In part 1, I talked about how to navigate cultural issues. What about when this is compounded by a language barrier? Your home will probably have a dominant language, the one that both of you speak well enough to communicate in. This may be your native language, your partners, or perhaps even a third language which is a second language for both (such as the official language of the country you’re living in, and the couple have no other common language).
Most people can’t or don’t communicate effectively with people who already speak their native language, and we are unfortunately living in an era of declining social skills. When your partner is from a different language background, effective communication skills become even more important.
With the following advice I’m assuming there is enough language skill for most day-to-day communication, that you can generally understand each other, but may have occasional miscommunications or misunderstandings. These may arise from grammatical mistakes, misused or confused vocabulary, difficulty expressing complex ideas or forming complex sentences, etc.
Part 2 of this post is now live, check it out here
If you’re in a relationship with someone from abroad (or even a different region or minority group from your own country), you may feel at times that you come from different planets. Things that aren’t even on your priority list at all can be a big deal for your partner. Similarly, they can carelessly step on your toes as well.
If they’re from a different language background, these problems can become compounded with miscommunications. You know, suddenly they seem offended and you can’t understand why, or they give a mindless ‘yes’ to a question it later turns out they didn’t understand at all. Then there’s the times it feels like they’re having a completely different conversation with a voice in their head rather than actually hearing what you’re saying, and you get stuck in a loop of repeating or explaining and they keep not understanding.
Maybe the primary language in the home is your partner’s and you find it exhausting to try and speak. You may sometimes also feel embarrassed when you make mistakes.
I’ve been there, and I’m here to help if you’re having a similar situation.
This is a two-part series. In the first post, I’ll be dealing with culture. In part 2, I will be dealing with linguistic issues. Here are my tips….