SPEAKING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE
can get reeeallly annoying. experiences and thoughts and whatnot
- •DISCLAIMER: I am fully aware that not every non-native's experiences are the same, and that not all languages are seen as equal. by virtue of being a white, western fluent speaker I am received very differently than someone who's still learning the language, or has a heavy accent, or is not of European descent. in this sense I am very privileged.
- •I also know that there are native speakers who are assumed to be or treated as non-natives because of their ethnicity. even if I had a strong accent, mine wouldn't be the butt of a racist joke. I've never been told to "speak English" when speaking my native tongue in public. but I can't speak from any other perspective than my lived experience
- •"your English is really good"thanks, so is yours. 🙄
- •people attributing every comment I make about my academic work to the languageno, the reading didn't take a longer time than usual 'cause the language was hard; it was just really boring.
- •related, "I guess you have to translate everything you read, too"yeah I bring an Oxford English Dictionary to read supermarket labels. I don't think you understand what fluency means.
- •"I could never learn a hard FOREIGN language"/"at least English is easy"English isn't easier than other languages, you're just being lazy. (of course it's nice to be able to communicate around the world, but people who take pride in the fact that 'everyone speaks English' when in many cases it's cause of, you know, colonialism)
- •being defined in new social settings by my nationalitynot by my humor or intelligence or kindness or even by my bad qualities. do you remember me as me or "the Scandinavian one"? (bonus points if you after two months still think I'm Swiss)
- •being afraid people will think your English is incorrect when it isn'tavoiding the subjunctive mood in conversation lest people think I don't know how to conjugate my verbs
- •"I don't think of you as FOREIGN, you're just like us"thanks but... I am. and who DOES qualify as foreign to you then? what connotations does that word have for you?
- •"oh wow where are you from?!"a lot of times asked before even my name. where exactly were you born Stephen?????? trace your lineage for me please
- •"you sound American/Dutch/Canadian/German"ok cool. I'm not tho.
- •"is that your real accent?"no, I really sound like Gollum, this is all an elaborate ruse. what's a "real" accent anyway? how can I know what my native accent is when this isn't my native language? the fact that people think I would fake an entire manner of speaking for what? attention? y'all would make fun of me if my English was accented and people ask questions when it isn't.
- •thinking that once you do make a typo it's "proof" that you're a fraudeven if I do it way less than a lot of my friends who are native speakers. I can't help but think others will assume it's indicative of incompetence rather than a mistype.
- •having your voice mimicked at every turnthis is probably a lot worse if you have a strong "foreign" accent, and I guess this would happen to British people in America and vice versa and stuff, but it's honestly just annoying. yes, I say o-RE-gano and you say o-reg-ANO. neither is more correct, people just have different accents. how wild is that
- •people thinking a foreign accent is somehow correlated to intelligencewhat someone's words sound like doesn't say anything about the content of them