"You're lying"

A big part of my life is my heritage, since being Polish is an everyday type of thing. I mean we eat Polish food all of the time at my house and celebrate Polish holidays. I don’t just stop being Polish sometimes, which is why it is weird when people don’t believe me when I tell them I can speak Polish. Here’s a typical scene:

“You’re Polish?” “Yea, both my parents are Polish and I was born in Poland,” “Well do you speak Polish then?” “Yea, I speak Polish fluently,” “You’re lying! I don’t believe you.” “Um, ok? Why not?” “Prove it then, say something Polish right now,” they demand. “Ja mam na imie Marcin Czapla, I ja umiem rozmawiac po Polsku (My name is Marcin Czapla and I know how to speak Polish),” I would say with almost annoyance in my voice. “Wow you really do know how to speak Polish!” they would exclaim almost surprised as if I hadn’t told them already. “Yea..,” I would reply.

I understand people could be from a different country, like for example Spain, and not speak that country’s language. If I tell you I’m Polish though, and you ask me if I speak it, and I reply with “yes”, then how can you tell me I’m lying about that? Why would I lie about being able to speak the language of the country I am from, there almost no benefits to it if any, especially if it’s just a friendly conversation where I am trying to get to know you? Maybe if it was to go on a application to somewhere, like a job for instance, that needed a Polish speaking employee, then I would understand the speculations. For me though, it usually happens during one of those friendly types of conversations where you are just meeting someone for the first time and are trying to get to know them better, or when you just see someone that you don’t talk to as much and you start some small talk.

This has been happening to me my whole life which is why I’m basically used to it by now, but in the beginning it used to always annoy me. I mean I was born in Poland, but my parents came to this country with me when I was only a few months old. Even though I’ve spent almost my whole life here, at my house we all still speak primarily Polish to each other. My parents are both Polish too and were born there obviously, but unlike me this doesn’t happen to them. It might be because since their adults and they are immigrants, it’s almost expected of them to be able to speak the language of the country that they came here from. I also understand that for someone my age to speak another language fluently could be seen as impressive or not very common, but telling me I’m lying when I tell you I speak Polish or telling that to someone no matter what the language is disrespectful. What that shows, or how I perceive it at least, is that you are doubting the fact that I know another language, or you think I’m lying to you. I know that some people use the phrase “You’re lying” as just a way of expressing that they are surprised, but in most cases that I’ve been in the people that said this were being serious. I think that people do this because a new language is something so new and well foreign to them, which is why they aren’t used to it and act like they act. It’s basically the same situation for me every time too, but I could understand why, I mean if I were to meet someone who spoke another language I wouldn’t say the same thing as them, but I would be just as surprised.

I would be walking somewhere, usually down a hallway at school, when I run into someone from one of my classes that I really don’t talk to that much. We would start conversing and create some small talk and eventually the subject would somehow get to me being Polish.

In conclusion, being Polish is a big part of my life That’s why when someone tells me they don’t believe that I can speak Polish it’s pretty offensive to me. I do understand that people might do it without even knowing it could be offensive or they don’t mean it to be, but it does sound a little rude most of the time and it hits me on a personal level if said in the wrong way.