Language power struggles

Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Have you ever heard about this? When a native and a foreigner communicate, but both want to exercise the language they are learning, so the guest in the native country tries to exercise its Chinese in China, while the Chinese wants to exercise his/her English with the American guest. It can be such a drain. 


I learned so much from this article/blog post. 


http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2010/05/18/language-power-struggles 


And the points shared bellow are awesome too. This is the case. 


A language power struggle appears when you want to exercise the language you're studying with a local person in the country of origin. But the other person, also wants to practice his/her learning language with a native speaker (you). However, in many states, this struggle can be so intense, because both parties do not let loose and give up. Natives usually tend to exercise their English for example with native English speakers. It can sometimes be a case of a social prestige (in India for example Indians prefer talking in English with English people apparently sometimes as a sign of higher education and status, so of course they are going to prefer to practice and brag with THAT language), or how much pride someone takes in his/her own language (even in my case, when foreigners used to want to practice Macedonian with me, or just telling me they are studying it, I always replied with "Why the heck would you do/need that..." . I understand their will now though and even though it's not spoken almost anywhere but here :)), I offer help). 


There are also two points taken into consideration when there is an issue of finding a common language when two language learners are conversing. Are we going to focus on efficiency of communication, or on practice. That's why it is beneficial to find someone who would do language exchange with you, rather than trying to enforce your language of practice on native speakers who are not there for that. The topics, ambient, reasons for being in a certain place and a certain time, are also relevant to the intentions of communication both parties have. So, in my opinion, you can not expect a Chinese waiter for example to lend you his/her fluent Chinese and corrections to your poor Chinese in a restaurant where you came to eat (while you're an American and the waiter does converse in English), and not practice your Chinese. A Chinese waiter isn't supposed to also expect to exercise or demonstrate his/her poor English when taking an order from a native English speaker guest in the restaurant (when the guest speaks Chinese, no matter the level).


I believe usually men or male's energy tries to enforce his/her learning language, it's that energy that raises the language power struggle (or whatever power struggle for that matter). I believe women or female's energy is more allowing and focuses on the exchange of content, rather than dominance in knowing a language (or just the urgent need to practice your language). Not that anyone is better or worse! I love power struggles sometimes myself, it can be fun to see how much one desires to have his/her own need to practice the language in question in this case, placed as one's priority. 


I find this article great, I encourage you to read it. It's part of the study of sociolinguistics. And PLEASE share if you have any similar experiences or thoughts on it whatsoever! I would really like to know 


Thanks!

Mai 


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#1
Hobbit
Posts19Likes 12Joined 5/9/2018LocationLisbon / PT
Native
Portuguese
Other English, Spanish

Thanks for the sharing. It really helped me out!

Gave you a like

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#2
Ent
Posts760Likes 466Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Korean
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

That reminds me of this old thread on language banditry. I agree with the final conclusion of the article in the OP - if you want to practice your L2, hang out with natives who have a lower level in their respective L2. I personally am not really interested in learning a language, going to the target country and speaking my L1, so I just don't do it unless it's a few words in passing or something. 

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#3
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Yes Leo, I agree with that too! Thank you for adding that conclusion or suggestion from the article 



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#4
Hobbit
Posts28Likes 5Joined 17/9/2018LocationCavite / PH
Native
Cebuano, Tagalog
Learning Chinese - Mandarin, German

Yes, this is interesting article.

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#5