If you’re new here you may not be aware that I am a Brit living in Finland. I’ve lived in Finland for coming up to nine years now, and I can speak Finnish passably though I still struggle with it, in part because my jobs have all involved using English so I don’t have a lot of opportunity to practice my Finnish.
If I’m asked, generally I will choose to communicate in English because it’s easier for me. Although I’m happy to try Finnish with the understanding of the other person that I may need to switch to English.
And yet, it irritates me when people assume I don’t speak Finnish. Today at the airport, for example, the staff would see my British passport and immediately switch to English, even if all the interaction we were having was them saying thank you. And, as a one year Finnish citizen and almost nine year resident I can definitely understand “kiitos”, as well as a fair few words beyond that.
I suppose it’s understandable that when encountering a Brit taking a flight to England you have no reason to think they’re not a tourist. But it still irks me.
Plus it’s not just at the airport. It happens other places too. People overhear me and husband speaking English and assume that they should switch too. They don’t know that I don’t speak Finnish, but they assume. I really would prefer it if they would start out in Finnish and let me try before they switch to English.
Maybe I’m just being too fussy.