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Immersion Breakers

Oyster

So...there you are, reading a story, enjoying it, tuning out the outside the world and then it happens: You read something and your immersion breaks.
What are your biggest immersion breakers in stories and why?

I'll start off with the two big ones that always break my immersion:

* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site
Yes, I know those sites. I am probably on that site and reading the story there. No, I do not need a reminder that I am on that site and reading a story there.

* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).

garymrssn

Blatant ignorance of female anatomy.

Incorrect homonym in a serious story. In a comedy they sometimes add laughs.

LonelyDad

The usual, homonyms, large number of misspellings, incorrect usage of apostrophes in plural possessives, misplaced words. One particular squick of mine is when to double the trailing consonant when adding -ing. [Hint - when the preceding vowel is long, don't double. Ex: pin/pinning, pine/pining, pain/paining, pan/panning] Incorrect use of action pairs, i.e. lay/lie, then/than, affect/effect. The ones that really get me are when the tense of the wrong side of the pair is used, like layed instead of laid.

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

Replies:   Grant
graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  samuelmichaels
richardshagrin

Naked in School stories where the Principal is spelled Principle. Its not such a big deal in most stories, just another homonym, but if you set the story in a school...

Replies:   Wheezer
Not_a_ID

@graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.


Eh, there's been a few(very few) times when I've seen that done well. But yeah, generally agreed, that statement, and ones closely related to it, are ones most authors should avoid. They may think they're clever by adding it in there, but they're not.

Usually the biggest offending parties are the ones the are posting serial stories. Often ones they're writing almost as fast as they're posting. In which case lines like that probably get thrown in as some kind of twisted "cliff hanger" until the next part is posted.

samuelmichaels

@graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.

Yeah, I don't like heavy-handed foreshadowing.

I am also sensitive to head-hopping.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

@richardshagrin

Naked in School stories where the...

My ludicrous meter is way too sensitive for me to even start a NIS story, so what happens inside the story is irrelevant to me.

Replies:   richardshagrin  OldNYer
Grant

@LonelyDad

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

Motion seconded.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
awnlee jawking

When the author gets the characters' names muddled up.

Dialogue sequences in which it's difficult or impossible to tell who said what.

Timeline failures.

AJ

ustourist

Replacing pique with peak or peek.
I don't think that is homonym misuse, in that case it is more likely to be lack of knowledge of the word they are trying to use.
That error totally breaks my concentration.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@ustourist

Replacing pique with peak or peek.


Also using "discrete" in place of "discreet."

In addition to a passage perforated with cliches and trite phrases, is the "text replacement" boiler-plate descriptions in the course of a story: ie, "he was tall for a xxyzian at well over two meters and wore tight mauve scale armour, with large, wide-set eyes..." repeated over and over and over, every time a xxyzian enters the scene.

It's like the author loaded that phrase into his text-replacement utility, and triggers it by typing "xxyz".

Replies:   Oyster
Oyster

@graybyrd

Are xxyzians related to zzyzzyxx?

One typo (or Freudian slip) that made me chuckle was when a character named Melody turned into Melony.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl
Updated:

@Grant

Motion seconded.


I think we have a consensus here.

And since I used that word in a sentence, it reminded me of a story I read not that long ago, where the author was talking about counting the population - with the senses results, not the census results... (facepalm)

richardshagrin

@Wheezer

My ludicrous meter is way too sensitive for me to even start a NIS story

Many, maybe most stories on SOL require suspension of disbelief. I use a 50 ton crane, but every once in a while the cable breaks. Schools require a lot of strange things. Its been a while, but I remember being sent to the Principal (I almost spelled it with a ple) for disciple because in class when we were reading a particular chapter I read ahead in the text book. In Tomah, Wisconsin where if your grandfather hadn't settled there with their grandfather, you would always be an outsider, in second grade after a spelling test the teacher required the boys, who of course had lower scores than the girls, wear dresses to class the next day. Weird funny things happen in school, having particular characters in a fictitious school have to go nude isn't that strange, at least to me and others who enjoy the NIS universe.

