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Das ist ein kurzer Aufsatz

Guten tag. I purchased Rosetta Stone*. What inspired this? Primarily, Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime. This book provides incredible insight into Trevor’s life growing up in South Africa. I learned more about apartheid than I ever learned in school. Noah talks about how he used language to navigate between different groups. Here is a passage from the book:

Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.”

The architects of apartheid understood this. Part of the effort to divide black people was to make sure we were separated not just physically but by language as well. In the Bantu schools, children were only taught in their home language. Zulu kids learned in Zulu. Tswana kids learned in Tswana. Because of this, we’d fall into the trap government had set for us and fight among ourselves, believing that we were different.

The great thing about language is that you can just as easily use it to do the opposite: convince people that they are the same.

With German, I can convince Germans that I am like them. So far it’s going really well. Der Mann ist ein Apfel. Die Frau trinkt Wasser. That means, A man eats an apple. The woman drinks water.
I don’t know how to say, “I …” yet, so I can’t say, “I eat an apple,” because that’s not covered in the first two hours of the course. This feels like an oversight. Maybe it is the course’s way of telling me I shouldn’t be talking about myself. I’m not going to overthink it.


*Four years ago, and I started using it today. We will explore the delay in opening and installing it in another post, after if I come up with a reasonable explanation.

Published in Personal Anecdote Quotable Quotes


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