Tag Archives: language

Sharing Knowledge

Amateur wireless station (LOC)Today, I had the privilege of introducing one of the students who started a blog to HTML. She knew about computer languages, to the extent that she knew you needed a language to get computers what you want them to, but she hadn’t thought about how you would need to have a language to make websites do what you want as well.

And now she not only knows that HTML paves the path to controlling what her site looks like, she’s already started learning the basics. I won’t lie; it was really fun watching her excitement at discovering how to create buttons and links. I felt bad reminding her about her homework.

But she did walk out with more information, and a broader field of passion, because she learned something new today. And she found the practical aspects, along with most of the information, by taking the initiative to search for what she didn’t know.

That’s what happens when we share the information that we have with those who don’t know about it. Will HTML change her life entirely? I don’t know. Some of the most poignant lessons in my life come from my Year 11 experiences. But with most of her life, and all of college, ahead of her, I may have only shown her the tools she can use to continue creating in yet another medium.

Watching her joy at playing with the basics for any website inspired me to really get back into increasing my coding knowledge. It will probably take me awhile, I do have a thing or two to do, but I’m excited to expand my collection of information. Because that’s what sharing knowledge does.

How language caused the death of a moose burger

My Swiss roommate from my first year in college came to visit. She actually just left, and most of her trip was in the company of one of our other roommates (there were 4 of us in the university dorm room).

What I learned from the Swiss Miss when we were all roommates is that Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh (yeah I’d never heard of it either). She’s from the German side of Switzerland and so she speaks German and Swiss-German (which is apparently like German, but if you only spoke German, you’d frequently be confused around Swiss-German speakers).

So when she brought friends along for this visit, I wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t understand them (I barely track with Spanish, and I’ve lived around Spanish-speakers my whole life). She’d also told me that one of her friends had written and published a few books in German in Switzerland. She’d neglected to tell me the title, which would have prevented my snickering.

The book is titled Die Moosburger and it’s by Marco  Rota.

I’ve seen The Simpsons episode where Sideshow Bob explains his tattoo, so I knew “die” wasn’t intended as a command, but “moosburger” was entirely new. And as with all new things, I created a meaning that made me laugh for a long time, mostly because I couldn’t think of any specific thing a burger made of moose meat would do to deserve death. All I had were half thoughts running through my head. Perhaps it was attacking, or cursed, or spoiled, or…? If you come up with a coherent action that would result in a moose burger death, let me know. I’m still snickering and I can’t think clearly through the humor haze.

Turns out, though, that “moosburger” means “Moss Castle” in German, which makes the title very funny in 2 languages. (Maybe the moose burger was haunting a moss castle?) The Swiss Miss was quick to point out that castles in Switzerland are not the fairytale castles many of us in the U.S. think of – they’re stones stacked into the shape of a large house. If you haven’t looked at pictures of real castle’s, or heard Eddie Izzard’s bit about them, ask Google.

The Moss Castle is entirely in German, so if I ever learn how to read German, I’ll post a review of the book here. Same deal if it comes out in English. But that’s the story of how an old college roommate killed a moose burger through language.

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