Replies:   sejintenej
garymrssn

So far I haven't encountered a parent catching their teenager exacerbating. However, growing up sometimes does get worse after puberty. A suddenly sexually aware teen may need to exacerbate before it gets better.

Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).

That's one I've at least tried to address in my stories. While I'm woefully liguistically challenged (being a typical American), I started out using Google Translate, but switched over to using Fivrr to get personal translated for specific phrases. I can't say there's a huge difference (not being able to read the passages myself), but I like to pretend it makes a difference.

However, I'm with you about the typical "I was reading incest stories on SOL when I got the idea 'why not make a pass at my daughter?'" The device has been reused so much, it's almost a stereotype now. There's really no need to play that directly to your audience. After all, we're not like bands that shout out "Hello [insert name of current city]!" at every show, and the idea that every pedophile or person involved in incest would inherently know everyone else involved in the practice is patently objectionable. It's akin to asking someone from Spokane if they know Bob from Seattle. There's absolutely no connection between the people rather than their membership in a small, isolated community to someone else in another small, isolated community.

@LonelyDad

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

I can relate, but I gotta ask, do you just stew in your own juices over it, or do you send of a 'Did you realize ...' response?

Replies:   LonelyDad
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

I am also sensitive to head-hopping.

Yeah, my tend gets sensitive after people hop on it, too! ;D

Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

One typo (or Freudian slip) that made me chuckle was when a character named Melody turned into Melony.

I'll admit, after so many stories with SO many different characters, I'll often find myself typing another characters' name for the one the story/chapter/sequence is actually about. Luckily, though, my editors catch most of those flubs.

LonelyDad

@Crumbly Writer

I can relate, but I gotta ask, do you just stew in your own juices over it, or do you send of a 'Did you realize ...' response?

If there aren't too many and it's a worthwhile story I will send corrections, and sometimes offer my services as a proofreader, something I have done for several authors here.
By worthwhile story I mean one with a real plot and decent story, where it is obvious the author has spent time and effort to do a good job.

rkimmelerre

I'm generally pretty chill about misspellings or wrong words, though I almost always notice them. There's only two common misspellings that bug me.

1) Rouge for rogue. It's an easy typo, but the consistency with which some writers make the mistake leads me to believe they think it's the correct spelling.

2) Defiantly for definitely. I don't understand this one at all. If it was only one writer who did it, or I only saw it once in a great while, that'd be one thing. But it's actually fairly common, and it bugs the snot out of me.

The only other immersion breaker that comes to mind is hypocritical main characters, or stupidly sanctimonious main characters, but only when the author seems unaware of the trait. Both traits are perfectly acceptable in a fictional character, as long as they're acknowledged flaws. What bugs me is when a character in a story makes a big show about taking a moral stand, because it's the right thing to do, dammit, and think of the children! only to go on sometimes in the very next chapter do pretty much exactly what he was bitching about other people doing.

The stupid sanctimony comes in when a character makes a big show about criticizing the actions of someone else and shaming them into doing "the right thing," and then three pages down the line the author shows us that the supposed wrong way would've been much better and smarter for all concerned, and wouldn't have hurt anyone in any way.

Again, these only bug me when it's obvious that the author is unaware of what his/her characters are doing.

graybyrd
Updated:

Spot the clinker! I just came across this in an Amazon-published book I'm reading, and this one knocked me right out of my chair...!

"The new ship would be her Sword of Damocles, and she would use it to make the ~~~~~~ and ~~~~ pay for what they had done."

Honestly, what can one possibly say about that... other than, maybe, reference sources are an author's friend... otherwise, one can look pretty lame.

This is the same author/book I referred to in an earlier post on this topic: "It's like the author loaded that phrase into his text-replacement utility, and triggers it by typing "xxyz"."

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@graybyrd

I think that author deserves to be named. There are times when warning other potential readers can be considered an act of mercy and public duty.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Oyster


* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site


I am a little less averse to this on two grounds; a) I very seldom see it, b) one such introduced me to a guitarist I had never heard of but now enjoy and there c o u l d be further useful site references


* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations

Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).


Haven't we had this commented upon ad nauseum previously?

