Míša (2)

I’m not a native speaker of English and lived in England in the year of Brexit voting (2016). I lived in Newcastle at the time, working as a linguist at Newcastle University. This sort of job requires a fairly high level of English proficiency. I was moving some furniture from one house to another, and a native English speaker offered to give me a hand. We started chatting, and he started complaining about “all those horrible immigrants” right after I answered his question of where I come from with “Czech Republic”.  The conversation got far from pleasant as we kept on pushing the furniture: his comments spanned the wonderfully broad range of xenophobic statements, a good dose of mansplaining, hand some ageist comments related to me personally. At some point, I simply stopped reacting to what he was saying because there was no point engaging with this human being. When we got the furniture to the destination, he left with the following words: “I know I speak way too fast for someone like you to be able to follow, and it’s too difficult for you to follow my dialect, but I have a good life.” Indeed, silence from a non-native speaker of English can only mean one thing – lack of comprehension. All the non-native speakers of any language out there, let’s keep our heads up!