You can’t tell what language speaks by their appearance, but it’s common to make assumptions about such things. I do this myself and usually expect that people who look Japanese will speak Japanese, and that who look Chinese will speak one or more varieties of Chinese, though I don’t tend to talk to them in the relevant language until I’m sure they do actually speak them.

I came across some amusing blog posts today about how wrong assumptions can be, here and here.

This entry was posted in Language.

3 Responses to Assumptions

  1. Abbie says:

    I know this guy who is a spanish jew, and I want to ask him if he speaks Ladino. Is that even still around?

  2. Simon says:

    According to Wikipedia, there are about 100,000 speakers of Ladino in Israel, 8,000 in Turkey, 1,000 in Greece, several hundred in the USA, and smaller numbers in other countries.

  3. Aaron says:

    “So do you speak Chinese or Japanese?” – that is hilarious.

    I can understand the reception, I am a British college student of Irish descent who speaks, reads and writes in Urdu. The response from the local Asian market community is one of pure disbelief when I am grocery shopping.

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