Language is a technology. It’s a particularly strange one that’s made of squiggles and sounds and maps of meaning, but like any other technology, it’s hackable. So’s writing.
Imagine you’re learning American English. You know the meanings of about 100 English words, you’ve got a decent sense of sentence structure, and you’re feeling pretty good.
You sign up on italki to practice with a native American English speaker, fire up a video chat, and they say:
What in the world does that mean? Why are they asking what “up” is? Surely they know what “up” means. Are they quizzing you on the meaning of “up”? Or is their idea of conversation asking about what’s above your head?
Language is strange. Colloquialisms are strange. And if you can get a strong sense of just how strange your language is, it will help your writing.
These are some other informal ways of asking “how are you?” which are typically used to casually greet someone you have met before. Most people answer with “nothing” or “not much”. Or, if it feels right to make small talk, you could also briefly describe anything new or interesting that’s going on in your life, before asking “what about you?” to continue the conversation.
Andrew: Hey man, what’s up?
Joel: Hey, not much. What’s new with you?
Andrew: Oh you know, same old, same old.
*Same old, same old is an expression used when one wants to say that everything is the same.
“What’s up” might be odd, but phrases that seem completely transparent to native speakers sometimes still need to be contextualized for someone learning the language:
How’s everything ?, How are things?, or How’s life?
These are some other common ways of asking “how are you?” They can be used to casually greet anyone, but most often they’re used to greet someone you already know. To these, you can answer “good” or “not bad”. Again, if small talk feels appropriate, you could also briefly share any interesting news about your life, and then ask the person “what about you?” or another greeting question.
Your language is strange. All language it strange. Let’s keep it that way. If you ever forget, read some articles by folks wrestling with your native tongue. Helps keep things in perspective.
Eink, E-paper, Think Ink – Collin shares six segments pondering the unusual low-power display technology that somehow still seems a bit sci-fi – http://adafruit.com/thinkink
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.