Posts Tagged ‘bilingual’

communication issues within the family

June 13, 2012

Hmm, I seem to be posting now more than ever and I am so busy. But, I think it helps to post when I am thinking about things. then, I go back to packing.

this post has nothing to do with packing, however. It has to do with language and family.
I have a family reunion on Saturday. I’m bringing vegetarian baked beans and samosas (if I can get to the store in time). DH figured that we should not have to bring anything. after all, we have a little baby, we are coming from far away and… … yes, the most common excuse, “We are blind.” My mother told him that if he / we did not bring food for the pitch in, she would make sure that he would not get any of her strawberry banana dessert (which he loves enough to ask her to make him a bowl to take home). My SIL will also be down that day. She is coming on Friday and will stay until Tuesday. She, her driver friend and her little baby Ayaan will come with us to the event.
My mother rarely “makes a request,” she just “tells people what to do.” And, so, she told me (on several occasions) to tell DH and Sil that she did not want them to speak Urdu during the reunion. Often when she calls, DH is on the phone with SIL and she can hear him in the background. He always speaks to her in Urdu, even though both of them are very proficient in English. I have to admit that it bothers me, as well. when they are talking on the phone, I am not as annoyed, but when she comes to our house and they both talk in Urdu — Or Punjabi (which is why it would be pointless for me to learn Urdu, if my only aim was to understand what they were saying) it is annoying. I find it rude. It says to me:
We are “choosing” to leave you out of our conversation. This dialog is only between us two special people and we have a wonderful special bond that you can’t and won’t share with us, no matter how much you try. and, I have had more than one person ask DH when he and his sister are out: “are you husband and wife?” That is, they think that DH and his sister are married — not DH and me. /This special communication doesn’t help any. although my whole family knows that DH and I are married, it just proves how exclusive it makes DH and his sister look. They do have a very very very (can’t say “very” enough times) close relationship. It is somewhere between father/daughter and twin. “Twin” because they want to do everything together and have parallel lives. “Father/daughter” because many times, he will act like her father — taking responsibility for her and her decisions… … and before the feminists get all up in arms, know that it is “her choice.” Some women do feel better having a male figure be responsible for their well being and decisions. I can’t explain it.
OK, am I being a bit dramatic? Probably.But, I do think that it is rude when you are suppose to be socializing with others to exclude them from your conversation by “choosing” to speak in a language that they don’t understand. I keep emphasizing the word “choose,” because, it would be entirely different “if” they didn’t know English. But, they do.
and, if I am honest, some of these language Issues have stopped me from learning the language that I was so intrigued by from the start. I had good intensions to learn Urdu. I wanted to talk to my ILS and knew that they were not very proficient in English. I wanted to speak it to Azaan so that he would be bilingual. I had someone teaching me and we were making great progress. but:
DH would not talk with me on a daily regular basis so that I could get better. the rub is that: He’ll talk with his sister for at least two hours a day — mostly in Urdu. But, he can’t spend ten minutes helping me get better. I am not saying that he doesn’t want me to learn the language. I am saying that he doesn’t want to put any effort forth in helping me learn it, but he is perfectly fine sharing that lingual bond with his sister. Language is important enough for him to want to speak it on a daily basis — just not with a novice like me.
I could go on and on about my own feelings; but I am wondering (from you readers);
Is my family being too closminded? Are DH and my sil being rude? I’d love to ehar your opinions.