Klara (mummimamma) wrote in linguaphiles,
Klara
mummimamma
linguaphiles

Statuses in languages

Some days ago I had an idea. What if I wrote all my statuses on Facebook in one particular language for one week?

I occasionally ponder the language choice in Facebook statuses. I write mine mostly in Norwegian (which is my mother tongue) and English. English because I have several fb-friends who have little command of Norwegian, but my turn of phrase is better in Norwegian. A quick look at my friends-feed shows me there are statuses in Norwegian (nynorsk and bokmål) Swedish, English, German, Finnish, Faroese, Italian and Welsh just now. I admit that unless I really put in an effort, I skip the ones I will have to concentrate (and consult a dictionary) to understand, but as a linguist, I like seeing this variety of languages every day.

Once I read a comment where someone totally trashed the status-writer for writing a language the commenter didn't understand. In one way I understand, you really want to know what it says, right? Because I am that interesting. But on the other hand, if you find my Facebook-statuses unreadable, skip them, filter me out or unfriend me (unless you are one of my personal friends, that would make me sad).

I find the variety of languages on Facebook interesting, but I am not quite sure how it looks like for, well, everyone else but me. Do you only have friends who write in the same language as your (chosen) language? What is the etiquette when it comes to foreign languages? Overlooking them, like I do, or some sort of (passive-)aggressiveness? Or is the weight upon the writer? Should one give a translation of things like Twitter-messages and Facebook-statuses?

The reason why I do this on Facebook, and not here on LJ, is that fb-statuses is a sort of microblogging. And LJ is - not. If I was to write a whole LJ post in Finnish or German the experiment would fall flat in two days. I do not have the language skills, nor the patience to go ahead and write a whole post in a language I barely master. But a Facebook-status I can manage. I think. I never really get to practise writing anything but Norwegian and English - and it could be fun. Facebook-statuses is a genre to itself, and whereas I can order ice cream and beer in a dozen languages, does not mean that I can be witty - or more normally - oversharing, in that language. But I can try.

I have decided to do the languages chronologically, after when I learned them, excepting Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, which I will fill in every other week so I will not be totally stressed out, and I will stop the experiment. In order: English, French, Nynorsk, Latin, Swedish, Finnish, Bokmål, Greek, Faroese, Danish, Icelandic, German. I may also accompany all the languages with a note (in English, I think).

Has anyone done something like this? How did it go?
Tags: learning languages, multilingual
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