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Writing Tripe Since 2004
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Please! Do not, like, let us corrupt you!
I have always been impressed by multi-lingual people. In especial, one thing I have always admired about European people (look out for a sweeping generalization here) is that many of them fluently speak English (and probably other tongues), as well as their first language. The fact that they can appear on an American television or radio program and sound well-versed and intelligent is much more than I, or many other Americans, could do in English, say nothing about in a second language.

But let me warn you: do not mimic us! We are not the gold standard, trust me. I bring this up because I was listening to National Public Radio last night. They have a program in the evenings called "The World" which is a co-production with Public Radio International and the BBC. They had a really interesting interview, which you can listen to here (look for the June 27, 2005 edition), about people using "video letters" to reunite friends who had lost each other during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The two people involved, I can't remember their names, were really trying to do something on a individual level to heal that area. They conducted the interview in English,without a translator, and did marvelously well...until...

I was shocked to hear one gentleman describing dialog (quotes are approximate):
"So I was like 'did you want to make a video letter?'"
"And he goes like 'video letter?'"

Arrrrgh! No! We did that to you? We made you think that was right? I talk like that, in casual speech, I know I do, but it's not right. I'm sorry to see others picking up our informal speech patterns without realizing they are just that, informal and incorrect.

I encourage you to listen to the interview, though. It's small gestures like the above which will, I think, ultimately do the healing of this world. Grand gestures like Live 8 will be forgotten by most concert goers as soon as their hangover wears off.
posted by LoRi~fLoWer
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