It’s incredible how one person can NOT hear a converstation at all when the conversation is in a language that one doesn’t understand.
In case you haven’t seen my previous blog, my mom is staying with us for three months after Nina was born. She speaks a Chinese dialet – Fenghua hua, and my husband speaks French. They don’t understand each other’s language.
So this is what happens quite often. My husband would ask me a question in French, and just when I am about to answer or half way through the conversation, my mom would start a conversation with me, as if she doesn’t hear that there is already another conversation going on, and I cannot answer two questions at the same time! My husband sometimes would do the same, but ever since I protested once he pays a lot of attention not starting a second conversation. Alas, my mom still does …
I don’t think they are being rude to cut an on-going conversation. It’s just that, since they don’t understand the other language, they don’t register the fact that there is another converstation. It’s like the brain auto-filters the strange language. When you think of it, brain sometimes can ignore things that it doesn’t pay attention to. That’s how brain survives – if it has to register everything single information happening at the same time, it would go insane!
Now I think back when I just arrived in France, when my French was less than so-so, my brain sometimes totally switched off that I didn’t hear a single French word even when I was surrounded by French conversation. It might be the same thing for my mom and my husband.
Hopefully, Nina won’t filter out Chinese and French in the future.