I’ve been mentioning Robyn here a lot of late, and I shall do so again now.
Once, she said something that I’ve been mulling over since then. I wonder if she even remembers. Anyway, she said that it’s impolite, if you’re in the presence of others who don’t understand a particular language, to speak to someone in that language. (Assuming, of course, that that person knows the language of the other people.)
I found myself thinking, “But I do that all the time…” I speak Japanese with my Japanese teachers, regardless of whoever’s around at the time. Not to mention my random signing and Japanese in personal discussions with myself.
But at the same time, I remember one time when I felt slightly upset because of this very thing, or something like it. When I was working with a Deaf young man once, the hearing people who were around were saying something that eventually led them to say that it’s a good thing he couldn’t hear, so he didn’t hear what they were saying. That sort of irked me.
But… what’s the difference? Maybe it’s that I don’t like the idea of talking behind someone’s back in front of them. I mean, sure, if you’re with a group of people, it’s sort of rude to have private other-language conversation, but then to have private other-language chat-piipl conversation… That’s even worse.
Or maybe I just have a soft spot for Deaf?
I don’t know if I personally care if two people decide to run off into their own conversations in whatever language, though… It hasn’t happened to me enough for me to develop an opinion. And in the times that it has happened, I usually at least have some grasp of the language, so I use it as an opportunity to practise my listening skills.
So, maybe I’ll get back to you with my thoughts on it another time.
“Fi chat piipl” means to talk about people behind their backs.