Living abroad, and working with using a foreign language… I many times experienced, when people pointed out my shortages in verbal or written communications. Obviously I am very pleased hearing someone to take care of my linguistic growth; I couldn’t speak any foreign language without the help of the mother-tongues, so if I don’t know, where I fail, I can’t get better.
But somehow it happens, that there are only some people, who help me anytime, usually this “help” arises at a point of a discussion, and it turns into a mental gun, if someone has anything to complain about, this person also attaches the tail of “please look it up, what you just told, it doesn’t make sense”.
Since I make errors in every language – maybe also in Hungarian, why not – I learned to forget my proud and to thank anyone, in any awkward situation (people usually don’t think on the consequence, they cause in me, with pointing out my errors (monolinguals forgiven, they don’t know, how it feels), yes, people usually don’t think at all).
I don’t only fail to attribute the endings correctly, but because of sloppy formulations I might also fail the meanings of sentences, which give the impression of me being a complete idiot. (Well, if I still would respond with my proud, I hardly think, anyone would take me seriously, with my current behavior I only seem to be a mouse).
But there remains always a thorn in me, I become really sad, like really-really sad and at that point I don’t want to speak that language anymore with my “helper”, like I would whip myself for having failed (and I really want to get better and be clear, but believe me, it is bloody difficult).
Looking at some funny things, what I should have renounced on, if I would have never opened my mouth in foreign cultures: I wouldn’t have any knowledge of computational linguistics, I wouldn’t know, that spaghetti Bolognese is only an invention of touristic restaurants, I wouldn’t understand, that the so open minded UK is often times still racist with the American English (hm…strange…why don’t they just let go? It is another language; people should feel lucky to understand more from the world, than usual natives of other languages do –> Hungary)
Where do I want to go with this?
If you’ve ever listened to anyone, who tried to explain himself in a foreign language, PLEASE be patient, it is already an intellectual exercise to use another code to get to the point, where you instead are already at the beginning of the communication. Pointing out any errors, any problems seem like telling a stammer to repeat, what he wants to say, because you don’t dig it. (I mean, you never met anyone, who is so embarrassed during a conversation or in an unusual situation that starts to stammer? Would you ever be such a dick to tell him anything like, “I know, you are embarrassed, but please stop stammering. You know, I am a bloody idiot to tell you, that I’ve noticed your verbal handicap.) You rather try to help him or just wait or rephrase or get a confirmation about what you think, he might have said, right?