What grinds your gears?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Cavesa, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    I've had this too, but not as often.
    Here's an example of a power struggle. Before they agree to do the lesson, I typically tell tutors I want an informal conversation with minimal correction. New teachers, or tutors without degrees usually get it, but often more experienced teachers will agree to do the lesson, then spend a lot of time asking me what I want during the lesson. When they finally admit that they understand I want to talk to them as a friend would, we start the conversation. They often give me rapid-fire questions and either don't reply or briefly reply to my questions before bombarding me with the next one. If I chastise them for this, they often become completely passive. I'll chastise them for that, and they'll say they are just trying to get me to talk. Then the final straw - they'll say they can't talk to me as a friend because I'm a student. The last time this happened I asked the tutor to pretend she was my friend, and that actually worked. But usually if they use the final straw, the lessons comes to an end.
  2. BAnna

    BAnna Active Member VIP member

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    I heard an interview with Judith Meyer a while back about the best way to work with a language tutor and she suggested an experienced language learner should work with an inexperienced tutor and vice-versa. The logic was that a more experienced tutor may be less flexible and have an agenda they want to follow, whereas you as an experienced learner know what you want and can more easily get the inexperienced tutor to follow your lead. And someone inexperienced in learning is more clueless as to what so they need so the experienced tutor is a better choice. Makes sense to me.
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  3. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Yup - that's good advice!
  4. Wise owl chick

    Wise owl chick Active Member

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    When a person test other ones' level of a langauge by one word, when they ask if the person know a particular word in the language and if yes, the person is C2 if no the person is A1.
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  5. embici

    embici New Member

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    "You speak ____? Say something!"
    The lack of respect or recognition of intermediacy. Sometimes it seems as though unless you speak like a native speaker, some people don't recognize your ability at all.
  6. garyb

    garyb Member

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    Similar to Cavesa's: not being taken seriously by native speakers, whether it be them switching to English, telling me I'm wasting my time by learning their language, talking to me like a child or asking me if I'm managing to follow the conversation when it's clear that I'm understanding just fine, making condescending statements like "that's nice, you speak a little bit of [language]", the list goes on... Even the contrary, people saying for example that my Italian is "fluent" or "perfect" when I'm fully aware that it's nowhere near, just comes across as insincere and condescending in a similar way. I've learnt to be much less sensitive about these things, especially since people often don't have bad intentions and they might even be trying to be helpful and encouraging, but they still bother me a little and feel like an insult to all the time and effort I've put in.

    As for language learning, I get sick of hearing the idea that to speak well you just need lots of input, or that to have a good accent you just need to do lots of listening. It seems to work for some people, but not all of us!
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  7. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    I used to get really hacked off when, after being told I spoke Spanish (or French), someone would say something utterly comprehensible, I'd ask them to repeat themselves, and instead of repeating, they'd say something like "see? he doesn't speak Spanish!" I used to respond by just speaking Spanish for a bit, but in the end I just decided to rise above it. In fact, I think the last time it happened, there was a Spanish girl next to me. I looked at her and shrugged.
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  8. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    When you ask someone in your TL to repeat something that they just said in your TL, and they instead repeat it in unintelligible English.

    When others can't stand to listen to Spanish music unless they are in a mexican restaurant.

    When someone says "you've been doing this for how long and can't (fill in the blank)?"

    When someone who never learned a non-native language keeps giving you advice on how to do it.
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  9. tastyonions

    tastyonions Member VIP member

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    Yeah, I get this occasionally in French. The other night at my Meetup, one of my fellow anglophones remarked that the words he has the hardest time understanding on the French radio are often the English ones pronounced with a thick accent, and I had to agree with him. Just this morning it took me several takes to realize that a discussion was not about a movie called "Golfing Girl," but rather the James Bond film "Goldfinger."

    :confused:
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  10. Chung

    Chung New Member

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    Native speakers or teachers who make a point of flashing their nationalistic judgements under the guise of helping you be "grammatical" in their native language.
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  11. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    ...particularly "have you tried Rosetta Stone?"
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  12. newyorkeric

    newyorkeric New Member

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    Not too much bothers me probably because I don't advertise my language learning to friends or family and if someone asks me about it I usually say something short and then change the subject. Probably the only thing is when someone says Chinese is easy because there is little grammar. Errrr.
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  13. pat tou

    pat tou New Member VIP member

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    Grammar.
  14. hrhenry

    hrhenry Member VIP member

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    This one totally bugs me too.
    My standard answer for it is "If you'd like for me to speak XXXX, sure - we can have a conversation in that language, otherwise I'm not a performing monkey."

    R.
    ==
  15. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    I have encountered this most with Mandarin over the years which I studied decades ago. With the internet now I would probably just suggest they google for a X language streaming station and listen all they want to. Of course you can also be flip and say something insulting but tell them it is different.
  16. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    you have a face.. ah... como un burro.
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  17. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    Thank you!
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  18. zKing

    zKing New Member

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    1. As my L2 is Cantonese: "You really should learn Mandarin." My response: "But my mother-in-law doesn't speak Mandarin when she's talking about me."

    2. When someone uses speaking accent as the absolute measure of another person's skill in a language.
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  19. garyb

    garyb Member

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    Ah, the classic "why are you learning language X? You should learn Y instead!".

    "Italian's a useless language, why the hell are you learning it?" is something I hear semi-regularly from Italians. Yes, that "useless" language that's spoken by 80 million people, spoken by a significant proportion of my social circle, spoken by several people I've dated, spoken in a country that I travel to regularly, and I hear almost constantly when walking around my city.

    Usefulness is relative and depends on your own situation.
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  20. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Strange how some people like to slam their own languages. I'm surprised at how many Indians have advised me against learning Hindi, for example.

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