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Language barrier with future in-laws


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Old 16th October 2017, 10:01 AM   #1
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Language barrier with future in-laws

I recently met my partner's parents for the first time. Since we have different nationalities, I have trouble communicating with them.
My boyfriend and me speak English with each other, but his parents have a
very limited vocabulary. His mother, in particular, is not very good at expressing herself in English.
It makes me feel very awkward, as I feel I cannot be myself around them, can't make jokes, and on top of it all, makes me feel like a jerk for not speaking their language (I live in their country, after all, for several years already). They are really sweet people.

Do you have any tips on how to work around an awkward situation like this?
I think that the next time I see them will be at their home.
I want to show them that I appreciate their hospitality, and thank them for having paid for my ticket to a museum we went to last weekend.
I want to make a good impression, but I am so darn shy because of the language barrier (and because I am a shy person in general)....

Would a gift be too much? This will be the third time I will meet them.
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Old 16th October 2017, 10:09 AM   #2
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When you go to someone's home always bring a hostess gift.

Since you live in the country what are you doing to learn the language? Perhaps learn to say hello, please & thank you as a gesture before you go to their house. I'm sure your BF can teach you a few words / phrases.
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Old 16th October 2017, 10:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
When you go to someone's home always bring a hostess gift.

Since you live in the country what are you doing to learn the language? Perhaps learn to say hello, please & thank you as a gesture before you go to their house. I'm sure your BF can teach you a few words / phrases.
I do speak their language, but I am not fluent, rather A2 level.
Hello, goodbye, how are you, these are all no problem.
But it still leaves things awkward.

Another thing is that where they are from, people have strong dialect, so when I am in my city, I understand people very well, but when I am sitting at a table with my boyfriend's family, and they speak the language, I don't understand a word of what they are saying. It goes into one ear and out the other... very frustrating.

I didn't want to become fluent, because I thought I'd leave this year. But well, met my boyfriend and am staying, so I guess I must start learning the language now. But yeah, takes time.
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Old 16th October 2017, 10:31 AM   #4
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having lived abroad, as one pal pointed out, sometimes it can be better not to speak too much, less chance of saying the wrong thing
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Old 16th October 2017, 11:19 AM   #5
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Absolutely bring a gift! Just be of service to his mom, most mom-in-law appreciate a helpful gf in the kitchen.

I think you have enough to establish a good rapport with them as you know the basic to their language. I was a few years with an English man and my parents speak 0 English. I had to translate all the time, it was very demanding during family visits.

With time you'll get use to their heavier accent and slang. I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old 16th October 2017, 11:25 AM   #6
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My husband doesn't speak my native language and my parents love him! Maybe because he doesn't speak ) Just smile be polite and helpful, bring a gift and it'll be alright.
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Old 16th October 2017, 1:15 PM   #7
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If you are marrying and setting down roots in a country, I think it's time to learn the language there.
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Old 16th October 2017, 2:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GunslingerRoland View Post
If you are marrying and setting down roots in a country, I think it's time to learn the language there.
Not marrying anybody. I was gonna leave this year, was only supposed to stay for 4 years. Unfortunately I can't learn the language until next summer, as I am doing a language course for a different language right now as part of my career. I really hope to be starting a new course next year if my relationship continues to flourish and I end up settling down here after all... Without marriage, of course
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