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Mudding with Language Barriers

by Ntanel StormBlade

When I could first speak, I had some lousy language skills. Being raised in a home where people spoke as if we lived in New York, minus the accent. I realized it is because our family is from New York and before that, Europe.

You watch some shows based in New York and you notice the way they speak. For some people, bits may make no sense; however, I could understand everything.

New York language skills are made up of many cultures, but the one most noticeable to me were words borrowed from Herbrew, being a Hebrew as my mother and her mother are and so forth back in time. Words such "Oy Vey" and "Shalom" are common and nowadays most people know what they mean. "

When I finally made it to grade school at the age of five, I spent parts of my 1st and 2nd grade years trying to learn to speak Americanized English. To learn in America, you must speak as an American does.

I strive to be as accurate as I can be when speaking nowadays. However, I find myself using words that are underused or perhaps even have been redefined in today's world.

I am not a human dictionary, but I retain knowledge of what school has given me. Words such as "radical" have been around many years and the term no longer means what it was when created. During the 1800s a radical was a person who had their own agenda or a view opposing the majority's. Today, radical is a remark of satisfaction or surprise.

Recently, I find myself communicating with people in the mud community who subscribe to either different forms of English or Internet Slang. I am not the best typist in the world and I make errors often, but if you know me well enough, you know what I meant to convey. When some of these people type something out, I can read it no matter how well they typed it out, but I still have no idea what they mean.

I write pronounced and perhaps even excessively long letters using words which to me have the meaning I seek, but also which now, in today's world, may mean something else.

I now find myself reading and rereading letters I have planned to email to ensure I have not said anything offensive or threatening. I still seem, on occasion, to say something which a person speaking a different dialect takes as offensive or threatening.

I have gotten in the habit of, when I think something may be taken as offensive or threatening, writing a caption saying it is not meant to be offensive or threatening. I have been told recently people find it offensive or threatening to be told something is not offensive or threatening. I do not understand and in turn, people do not understand me or my intentions.

How many of you know what an Embassy is? I decided to close my mud off from a general player population and open it up as an Embassy. For years I have been trying to juggle being a mud with players and also being a place where administrators from other muds could accumulate. It never really worked.

I finally got to the point where a game port was open, run by someone else and my mud was be strictly an Embassy. Many people have already asked me what was an Embassy. It is simply a place of neutrality where people of many different places can freely meet.

There is my point, an example like "embassy" -- rarely used and not well known. I like speaking proper English and on occasion I use abbreviations, such as administrator for administration, as shortcuts in my typing. Things I try not to do is use letters as words, like "u" for the word "You" or "Y" when asking "Why".

I have started to use some shortcuts, such as for "You" using "Ya". At least when I use that, which is slang, everyone knows its meaning. I still have a hard time figuring out grouping of letters which are really phrases, such as "roflmao" which means "Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off". Hell, I detest using smiley faces and such. I would rather just type things out or, if there is a button or social which conveys the meaning, use that.

I spoke to some people who were raised in a simular background as I was and who also play muds. They understand me perfectly and we have never had any miscommunication. I speak to them exactly how I speak to everyone else.

I do notice that more frequently people from Canada and Western Europe are the ones who most commonly misunderstand me. In this global community of mudders, you do have to watch what you say, but then again we are all also supposed to speak English. It is the regional dialect and the slang that may throw someone off.

It is not hard to offend someone. It is also not just language, but it is things you do which can be misinterpreted. Slurping in America is considered rude where in Asia it is a compliment of good food.

There is a lot more I can go into, but perhaps later. For now, I will just continue being cautious to not offend anyone else, but in a global community, language has no limits and interpretation is sometimes misleading.

Nthanial Stormblade runs MudWorld -