In the past 2 months, I’ve been studying Russian (and French) from friends. My friends want to learn about English and I want to learn about their native languages. Of course English is not my native language. But let’s say that my English is much better than theirs, and somehow it’s a fair trade for them teaching me their languages and me correcting their Englishs. So, voila!
Some of my friends concern alot about formal-English-writing-rules, some of them don’t. I really need to remember whom I talking with, consider to their personal’s backgrounds that I know of, or I’ll ended up being criticize about it. For example, this is one of the conversation that I’ve had:
Me: yeah true. i really want to go to russia
Fr: It’s Russia. You have to write it in capital letter
At first I thought this friend has some sort of high-nationalism, because she only corrected about the capital letter in Russia but not capital letter for i (I). But then again she corrected me when I called her name incorrectly, according to her.
Me: so kate, how’s your summer up until now?
Fr: Nadia, again, it’s Kate. You have to write names in capital letters
Me: Wow, okay. Sorry if it bothers you so much. I’ll write in correct-written-English-orders
Fr: Yes, of course it does. Literature is my thing, remember?
She happens to be a freelance journalist in her spare times. Well, the fault is mine then :p
Of course I understand about formal-written-English-rules. It’s just the same with formal-written-Bahasa-rules, well.. some of them. But do we really need to care about those things in friendly situation? More over in a text chat?
We don’t follow formal-written-Bahasa-rules neither in an sms or an email or a chat on yahoo messenger, right? Because that would be awkward. Besides they’re all default in small letters, and using any capital letters would only result us to type more button on the keyboard, a Shift it is.
So why bother to write, “My name is Nadia Friza” if we can simply write “my name is nadia friza”? That’s why when my other friend asked me, “Nadia, why do you use small letter for letter i? My teacher said we have to always use capital letter for letter i”, my first reaction was grinned. Again, I understood it was about my written-english-style.
If only they read my blog, they’ll understand that I do concern about formal-English-written-rules when it is needed. Which I don’t think it’s needed in a text chat. Yet I kept explain him the reason, apologized for my behaviour, and continued to write in correct-written-English-order ever since.
This later friend explained to me that in Russian it is the word to address ourself that used in small letter (я – ya). The word to address the person we talk with is used in capital letter (Бы – Vy). Another word to address the person we talk with in friendly situation is used in small letter (ты – ty). Maybe that’s why the earlier friend that I mentioned before didn’t correct my small-letter-i-writting.
It’s the same with Bahasa, don’t you think? We use the word to address ourself in small letter (saya). The word to address the person we talk with is used in capital letter (Anda). Another word to address the person we talk with in friendly situation is used in small letter (kamu). By these facts, we could state that both Russian and Indonesian people respect the person they talk with.
What about English? You clearly know that they used capital letter for word that adressing themselves (I) and small letter for word that adressing the people they talk with (you). The same word (you) is used in both formal and friendly situations. Does that mean spoken-english-people are slightly arrogant? You decide it 🙂