Is it Rude to Speak in Another Language?

There are more bi-lingual people and folks who speak multiple languages in the world today than ever before. 

But, what about when you are at work, school, or other gatherings where the majority of people speak one language? 

Is it rude to speak in another language in such cases? Read on below with us and learn the truth of the matter!

Is it Rude to Speak in Another Language?

Generally speaking there is nothing rude about speaking in another language. Quite the opposite, knowing more than one language increases your overall communication skills dramatically.

However, to do so in front of others who don’t understand the language is indeed more often than not considered rude on your behalf.

The main exception in this rule is when someone else speaks in another language and an interpreter is needed.

How Rude Is it?

rudemeter-rating-07

On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, speaking in another language rates 7

The main reason for such a high rudeness level is that speaking in another language that others don’t understand, especially in public, school, or a work environment, makes others feel uncomfortable. 

Further, when someone speaks in another language in front of others in order to say something without anyone else understanding, it is extra rude (more like a 10 out of 10 on the rude meter).

Why is it Rude?

When you speak in another language, it should be directly with others who speak the language (or at least understand it) as well. 

Speaking another language that others don’t understand, on purpose, is extremely rude. When you speak languages the others around you don’t understand, you risk making them feel ignorant. 

Even more, by speaking another language in front of others, you may be offending people by leading them to believe you are saying something rude.

Other Options to Do Instead

When you don’t know whether or not it would be rude to speak in another language, consider these options:

  • Stick to the main language others are speaking around you
  • Try a sentence or two and see if anyone else understands your language
  • Hold your tongue, if you can’t speak the main language others are speaking
  • Try writing something down in the main language people are speaking

Common Questions

Is it rude to speak in another language?

It is only rude to speak in another language if you do so in front of others or do so in a hateful or mocking manner. Otherwise, feel free to speak in any language you feel most comfortable in.

That said, most workplaces do require employees to communicate in the native language of the company that is located or based out of.

Is it rude to talk in a different language at work?

It is indeed rude to talk in a different language at work if you are working in an environment that is speaking a different one.

The proper thing to do is practice the main language spoken at your workplace, at least enough for basic communication.

Is it ok to speak in another accent?

Speaking in another accent, if you are speaking it honestly (as in you are from another country or have a different native language) there is nothing rude about it.

However, if you are speaking in another accent in a mocking manner, it is not ok and will be considered rude (as it should be).