Let me start this post with a disclaimer: I am not a language snob. I do not insist that people speak English whenever I am within earshot, nor do I consider anyone who speaks with an accent unable to speak English. (This is one of my pet peeves. Just because someone speaks with an accent does not mean they don't speak English!) My family are recent enough immigrants that I remember many of them speaking with an accent. When someone complains that immigrants don't learn the language fast enough, I often ask them if their own ancestors got off the boat speaking fluent English. Unless they are of English or Irish descent, this is very rarely the case. (Although, in the case of my own Italian grandmother, she did, in fact, speak fluent English before she ever came to America, having been schooled in Scotland.) But I digress...
There is one instance, however, where not speaking English really does rub me the wrong way. That is when people in public service positions (cashiers, fast food workers, etc) speak to each other in a language other than English, say, oh, i don't know....Spanish, for example. And even that is not so bad as when they speak to Spanish speaking customers in Spanish in front of me. It's not as if these workers or the customers are not perfectly bilingual, flipping easily back in to English to wait on me. It just seems rude. And, in the case of representing a national chain, not right. Does this ever happen to you? Does it bother you? Or am I turning into Lou Dobbs?
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