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As far as I’m concerned, the internet’s in English.

October 3, 2011

One thing that slowed down my initial posting on this blog was the idea that I had to convey the narrative of my arrival in order before I could get to the more whimsical and free flowing bloggish stuff. I figured that since it took me about three weeks to get settled in, the blog posts would need to do that too before they could get comfortable.

But fuck that idea. Here’s an observational post. There’s plenty of time for first impressions later.

I start work at 2pm, which means I have a good chunk of time in the mornings to myself. When I first arrived, I used this time to wander around and learn my surroundings (I’ll be damned if I’m getting lost in this city again). Lately, I’ve been using my mornings to send emails and Skype with people back home. On these mornings when I don’t venture out of my building until it’s time to go to work,  the strangest thing happens.

I step outside and go “Oh yeah, I’m in Korea. That’s odd”. It’s like a little micro culture shock. Culture static? It was either that or some sort of earthquake aftershock reference. I’ll let you take your pick as to which you prefer.

Basically, when I’m eating cereal and sitting with my laptop doing internetty things, I can convince myself that I’m still connected to (and still IN) North America. My emails, facebook (bleh), games, music, books, and videos are all English and all shockingly Caucasian. I mean, it’s not like I truly forget that I’m in Korea, like I wake up from a dream and find out that I’m not still living in Canada, it just gets pushed to the back of my mind so that when I walk outside I realize that I’m once again going to be the stupid white guy with little bearing on the language and culture of this lovely country.

Maybe I just haven’t completely adapted yet. Or maybe there’s some sort of statement to be made about how the internet and computers can affect us culturally. This makes me wish I didn’t just turn my brain off and fantasize about playing Mega Man every time my sociologist friends talked.

In my world, the internet is ONLY in English. I’ve been told Wikipedia is in a bunch of languages, but you know what language the “pedia” comes from? Yeah, that’s right. My language. The Korean sites I have seen are all these self contained search engines that can’t reach the same pages good ol’ Google can. There are little pockets of other languages here and there online, but the most popular tubes, books, bays, and rivers were at the very least established in English and are highly populated by English speaking people. Oh sure China has a few sites in the top 10, but their internet doesn’t want our internet’s cooties.

Okay, so that last paragraph was mostly silly. Still, how many times have you gone to a website and been like “Shit, I really wanted to read this but it’s in <insert non-English language>”? I’m not going to go into a whole story, but it happens the other way around to my students when they’re researching.

No, I don’t really know what the point of this post was either. The next one will have pictures!


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One Comment
  1. annexd permalink

    ‘…you know what language the “pedia” comes from? Yeah, that’s right. My language’ So, your language…is Latin? Greek?

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