What's with all the Europeans?

| Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Here's the one problem I have with English taking over the world. No not THE English. English the language. The English lost their empire and I have no comments for now on their gaining of it. But where the fuck did my point go?

Okay, everyone speaks English. At least according to the parts of the internet I frequent, the places where people speak English. My sample might not be representative.

This creates the problem that I cannot readily tell Americans from Europeans. It's rather disturbing. You know? It's like, you're talking with someone thinking they're perfectly normal and next thing you find out they're not American. It's just not right.

It gets worse. Based on my non-extensive investigation and poor counting skills I have concluded that a majority of the blogs I read are written my non-Americans. Mostly Europeans. But sometimes an Australian sneaks in. Or two. Maybe more. Do you see the problem? At any given moment I could be talking to an Australian and not even know it. It's not like they have that awesome, I mean terrible, accent when they're typing. And don't even get me started on the Brits*. Then there are those people from places like Belgium or Austria where they shouldn't even be speaking English, but they do, and then how are prisoners of war supposed to have secret conversations around them? Ugh. Just to make it worse, they have a more consistent, if not outright better, grammatical structure than I do, making me look bad, and that's not good.

So really, what's with all the Europeans in my blogroll? It makes no sense. Are Americans incapable of writing interesting (subjective, I know, but that doesn't mean other people aren't wrong) posts in a statistically significant manner?

If by chance you are ambiguously foreign and on my blogroll, could you give a confirm/deny? It's uh, for a list. That you don't need to worry about at all. Nothing bad could possibly come from making a list of different people.

* I really hope that isn't actually some horrible term. Only recently I learned that Vietcong is offensive, having never really heard it spoken or in any context I figured it was just one of those silly words that people make up, as opposed to one of those silly words that people make up to tell the world "I'm a horrible person." Oops. So my apologies and please tell me if I'm saying something awful. I mean, beside the actual content of the post. You people are polite like that, right?

P.S. Tomorrow I might actually write my review of Fallout 3. Or, I'll just end up playing it all evening, again. I guess it's a good sign when I'm too busy playing the game to write about it.

12 comments:

Gazimoff said...

Ask them to spell Colour. Or Favour. Or Humour.

Alternatively, ask them to give an example of irony versus sarcasm.

Issy said...

Brit is fine.. well, it's fine if you use it in the context of Brit Pop for instance.. but not so much if you use it in the *Brits abroad* context, because really, none of us want to be thought of as part of the lobster parade on the beach, even if we deserve it :P

Andy said...

It seems to only be Americans who use the word "Brit", not sure why. I get the impression people from the various European countries use "English" (or "Scottish"/"Welsh"/"Irish"). How a person from the UK responds to being called a "Brit" would likely depend on whether they self-identify as British, or English (or S/W/I).

Can't really think of an equivalent American term. "Yank" is possibly the closest.

On a related note, is "Chink" more offensive than "Jap"? If so, why? Seems to me like it's just as shortening of the term of nationality, same as "Brit", though possibly there's some historical context I'm not aware of.

Andy said...

Oh and yeah, it is somewhat shameful that even in countries where English isn't the first language, many people write better than native English speakers. I wouldn't go as far as to say they speak better English, although it depends on how you define "better". More grammatically correct? More understandably? More fluently? Least amount of "foreign" accent?

I often wonder what people like Gevlon would sound like when speaking, say on a podcast. His English is plenty understandable, although the occasional grammar oddness clearly marks it as non-native. Still, is it just bad spelling an punctuation that stops people being at least competent writers? I'm not so sure: plenty of native English speakers still make grammar mistakes, although of a different kind to non-native speakers.

Apologies for the post-like nature of this comment.

Glyph, the Architect said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glyph, the Architect said...

"Are Americans incapable of writing interesting (subjective, I know, but that doesn't mean other people aren't wrong) posts in a statistically significant manner? "

I think it's fairly obvious from my entire canon of written work that No. We are not.

Stabs said...

I need to learn how to write the word humour with an invisible u.

Klepsacovic said...

"irony versus sarcasm"
I'm ironic, you're sarcastic. Universal truth.

@Issy: So Redcoat is a no-no?

@Andy: I'm not sure on those two slurs. Personally I'd put them about the same, bad, but not horribly bad. Maybe I'd put them in the same category as negro, which is, words I thought died out in 1960 and at this point find quaint before offensive.

@Stabs: Maybe you're just bad at seeing it.

Syl said...

That reminds me of a show I recently watched on MTV, a US dance competition or something (don't ask, it wasn't my idea) where the jury gives each act a short feedback. one of the competing teams was treated as the "foreigners" there, with the judges pointing out how much guts they had to enter a US competition. turns out, they were Canadians rofl...how EXOTIC!

/facepalm

gamingsf said...

"In the future everyone will be speaking bad English", a mangled quote from a German newspaper article I read years ago.

Brit(s) is fine. As an Englishman who lived for years in Wales I've come to realise the distinct lack of a unified cultural identity for England (people generally associate more with the part they live in: 'the north', the 'south-east' etc). That's in marked contrast to Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland where cultural heritage has been kept alive.

Faeldray said...

@Syl: Americans DO think Canadians are exotic. I have happy memories as a teenager convincing American teens in chat rooms that we all lived in igloos, eat poutine for breakfast, and had no running water.

Of course, Rick Mercer took it one step further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_to_Americans

scrusi said...

I think you'll find that quite a few of your blogging friends are actually evil Germans in disguise. (Not that I will confirm or deny any such identity information!)

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