to speak English when she was around Sarah.

Everyone agreed that the OP was only thinking of his wife’s best interest, and Eva’s reaction was a blatant sign of her immaturity.

“Eva doesn’t have the maturity to understand you would of course prioritize your wife.”

“She also doesn’t have the maturity to understand that prioritizing someone else’s comfort doesn’t have to impinge on her ‘identity.'”

“Your request is reasonable.”

“Eva is not.”

“NTA.”- ReviewOk929


“But there are some things you could do to mitigate your niece’s lack of consideration.”

“A gentle sit-down chat might be good (if her ears are real, not plastic).”

“To check she really does understand that this is not about her but about your wife’s right not to constantly feel excluded in her own home, especially due to something she can’t control which she’s likely been made to feel stink about before.”

“As someone else suggested, you could simply stop speaking French back to her when she does this in front of your wife.”

“If you want to take it a step further and not just ban French in your home (also a perfectly reasonable option), when your niece speaks French in front of your wife, first translate what she said for your wife, then reply in English. Every single time.”

“She’ll probably cotton on, and even if not, at least your lovely wife will know you have her back.”

“Good luck!”- this_wug_life


“Your niece is being deliberately inconsiderate by excluding your wife in a language your wife struggles with.”

“You should have a conversation with your niece about being welcome in your home, and you would hate to see that welcome compromised by her insistence on making your wife uncomfortable.”

“Remind her she is a guest of you and your wife and a guest is only welcome till they make a problem for the hosts.”

“She needs to understand that being a guest means making sure that her presence isn’t a burden on her hosts, and you wouldn’t like to see her needing to find a different accommodation.”

“Tell her you will always prioritize your wife, and her comfort will never come first.”

“Speaking French isn’t necessary to her comfort as she can converse in English easily, but your wife can’t easily converse in French.”- squirrelsareevil2479


“Your niece sounds pretty selfish.”

“One of the rudest things you can do is purposefully speak a language someone in the conversation can’t understand.”- AGrumpyHobo


“When people are together, they use the shared language.”

“Stop replying in French.”

“Reply in English or don’t reply at all.”- No-Locksmith-8590


“You all speak English, so you should speak this language since everyone understands it.”

“Your wife shouldn’t feel left out of conversations, and it’s a sign of politeness to speak the language she understands.”

“Your wife shouldn’t be constantly wondering what you’re saying in French.”

“On the other hand, your niece has the right to speak in French if she’s on the phone since she’s not speaking to you.”- Asciutta


“But good luck trying to win an argument with a teenager.”- Reduncked

“English is her first langauge!”

“Suppressing her identity?”

“Give me a break.”

“NTA, and if Eva can’t be bothered to speak in her first language so her hosts can both understand what she’s saying, maybe she needs a new place to stay.”- Spiderwebwhisperer

“I’m Cuban and traditionally we speak Spanish.”

“We are able to speak English so guess what language we use around my American in laws?”


“Because that’s the polite thing to do.”

“I’m not about to have strangers tell me what language to speak but when you are in someone’s home you should be respectful and speak the language you commonly share with whoever is present.”

“Your niece is still young and is misinterpreting some social justice information to her advantage here.”

“Whether she’s conscious of it or not I can’t tell you but some redirection and education is necessary here.”


“It was a reasonable request.”- Ok-Commission-6433

“Your niece has main character syndrome.”

“I’m actually a native French speaker from a francophone family.”

“We NEVER speak French when not everyone can understand.”

“Even my grandmother and godmother, who speak English only with great difficulty.”

“Start speaking to your wife in codes and inside jokes.”

“See how Eva likes it.”

“NTA.”- MooshyMeatsuit



“Like you’re supposed to?”

“Sarah is your wife, who also graciously let your niece stay in her home.”

“Eva can get with the program or get out.”

“Her choice.”- I-Really-Hate-Fish


“This is your wife’s home, too.”

“It is only polite to speak the language all 3 of you have in common.”

“It’s disrespectful to speak a language she doesn’t know if it isn’t necessary.”

“Your niece can disagree all she wants, and she can also find another place to live.”

“It’s not like she is going to forget how to speak French.”

“Does she insist people at her job, at the grocery store, and people she comes in contact with all speak French, too?”- tatersprout

There were a select few, however, who felt that Eva speaking French around Sarah was a good learning opportunity for Sarah to improve her French, even if they still didn’t think the OP did anything wrong by telling Eva to stick to English in Sarah’s presence:


“My partner is from Argentina and speaks Spanish.”

“Most of his friends speak Spanish.”

“I can speak a little, but I understand more, like 50-80%.”

“Sometimes, I’m the only native English speaker in the room.”

“Usually a conversation in Spanish happens, but then someone will check in with me to make sure I understood things.”

“Y’all need to do a better job of translating, and your GF needs to do a better job of realizing that it’s not to exclude her. It’s how things are.”

“If no one ever used Spanish around me, I’d never learn more.”

“Being uncomfortable and not understanding things is part of the process.”- tinydot

In fact, Eva wasn’t wrong, the OP was prioritizing Sarah’s difficulties, as well he should have.

After all, Eva speaks French and English fluently, being asked to speak English isn’t making life more challenging for her.

While Sarah has gone to considerable effort to learn French without success.

Here’s hoping that in a few years and after a little growing up, Eva will realize that the OP was not trying to “suppress her identity” but merely trying to help his wife.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.