Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 06:39 on 29-02-2012, Melissa G.
Yeah, when I lived in Japan, I ended up spending a lot of time with other expats. It's just refreshing to have familiarity and similar experiences to fall back on when you're surrounded by another culture/language all day. Seems to be a fairly similar phenomenon actually.
at 02:36 on 29-02-2012, Adrienne
@Andy I concede the point, my implication that NO ONE should do that was hyperbolic. But as a theoretically-adventurous college student on a gap year or other similar sort of venture (which is what valse's commenter seems to indicate he is)? If one spends all one's time in the company of other expats I think it's safe to say one is Missing The Point.
at 00:04 on 29-02-2012, Andy G
@adrienne Well surely depends why you're moving abroad surely? It doesn't seen at all incomprehensible to me that people would flock to others with same language and cultural background when in a foreign country.
at 20:38 on 28-02-2012, Wardog
Clearly Wossname is following in Hill's footsteps...

at 20:04 on 28-02-2012, Axiomatic
Is ChooOom! actually a direct quote from the text itself?

Holy WTF.
at 17:21 on 28-02-2012, Adrienne
...yeah, i also don't understand why folks go to foreign countries and then spend all their time in the company of other expats. I mean, wtf? You might as well go hang out on a Hollywood set, at that point. Or in Chinatown.
at 15:27 on 28-02-2012, valse de la lune
I was going to read it too! Then I decided to delete my pirated copy. I can't get over this:

The bolt hit the Nuban square in the chest.


Yes, the Magical Nuban does, indeed, die. At the white protagonist's hand of course. SPOILERS TROLLOLOL.

She's all tuckered out, unused to the amazing sexual prowess of a fourteen year old boy. Who only in fantasy novels seem to have endless reserves for long lovemaking. Or Kvotheism, as the syndrome is known.

at 15:22 on 28-02-2012, Wardog
Also I hate the fact he's justifying himself by referencing A Clockwork Orange ( :( :( :( HE HAS NO RIGHT!
at 15:19 on 28-02-2012, Wardog
Oh dear God, that's an excellent review incidentally. Also I was going to, err, read this but now I think I might just... not. I mean I knew it was it was racist and sexist but, I don't know, it seemed to be getting such a lot of attention...
at 15:03 on 28-02-2012, Arthur B
Then there is still hope for your friend.

/twitches, fumbles at laudanum bottle.
at 14:33 on 28-02-2012, valse de la lune
In other news, if you remember Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns (the one with the rape queues and the nameless magical "Nuban"), here's a lengthy, thorough review of it from a twitter friend of mine. No worries though Arthur, it's a few thousand words shy of catching up with your Conan article. <3
at 10:53 on 28-02-2012, valse de la lune
Oh, but he doesn't want to teach anyway! It's why only gap-year western students teach English in Thailand and go back home to get a "real job." Really the amount of contempt his breed has for my country would raise the question of why they even come to live here, but that's a rhetorical one. When they are here they can be as racist as they like and never be called out for it, since they'll be doing it mostly in the company of like-minded neo-colonialist shitstains.

I'm not sure this man is pumping quite the requisite amount of oxygen to his brain, or whether his testes are just wandering off to grip his brainstem.
at 07:53 on 28-02-2012, Adrienne
Gah. From his post, valse, it looks likely to me that the reason he can't get a job teaching Thai is because he can't even speak/write his theoretically native language. It continually amazes me how much people shit all over your blog, srsly.
at 07:43 on 28-02-2012, Shim
@Jamie: much like 'fruit', the definition depends what you're using 'bilingual' for, is the only real answer. Linguists tend to use more explicit terms, like 'native bilingual' (for two native languages), 'balanced bilingual' (for someone with equal fluency in two languags) and so on. Depending on what you're interested in, 'bilingual' may or may not include languages learned later in life. Basically bilingualism is really complicated: if you acquired native Swedish as a child, but the context meant you can only use it to discuss family matters and farming, rather than politics, technology, work, hobbies, etc., are you bilingual? What if you haven't spoken Swedish in twenty years, even if you were a native speaker? What if you learn a language as an adult to the point where you can do anything you need to in that language? For some purposes anyone with a moderate grasp of a FL is considered bilingual.

