Why comment/correct people in English?

I’d like to a talk about an annoyance which has been bugging me for some time, and I hope people reading it will take it to heart.

I’ve noticed a lot recently, that people who correct other people’s non-English posts, often write their comments in English, even if the learner isn’t a native English speaker.

I’ve noticed this more on other sites, such as Lang-8, than I have on here, and I really hope people can understand why this is annoying. If I’m learning Spanish/German etc., I want to be corrected in that language and not in English. More so, when correcting non-English speakers, I find it rude to assume that they speak English.

When I correct people’s posts in English, I will always leave comments in English. I’m not sure why people can’t do this the other way round. I have even specifically asked under my posts if they could write their comments in the language, and the request is normally completely ignored.

To a lesser extent, I have also found this with Skype tutors as well. I can understand the use of English at the beginners level, but once someone is advanced enough, there is no need to use English, or continually switch between two languages. It wouldn’t be too bad if the Skype lesson was free, but I’m paying for it, and I want the lesson to help me and be suited to my style of learning.

I think it’s fair to say that even if someone’s writing ability doesn’t seem to be very high, they can usually understand much much more than they can produce.

If a user asks in English I answer in English. If a user asks in German I answer in German. In conversation I try to avoid English. I help in English only when the conversation partner wants me to explain something in English. In which languages have you experienced this problems? Have you told the tutor what you feel about this? My experience is that most of the tutors try to do it the way I like after I’ve told them how I like it. If they don’t do it the way you like, you should try another tutor.

P.S. Sorry for the post before. It was me from the wrong account.


Thanks for the reply Vera. I respect you for doing exactly what you do, I just wish others were the same. I’ve found it mostly with Polish and somewhat with Spanish. I have had several tutors, and I have made it very clear that they are not to speak English at all to me. It took me a while to find a tutor who was actually capable of doing this. The worst example I had was a lady who simply read out a grammar book in English to me and didn’t even let me speak. I told her several times that I didn’t like the lesson and her style of teaching, and she argued with me, claiming she had years of experience teaching.

I’d like to think that I have a good understanding of Polish, I can watch films, listen to the radio and happily understand what’s going on. I know it sounds crazy, but when I’m learning a language, hearing my own native-language, or being asked to translate into English gives me a headache quickly. Even if the tutor continues to talk in English to me, I will only answer back in the language I’m learning.

And yes, I do actually ask questions in my target languages, and I’d say 50% of the time, I will get an answer in English. I have even changed my profile on a Spanish site to say that I’m Polish, but people still write to me in English :P.

I agree with you Wiewiorka!

I’ve also an account on Lang8 and I’ve noticed the same thing. Here I don’t know, I only come for the forum.

Like you, when I correct a text in French I write in French, and don’t want to use another language. I can give a translation if I’m asked to but I’ll always give the French equivalent.
And when I submit a text in English or Portuguese, I want people to write in English or Portuguese. Sometimes they comment in French, or in English instead of Portuguese. Maybe they want to show they’re able to use another language…

Besides, I find that comments are extremely useful to learn more colloquial phrases. To me they’re as important, if not more, as the correction.


Thanks for the comment. It looks like it happens in any language then. I believe some people simply want to prove to you that they know “your language” as well. My girlfriend, who is Polish, says that Polish people love doing this, and that I should simply pretend I’m . I don’t want to generalise and say that it’s just Polish, I’m sure it happens in any language, as you have just proved.

I also agree with you 100%, the comments are extremely useful, and are often more useful than the actual correction.

I’d like to point out that this doesn’t just happen on Lang-8, it has happened when I’ve actually spoke to people face to face, some will continually slip English sentences into the conversation unnecessarily. I’ve even had people translate back to me in English what I’ve just said in Polish, as if to prove that “anything you can do, I can do better”. It almost becomes like a competition, and this whole mentality is actually negatively affecting me, and sometimes I think “Why do I bother even learning your language”. Ironically, the same people complain about “bloody foreigners” coming to their country and not learning the language.

Since you need to pay (or have points) to have items corrected on LingQ, I’d be very angry if this continually happened.

If someone tries to speak to me in my language, I find it rude to answer in another. It’s like telling that your skills are worth nothing.
So, I agree if that is a point.

My experiene ON LINGQ is that reports are made in the target language. And that is what LingQ tells the tutors to do. Only for beginners I ADD sometimes English explanations but then I send these explanations via email. The LingQ reports should be only in the target language because people can add them as a lesson.

P.S. Above was me from the wrong account again. If I’ll ever learn it?


Exactly, it’s insulting, to say the least


Which is great, that’s exactly as it should be. I guess if I want decent corrections, I’ll need to buy some points on LingQ :slight_smile:

"My experiene ON LINGQ is that reports are made in the target language. And that is what LingQ tells the tutors to do. Only for beginners I ADD sometimes English explanations but then I send these explanations via email. The LingQ reports should be only in the target language because people can add them as a lesson. "

Absolutely correct. When I receive the odd “kindly” translation in English on my report I tell the tutor not to do that. I have access to an online dictionary when I import the report into LingQ and do not need the translation, and it messes up my statistics.