Introducing Culture Through Language

A Ukrainian who moved to Norway is taking free language classes for immigrants and just posted a text in Norwegian that appears in the beginner’s language textbook. The Ukrainian Facebook is peeing itself with laughter and I just have to share:

“I wake up at 6 am. I feel exhausted and sleepy. I want coffee. I drink 3 cups and it helps a little. I must have breakfast but I don’t feel like eating. Then I go to work. My bus arrives at 7 am.”

I had the same bout of hysterical laughter as when I read the following dialogue in a Russian textbook:

“- Mom, would you like coffee or tea? – It’s OK, son, I don’t need anything. Eat and don’t mind your old mama. – Mom, seriously, what can I order for you? Coffee? A piece of cake? A fruit salad? – I’m fine, son. Just get me a glass of milk and a raisin bun. – Here they are, mom! – They are for you, son! I’m happy when I see you eat!”

When you show this textbook page to literally any Russian speaker, they immediately complete the dialogue with, “Why aren’t you eating? Don’t you love your mama at all? I knew you hated me!” It’s a cultural thing. 

Twitter Usage Rules

In what concerns reading tweets and retweeting, it is absolutely crucial that all of us do the following:

– follow the link and slowly read it in its entirety;

– look at the provenance in an unhurried way, research it and think about it;

– if you are going to retweet or repost, check against two other sources. 

Of course, this kills the whole purpose of Twitter, which is to churn out volume and emotion, fast and without thinking. But I got burned several times, believing and even retweeting dishonest tweets. Then I looked closely and realized that they are all dishonest because that’s the nature of the medium. Even weather forecasts can’t productively and conscientiously be reduced to a few characters.

Don’t be like Trump. Don’t retweet.