Laypeople, on the other hand, tend to use 'bilingual' to mean 'you grew up speaking two languages more or less equally', except when they mean 'you can have an actual conversation in a foreign language! ZOMGMTMIB!' :)
at 07:22 on 28-02-2012, Axiomatic
Edit: And yeah, I didn't mean that people grow up in households where everyone normally speaks more than one language, I just mean it's the norm to start learning a second language very early on.

You don't just go "Welp, I know Slovenian/German/Swedish/whatever, that's good enough!"
at 07:20 on 28-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
Sorry, me again on 'bilingual': I realize we've run onto the rocks of semantic vagueness. Looking again at the source valse's post links to, it seems to be using 'monolingual' to mean 'speaks only one language at home' and 'bilingual' to mean 'speaks two languages at home'. Which is not what I thought 'bilingual' meant but this isn't my field. In any event I wonder how much this data therefore tells us about the number of white USians who can understand and use languages other than English to any satisfactory degree. I have a (non-American) friend who speaks at least ten languages to a conversational language but would be counted as 'monolingual' by that study because his household is strictly Anglophone.

None of this is to detract from valse's point, mind you. I need no convincing at all that white people are on average less multilingual, however we define that, than others, and especially that white native Anglophones are on average not very multilingual at all. And of the white people who are multilingual, many are probably still only familiar with Roman script, which makes it hard for them -- for us, I should say -- to grasp that we have a substantial advantage in areas like computer programming and access to information.
at 07:16 on 28-02-2012, Axiomatic
Good point - I think that any definition of "white" that would exclude either Spaniards or Italians to be ridiculous.

I mean, more ridiculous than is normal when it comes to arguing about race and what is and isn't white. But then, all you need to know is that Irish people used to be considered non-white, and it should be clear that "white" is a meaningless word with no hope of ever being useful.
at 23:48 on 27-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
Also when reading across from North America to Europe we have to negotiate different concepts of whiteness -- it seems that in Europe a Spaniard would generally be considered white but in North America they sometimes seem to be treated (perhaps by analogy with Spanish-speaking South and Central Americans?) as people of colour. So maybe what the US study took as its definition of 'white people' wouldn't work here anyway.
at 23:42 on 27-02-2012, Jamie Johnston
I strongly suspect that in continental europe at least, the majority of people are bilingual

If being bilingual means having native fluency in two languages (does it? Shim?) then I'd be surprised if such people were really in the majority. Anecdotally, I don't think any of my friends from the continent are, although many of them are close to native fluency in several later-acquired languages.
at 20:48 on 27-02-2012, Melissa G.

Wow...that...doesn't even make sense. You could always post it to SRSBusiness for lulz. You'll at least get to read comments from people making fun of the dude.


Which makes me imagine all these dudes running their finest PUA game on their favoured hands.

Honestly, very few of their "field reports" seem to end with actual sex so...I can't imagine they are that successful no matter how much they talk about their "game". My eyes, they roll so hard.
at 19:51 on 27-02-2012, Axiomatic
For some reason, my brain kept rejecting the idea that 90% of all white people are monolingual, until I finally found that he didn't actually mean ALL white people, he meant all USA White People.

I strongly suspect that in continental europe at least, the majority of people are bilingual - or maybe it's just the impression I get from having a mother who speaks italian, a father who speaks german, a sister who speaks french and speaking fairly good english myself - and we're all actually Slovenian.
at 18:30 on 27-02-2012, Arthur B
First they came for the Atredes, and I said nothing, because I was not an Atrades...
at 18:00 on 27-02-2012, valse de la lune
Well excuse me for not having made friends with pre-born babies. You and your spice privilege.