Mudding with Language Barriers
by Ntanel StormBlade
When I could first speak, I had some lousy language skills. Being
raised in a home where people spoke as if we lived in New York, minus
the accent. I realized it is because our family is from New York and
before that, Europe.
You watch some shows based in New York and you notice the way they
speak. For some people, bits may make no sense; however,
I could understand everything.
New York language skills are made up of many cultures, but the one
most noticeable to me were words borrowed from Herbrew, being a Hebrew
as my mother and her mother are and so forth back in time. Words such
"Oy Vey" and "Shalom" are common and nowadays most people know
what they mean. "
When I finally made it to grade school at the age of five, I spent
of my 1st and 2nd grade years trying to learn to speak Americanized
To learn in America, you must speak as an American does.
I strive to be as accurate as I can be when speaking nowadays.
However, I find myself using words that are underused or perhaps
even have been redefined in today's world.
I am not a human dictionary, but I retain knowledge of what school
has given me. Words such as "radical" have been around many years
and the term no longer means what it was when created. During the
1800s a radical was a person who had their own agenda or a
view opposing the majority's. Today, radical is a remark of
satisfaction or surprise.
Recently, I find myself communicating with people in the mud community
who subscribe to either different forms of English or Internet Slang.
I am not the best typist in the world and I make errors often, but if you
know me well enough, you know what I meant to convey. When some
of these people type something out, I can read it no matter how well
they typed it out, but I still have no idea what they mean.
I write pronounced and perhaps even excessively long letters
using words which to me have the meaning I seek, but also which
now, in today's world, may mean something else.
I now find myself reading and rereading letters I have planned to
email to ensure I have not said anything offensive or threatening. I
still seem, on occasion, to say something which a person speaking a
different dialect takes as offensive or threatening.
I have gotten in the habit of, when I think something may be taken
as offensive or threatening, writing a caption saying it is not
meant to be offensive or threatening.
I have been told recently people find it offensive or threatening to
be told something is not offensive or threatening. I do not understand
and in turn, people do not understand me or my intentions.
How many of you know what an Embassy is? I decided to close my mud off
from a general player population and open it up as an Embassy. For
years I have been trying to juggle being a mud with players and also
being a place where administrators from other muds could accumulate. It
never really worked.
I finally got to the point where a game port was open, run by someone
else and my mud was be strictly an Embassy. Many people have
already asked me what was an Embassy. It is simply a place of
neutrality where people of many different places can freely meet.
There is my point, an example like "embassy" -- rarely used and not
known. I like speaking proper English and on occasion I use
abbreviations, such as administrator for administration, as shortcuts in my
Things I try not to do is use letters as words, like "u" for the word
or "Y" when asking "Why".
I have started to use some shortcuts, such as for "You" using "Ya".
At least when I use that, which is slang, everyone knows its meaning.
I still have a hard time figuring out grouping of letters which are
really phrases, such as "roflmao" which means "Rolling on the floor
laughing my ass off". Hell, I detest using smiley faces and such. I
would rather just type things out or, if there is a button or social which
conveys the meaning, use that.
I spoke to some people who were raised in a simular background as I was
and who also play muds. They understand me perfectly and we have never
had any miscommunication. I speak to them exactly how I speak to
I do notice that more frequently people from Canada and Western Europe
are the ones who most commonly misunderstand me. In this global
community of mudders, you do have to watch what you say, but then again
we are all also supposed to speak English. It is the regional dialect
and the slang that may throw someone off.
It is not hard to offend someone. It is also not just language, but
it is things you do which can be misinterpreted. Slurping in America
is considered rude where in Asia it is a compliment of good food.
There is a lot more I can go into, but perhaps later. For now, I will
just continue being cautious to not offend anyone else, but
in a global community, language has no limits and interpretation is
August 2001 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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