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Until you can speak with competence...

One might imagine that the skilled bilingual are the most helpful when one is learning a new language. In reality, they're nearly useless....

When people do not know how well you understand their language, they will underestimate you by default. It's easier.

And until you can show a skill in the target language that makes its use practical, nobody will have any natural tendency to overestimate your abilities.

You're lucky to get an even break, and more likely to get the shaft with a bilingual speaker. Sometimes, you'll play the fool. People are going to let you.

But the thing is, you kind of have to let them let you play the fool. You can't fight city hall, and it's hard to kick against the pricks.* There's no sense trying to prove anything to anybody. They'll figure it out.

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*This is an abuse of the English language (and possibly irreverent — but I don't care about that.)

Pricks, in the case of Saint Paul's usage, are something physical that shouldn't be kicked against. Pricks, in modern usage, are dickheads and sons-of-bitches.

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