This thread made me think about conversations I have with Chinese people.
I had a student once who said that her mother-in-law rarely speaks directly to her. At dinner, her mother-in-law will say things to my student's husband such as "Does your wife want more rice?"
Now that I have a baby, I notice I am a hit with middle-aged Chinese woman. If I am out with my daughter, they love talking to me. However, if I am out with my daughter and my wife, I am usually left out of the conversation. I will try to join the conversation. Then they often will say to my wife, "His Chinese is good," and then continue on without me.
Before having a baby, I noticed this as well. I see a conversation in Chinese. I know what is happening. I try to join. Whamo--left out.
I have come to the conclusion that in China there isn't the concept that everyone should be included in a conversation. I don't say this to complain (although I must admit it is frustrating at times). I'm just wondering if I am the only one who notices this? Is this something Chinese people teach? It may sound ridiculous, but I have seen it happen enough times that I can't help wonder if this has something to do with Confucianism? Or is this just a normal thing when two cultures bump into each other? Generally, the people that leave me out of conversations seem good natured enough.
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