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iMe+. No translation necessary.

Written By: daveski on October 17, 2009 No Comment

I don’t know when I started hearing this, but nowadays I can’t help but cringe every time I hear expressions like these:

  • Watching the weather forecast on the evening news: “Your weekend weather coming up, right after these commercials.”
  • Transferring from the Fremont to the San Francisco-bound train on BART: “This is your San Francisco/Daly City-bound train.”
  • At the beginning of the local baseball game, before the home team takes the field: “And now … ladies and gentlemen … your San Francisco Giants!!”

Part of me just feels old-fashioned for thinking, “That’s not how you say it!” Whatever happened to good old definite and indefinite articles? You know, back in the day when they used to say “the San Francisco Giants” and not “your San Francisco Giants”? When did it become my team, my train, and (this one gets me the most) my weather?

I couldn’t really put my finger on what was bothering me until I heard a radio commercial today for the latest language learning products from Rosetta Stone. “Language learning,” the announcer told me soothingly, “is all about you.” With the latest product, you can tailor your language learning experience to your own needs, your own schedule, your learning style. Tailor-made, custom-fit, and free of the rigid preconceived notions by so-called experts as to how I learn language best. “Curriculum” is such a dreary word, isn’t it? And this latest ad shows me what the Berlitzes and Rosetta Stones have been trying to s/tell us all along: we really can learn a language in 10 minutes a day from the comfort of our own homes, because (drum roll) we probably already know it!

iPhone, MySpace, Me++ … language learning, like any other product on the market today, apparently has to be mine before I’ve even bought it. And just like Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2007 was–you guessed it–You, the me-first, iSpirit-of-the-day seems to suggest that the same mantra may hold for understanding others’ lives and the worlds they live in, as it does for understanding the other languages of the globe: no translation necessary.


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