ratcreature: WTF!? (WTF!?)
RatCreature ([personal profile] ratcreature) wrote2016-11-29 06:07 pm
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weird differences

I've been making Anki flashcards to learn vocabulary and grammar and such, and because visual cues help with memorization I do google image searches in the language I'm learning for stuff to put on the cards.

This mostly works fine with Spanish. You enter the Spanish word and you get pictures that work decently as cues, not just for plain objects but also verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and get a kind of visualization of actual word usage. However with Russian words image search results are more often than not completely overrun by internet memes.

That is not useful. (Also you frequently get gross image results for totally harmless words.) Though I guess it might say something about Russian internet culture.

Like if you image search e.g. "a little" in English you get a bunch of images with thumb and index finger a bit apart, which is the kind of thing you might put on a vocabulary flashcard. But if you google "немного" the first page is all internet memes, and you probably don't want to look at these at work or if you are easily disturbed (from nudity to animal harm to racism to execution pictures all kinds of stuff is featured). From what I can tell that is mostly because these come from sites that collect internet meme pictures or something, and the word just appears somewhere on the page.

It's like that with every other word. I mean, concrete nouns are frequently okay, like if you google "дверь" it results in images of doors, but even simple verbs get you a bunch of weird memes, when with other languages they get you pictures of people doing something. Whether you google to work, travailler, trabajar or arbeiten you get fairly similar images. Image searching "работать" meanwhile does not, but lands you in weird internet meme land again.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/__marcelo/ 2016-11-29 06:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow, that's definitely weird. I wonder if it reflects a (much larger than I assumed) role of "meme mills" (i.e., para-official versions of 4chan) in Russia. Being statistically speaking a single-country language, local political usage of the Internet should have a larger impact than, say, any particular Spanish-speaking country's.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/__marcelo/ 2016-11-29 09:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Though it is a fairly useful language in Germany too. There are an estimated three million Russian speakers living here.

This surprised me for about half a second, and then I facepalmed. How quickly do things recede from immediate memory... (for us foreigners; I assume in Germany it's still a pivotal fact).

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/__marcelo/ 2016-11-30 05:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Interesting! I love how people's movements, families, and cultures are (usually) much more fluid than national myths would have them be. Ultimately it's all constructed, and re-constructed every day.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/__marcelo/ 2016-12-01 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
the people just call themselves collectively "people"

That's always funny, if somewhat implicitly racist.