Disjointed Thoughts – Day 20

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there just aren’t 1,000 words to be used on certain topics. For those topics that I wouldn’t normally write about, here’s a post with a couple of them.

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Why, when people hear someone speaking with an accent, do they immediately draw attention to that accent or try to replicate it? Do we really need to explain to someone from England what they sound like? Is copying a southern drawl helpful in any way? Even when people find out I’m from Minnesota, they love drawing out that O sound: Oh, Minnesoooooooohtah?

Another piece of this, which I’ve also experienced, is pointing out when someone from a place with a distinguishable accent doesn’t have much of an accent, or doesn’t have one at all. Why do we feel the need to point this out? Does it matter that the long O sound only comes out on a couple of words for me? I can understand that it can be difficult to communicate with someone with a thick accent, but I’m pretty sure we all know (or should know) what our accent does or doesn’t sound like; we don’t need to be reminded every time we meet someone new.

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Speaking of Minnesota, why is seemingly the one thing we’re known for being cold? I went on a study abroad trip to Amsterdam, and the Scottish priest at the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam knew one thing about Minnesota: that it’s cold. Sure, it gets cold in the winter, but there are places in the U.S. (outside of Alaska, even) that are colder for longer than the Twin Cities area. People I meet are surprised to hear that Minnesota can get into the 100s Fahrenheit, and can be just as humid as some incredibly muggy places (10,000 lakes feed a lot of water into the air). Also, to everyone who thinks they can’t, you can survive the winter in Minnesota. One word: layers (also, it’s not cold inside).

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Speaking of weather, why is that our default when we’re trying to make polite conversation? Is it just because it’s one thing that we all have in common? Sure, we all experience the weather, and we enjoy complaining about the hot or cold or we all like unseasonably comfortable weather, but we can all see that. Talking about it doesn’t change anything.

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Going back to Fahrenheit, I realize that using Celsius is easier in many ways because of the base 10 scale, but I like using the Fahrenheit system. While it would take a while to relearn measurements using the metric system, I am in favor of using metric; just not for temperature. I know what’s hot and I know what’s cold. Sure, I could also relearn weather measurements using metric, but at this point knowing that 32 is freezing and not super hot (or whatever 32 Celsius is (apparently 89.6 Fahrenheit, so pretty warm)) works just fine for me. In some ways, I think Fahrenheit leads to more distinction between temperatures, especially when used in a knowing-the-weather sense. In other ways, I think there’s something we like about having really big numbers to explain how hot it is and really low numbers to explain how cold it is. Saying it’s 100 degrees seems hotter than saying it’s…38 degrees (after calculating and rounding).

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Learning new languages is difficult, but I feel like the easiest language to learn (at least when understanding western-style letters) is Spanish. Everything is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled; there are no questions about pronunciation once you know how the letters are pronounced.

I couldn’t imagine trying to learn English any way other than as a first language. How do we even learn this language as native speakers? Words with extra letters for no reason, rules that apply to some or most words or pronunciations but not all – what is this madness?

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Why don’t people like the word moist? (Made some of you cringe there, didn’t I?) I know we don’t all need to like the word moist, but many people actually hate the word, counting it as their least favorite. Is it something about the situation or state that the word describes? It doesn’t seem like the word itself has any problems. Personally, I don’t have any issues with the word moist, and I’ll continue to use the word moist here until people who don’t like it are really uncomfortable with my usage of the word moist.

I certainly have words that I don’t like all that much, and I’d considered writing a post about why I don’t like the words in that list, but I realized that a post of that nature would be extremely unwise, since it would give people the chance to intentionally use those words around me.

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When I think about spending money, I usually have a mindset that everything should cost a dollar. I base most of my purchasing decisions off of that metric. In some cases, I’ve stopped myself from making bad purchases because of that metric; in other cases, I’ve kept myself from buying things that would be useful or that I actually needed because of that metric.

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There are times when I wonder if my mind works the same way as other people’s minds. There are times when I have to stop myself in my thought process to go back through each thought I’ve had in order to figure out how I got from point A to point B. The above thoughts literally could connect through my brain in a 15 second span, and I’d have to stop to figure out how I got from accents to thinking about how things should cost a dollar. Even when it seems like there may not be a connection, I’ll find that a word or thought is tangentially related to something else, or relates in some way to something I’d been thinking about earlier. There are times that this makes it difficult to focus, and times where it helps to make my focus razor sharp. I can’t explain any of it, but it makes for some very interesting daydreams.

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