I work in a company where most of my team members communicate in the local language. It being my mother tongue, I can speak the language too. But, I prefer to speak English. Also, this local language has many dialects and sometimes, I find it a little difficult to understand what my colleagues speak. I try my best to understand them and then, I reply to them accordingly.

But, certain local languages and certain dialects take priority. And people take liberty to mock my dialect and the vocab too. I never mocked at the dialect which I cannot comprehend. I do understand that this exists almost everywhere in the world. And things do not change overnight.

A few of my colleagues are not comfortable speaking English. If I speak English, they hesitate a lot and it reflects in the quality of their voice. If I speak the local language, they are at utmost ease and at the same time, they start mocking me too. I am unable to balance this.

Most of the managers, HR speak the same dialect and whenever they meet, for official or non-official purposes, this language/dialect is always the preferred one. But, whenever I speak to my seniors, or HR, I ensure it is English as I am more comfortable with it.

I need suggestions as to how to overcome this mocking. Should I be ignoring it all the time? If I have to say anything, what should it be so that my point is clear to them without me being rude.

Edit: I have read the answers in the possible duplicate one. It focuses on problems faced with a foreign language. But, mine is specific to a dialect.

  • 1
    Where this is to do with the workplace, might this be better suited in interpersonal.stackexchange?
    – Smittey
    Jan 29, 2018 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


You have two reasonable choices and a bad one.

The first choice is to simply ignore the mocking entirely, focus on business, and pay no attention at all to their rudeness. They may come to respect you more and stop doing that. I suspect that the mocking is a way to cover their own discomfort at not being able to do well in English with you, so they may never stop. I recommend assuring yourself that this is about them, not you, and not feeling criticized over it. (I have seen time and again with sarcastic complaining people that they do it more when they feel self conscious and inadequate.)

The second choice is to address it right on the spot. The minute they do something you see as mocking, such as repeating a dialect word after you've said it, or exaggerating a pronunciation difference, stop what you're talking about and say something like "should we switch back to English?" or "Do you find me hard to understand in dialect? Should I talk more slowly?" Drawing attention to what they are doing, but not confronting them and telling them to stop being rude. This may cure them of the habit, or it may not. You stay polite and pleasant throughout.

The bad choice is to go to HR, your boss, or a separate one on one meeting with the offender in which the topic of the meeting is how they mock you when you speak dialect. Such things never lead to the mocking stopping. They can lead to conflict, aggression, and possibly the offender or you losing their job or being transferred away. I would save these sort of actions for deliberate aggressions that interfere with your work. This doesn't sound like what's happening to you.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .