The beautiful languages

There’s this Japanese Twitter user, @Yuya__ne__, who follows me on Twitter. I follow him too, and this mutual following has been going on for probably over a year now. At least a year, for sure. Anyway, he’s studying English and I’m studying Japanese, so that’s pretty ace.

We had never spoken before, but today I tweeted the following:

It’s sad that after 1.5 years of Japanese, I still can’t understand @Yuya__ne__’s tweets. I can read lots of them, but understand? Hah.

He responded, expressing surprise that I had already been studying Japanese for a year and a half, and we ended up having a conversation half in English, half in Japanese. It was really cool because I don’t often get to use Japanese outside of class. I know it’s my own fault for not seeking out opportunities and for being afraid to go to the Japanese conversation table the teachers host once every two weeks, but still. Can you blame me? 😛

Twitter is an interesting little space. Bear with me while I get all deep with you for a second here. With such a small character limit, it seems to me we’re forced almost to define ourselves in our efforts to succinctly communicate what we want to say. Even more so through the 160-character Twitter profile than through the 140-character tweets.

The about-me blurb in the sidebar of this website is short, yes, but it has no limitations and it is my choice whether to keep it short and whether to include only some information. On Twitter, however, I have to think, “Okay, how can I communicate what people should know about me? What should I not include? How can I make sure this still has personality instead of just listing things I like?”

To that end, my Twitter profile is always changing. I include what I think are only the absolute most important things about me because I want to attract followers with similar interests. I’m not really one to seek out people to follow, so that’s especially important to me because if someone with a similar interest finds me, I can follow them back and voilà, happier Twitter feed. Over the summer, when I was hardcore into fangirling, this was my profile description:

Rachel, 19, comm student. A7X family, HU4L, vampire slayer. Music, makeup, and code are my heart and soul, which @jeorgina owns. http://rachel.nu

Lately, I have been absorbing myself into language study. That, or language study has been absorbing me. I think taking two languages has somehow made me work harder at both of them instead of having them take time away from each other. As a result, I’ve been really keen on practicing. After my little half-Japanese conversation earlier, I thought maybe I would update my profile in hopes of stumbling upon further opportunities to practice. It now reads:

Rachel, 19, communications student. Music, code, and @jeorgina are what keep me going. Nihongo wo benkyoushiteimasu // studio il italiano. http://rachel.nu

(“I study Japanese // I study Italian.”)

The Japanese is in kana (Japanese characters), of course, but I can’t seem to get them to display in this post. I didn’t try very hard, but. 😛

You’ll notice–or perhaps you won’t–I took out the makeup bit. I still love makeup, but I have not worn anything besides lipstick in a few months as I am working on clearing up my skin and also I never have time to put any on anymore! Anyway, my point is my Twitter profile is kind of a snapshot of how I see myself in this moment and what I think are the most important things people should know about me in this moment. I guess it’s less about what I think is important about me and more about what I want people to know based on what kind of people I want to attract. It’s kind of like an outfit that way, like how sometimes the reason I wear band shirts is because I want people to know I’m into a certain kind of music.

That, and it’s kind of an art form. I think my new profile description is pretty ugly-looking… not nearly as clean as my old one. I like clean things, but it’s a compromise. It’s hard to make it look shiny with three different languages included.

I’d better cut this off now as @jeorgina hates these “essay” posts. 😉

8 thoughts on “The beautiful languages

  1. “I’m not really one to seek out people to follow, so that’s especially important to me because if someone with a similar interest finds me, I can follow them back and voilà, happier Twitter feed” – Same! I really liked this post. ^_^

  2. I see that you love the new language that you are learning… how many languages do u know?
    I think I can converse properly in 4 langages…one i still learning (French), and others well…I’ve always known them i guess (Marathi, my mother tongue, then Hindi-my country’s national language, and of course English)….what about you?

  3. I looked at your Twitter feed after reading this post this morning. It looked terrifying then because half the posts I saw right away were in Japanese. Now, it looks significantly less terrifying because I have to scroll down to see the Japanese.

    I’m not a huge fan of Twitter and most social media, but squeezing things down into 140 characters is an interesting challenge – it forces you to write concisely, which is a skill that I’d love to have. Also, as a native Chinese speaker, tweeting in Chinese (and possibly other Asian languages, though I can’t say this with any certainty) is much easier as 140 characters = 140 words. =P

  4. Actually rachel, I didn’t read the first book but I had seen the movie so i knew the gist of the 1st book. Now that I’ve finished the second book I’m reading the last one just so that I finish the series….

  5. I don’t hate essay posts! I just loooove it when you get to the point. 😉 Different from person to person. I know some people like my essay posts and I know I’ve poked at a few of yours in the past because I liked them.

    I find myself updating my little biographies every now and then. It’s sort of fun, which is why I asked people what they’d write if they had to write a little blurb about me. I try to be witty in mine, but to also capture an accurate screenshot of myself, as you say. I don’t really think it reflects me “now”, or in the present, but just in general. I just sort of think of something new every time.

    I think it’s cool that you started conversing with this guy in Japanese. I feel like I was a horrid Japanese student in school because I never made an attempt to better myself at the language, but I constantly engrossed myself in the culture. x_x I don’t blame you at all. 😛

    An art form = A+.

  6. Twitter’s a beautiful thing. It’s had a lot to teach me about brevity. I remember back in the earlier grades, I used to have problems keeping my compositions to a readable length. While my teachers would prod my classmates to lengthen the assignments they turned in, I was being encouraged to limit the length of my essays to a certain number of pages (this was even before the “page limit” became fully implemented in high school).

    It’s nice that you’ve actually been able to carry on a conversation with your Japanese contact partly in his language which we all know you’ve been trying your hardest to learn — that is an accomplishment on its own. 🙂 It shows how willing you’ve been to go out of your comfort zone and stretch your limits as far as possible. I’ve been trying to learn French lately, but so far, I’ve only managed to absorb a few (basic) words and string short sentences together, yet nothing truly substantial.

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