Ännu skriver jag inte bra

Raymond Chen

I was exchanging e-mail with one of the people I will be visiting while I’m in Uppsala [link repaired 10:43pm]. and we wrote in double-translation, first in Swedish, with English translation beneath it. But eventually he gave up and wrote exclusively in English. I went back to my previous dual-language message and found a few pretty stupid grammatical errors. I guess he figured it’d be better just not to try. Sadly, I have yet to get to the point where the grammar is natural and I don’t have to think about it. (The problem is that the verbs are too easy so I think I can get away with not practicing them. And then I mess up stuff like using the infinitive instead of the present tense finite. As opposed to German, where verbs are just plain hard from the start, so there’s no temptation to be lazy.)

Reminds me of something I noticed when watching the movie Lichter: When communications break down and people get frustrated (as happens in the interrogation room in Frankfurt-am-Oder and in the apartment building in Slubice), people stop trying to accomodate the other person’s language and just start yelling at each other in English.


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