Unequivocally Ambiguous

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Obscure Names for Hating Others and Their Languages

by | Apr 10, 2024 | culture, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yo compro pan francés and other lingo-curiosities Part 1

Xenoglossophobia is the fear of learning a new language.

I don’t particularly experience this fear.

But I have studied English, French, and Italian, and in every single class, someone has always been terrified of being called out by the teacher. I couldn’t wait to butcher the language and try my hand at making jokes about trauma and other off-color topics — which I have found to sound really good in Romance languages.

Of all the languages I studied, I only speak English. However, not everybody would agree with that.

For French, I use the Spanish phrase, “yo compro pan Francés.” Which translated from Spanish means, “I buy baguettes.” But phonetically sounds like the French phrase, “Je comprends pas Français.” I don’t understand French.

For Italian, I know how to flail my hands and emphasize my passion when shouting ‘parolacce’ like “Vaffanculo,” “Testa di cazzo,” and “Figlio di puttana”. I can make people totally believe I’m a proficient Italophone.

When I was studying Italian, my classmates didn’t think I was speaking Italian, but I was confidently speaking in Spanish while moving my hand in stereotypically Italian ways.

They were just jealous, probably because they experienced a level of xenoglossophobia.

Xenoglossophobia as a fear is somewhat irrelevant if all you are trying to do is go to your local Mexican restaurant and tell classic bangers like: “Su casa es mi casa,” “Uno más o menos margarita ,” o “Este gringo mucho borracho.”

There are regions in the world where these concerns take a more ominous shape. There is not only the fear of learning the dominant language of the country where your culturally different tribe is but also that your regional language would be eliminated altogether.

A phenomenon known as glottophagy. Think of Catalan speakers in Catalonia as part of Spain. (¡Visca el Barça i visca Catalunya!)

How do I know all this?

Well, I’m a brilliant linguistics academic in my spare time.


That’s a lie. (Sono un bugiardo!!!)

I have no time.

I ran into all this information by mistake and as a spillover of parenting.

I was trying to find out if there was a word for hating others for speaking a different language.

Yes, we all know the word xenophobia, but that’s hating others for belonging to different countries and cultures and not specifically because of their language.

I started on this unpaid, unqualified research because every morning, while my daughters are having breakfast, I give them Spanish cue cards.

It gives me an opportunity to teach them some words a little at a time, and it distracts them from starting a food fight.

The “Ear” card came up, and I told my youngest daughter, “Oreja,” and she corrected me, “No. Ear.”
“I know, baby. That’s the word in English, but in Spanish, it is “Oreja.”
“No! Ear!”
“Yes, ear in English; oreja in Spanish.”
“No!!! Ear!!!”

There was an insistence so rigid that it made me wonder if the resistance to other’s language starts this early in life.

We all know that this stage is the most important stage in teaching kids a language. But is this stage also the stage where if another language is not taught, then humans struggle to accept on a more fundamental, subconscious level that there are many languages that label a simple body part like “Oreja.”

When it came to “Ear,” there was no other word available for my daughter.

So I looked for a term describing hating others who speak a different language, and I didn’t know how tophrased the search.

I either kept coming up with xenophobia, which is the word for hating foreigners, or xenoglossophobia, which is the fear of learning a different language.

But nothing for hating others for speaking a different language.

Eventually, I phrased the search just right and I found the word, xenolingohassen.

Honestly, the answer didn’t look at all that academic. I found it on a forum as a response. But I still liked the sound of it and its construction seems legit.

Xenolingohassen is the word for hating others who speak a different language.

It is probably a hate that overlaps almost a hundred percent with xenophobia. If someone hates another person based on something as silly as the place in which they happened to be born, then it is very likely they hate others who speak a different language or even their same language with a different accent.

I’m not describing my daughter, of course. But do people who hate others because of their origin and their language start this early on their paths? I don’t know.

For most parents, what happened with my daughter is just a cute story, and it was for me.

It was also a little troubling. Spanish is my native language and any resistance from my daughters to it feels like a defeat.

My wife understands Spanish but doesn’t speak it; her native language is English. When I speak to her, I speak to her in English. When I speak to my daughters, I have to language-switch (called code-switching in linguistics) from speaking to my wife in English to speaking to them in Spanish.

Similar to task switching, it is not as easy as people think it is. So, a lot of the time, I just speak to them in English.

Who knows if I will succeed in teaching them Spanish.

But while I don’t speak to my kids in Spanish consistently, I do everything else to make them interested in the language, like giving them Q cards with their pancakes, introducing them to my Spanish nostalgia music, and entry-level emotional blackmailing à la abuelita.

I would call it a win if I can make at least make them “Lingocurious.” But if that fails, I would be happy if they are at least, “Lingotolerant.”

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