I have just finished reading (and recommend) Ernest Bywater's 'Finding Home' which is jam-packed with Japanese. The English equivalent of most repeated Japanese words arrives almost unnoticed in the text whilst others suggesting rank / class are clearly implied. Don't worry, he uses the western alphabet!

He comments, outside the story, that conversations may in context be in Japanese but he is giving the English translation.

Replies:   Oyster
sejintenej
Updated:

@richardshagrin


in second grade after a spelling test the teacher required the boys, who of course had lower scores than the girls, wear dresses to class the next day.


What happens in Wisconsin.....! If you think that ludicrous, think of a schoolboy in black knee breeches with silver buttons at the knee, bright yellow stockings (apparently bugs avoid yellow!) a thick heavy woolen ankle length coat with silver buttons and cuff buttons, open from the waist, a leather belt or girdle with a real silver buckle and the neck bands of a clergyman. That was the school uniform (from 1553) worn by the band at the Rosebowl a few years ago!!!!!

Heavy, man, heavy! You only had to wear it one day - those schoolboys wore it for up to 9 years, all day, 7 days a week. (Well, it was a hospital)

(Edit for spelling)

Oyster

@sejintenej

URLs belong in annotations or an after word. In a story they most likely are just an unneeded distraction.
Inserting the websites where the author publishes his stories in real life with no rhyme or reason is just bad product placement or self-promotion.

You seem to have missed the point of why and when the use of foreign languages makes me stop reading for a moment.
I have no problem when an author uses foreign languages correctly, but when a character who is supposed to be a native speaker mangles her/his language beyond recognition, well then it breaks my immsersion.
I'll give one example that has stayed with me for years:
In a published book the author is talking about black knights and tries to use the German words (schwarze Ritter) for it. The words are used three or four times in that story and they are misspelled in a different manner every time the author uses them (e.g. "Schwarzritterein" and "schwartze Rittern").
Bottom line is: If you do not speak the language don't use it in your story, especially if it is a language that uses declension and conjugation heavily.

But then again that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster

* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site
Yes, I know those sites. I am probably on that site and reading the story there. No, I do not need a reminder that I am on that site and reading a story there.


But, is every reader of the story reading it on that site? That's the question you need to ask.

Also, the context in which it's done, is it appropriate for the story at that point? I've done it a couple of times to show the person doing is relaxing by reading. It's no worse than saying the character is reading Red October or any other novel or author by name.

Replies:   Oyster
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster


* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).


If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint. But if the character is speaking the language as a non-native speaker, then a babblefish translation is more likely to be appropriate than a perfect one. Also, it shouldn't be an issue if it's just an odd word now and then or a title or name.

Replies:   sejintenej  sejintenej
Oyster

@Ernest Bywater

But, is every reader of the story reading it on that site? That's the question you need to ask.


No, the question one has to ask is: Is it important to the story or the character and does it have to be that site or would a generic site do just fine?

Also, the context in which it's done, is it appropriate for the story at that point? I've done it a couple of times to show the person doing is relaxing by reading. It's no worse than saying the character is reading Red October or any other novel or author by name.


Exactly, the context and impact on the story has to be taken into account.
Good examples of how it enhances a story that I remember off the top of my head from this site are:
"The Romantic Vigilante" (SPOILERS AHEAD)
The MC reads books by Louis L'Amour about taking justice into his own hands and those give him a push to seek revenge on those who killed his mother. Later those same books help him connect with his biological father.

"Building a Better Past"
The MC reads time travel stories before being thrown back in time which makes him more accepting of what happened to him.

Sorry to say, but, IMHO, your ~200 word exposition in "Survivor" did nothing to enhance the story in any way, shape or form and it is just advertisement. It becomes more obvious or glaring when compared to the generic statement "watching a movie" in the same paragraph.
Do we really need to know that the anthologies are in e-pub?
Or the other stories? Or that it is on finestories.com or lulu.com?

Immersion breaking is just like taking offense, a rather personal thing, so what may break my immersion may be overlooked by others.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

@Oyster

I have no problem when an author uses foreign languages correctly, but when a character who is supposed to be a native speaker mangles her/his language beyond recognition, well then it breaks my immsersion.

Whilst I agree with you 100% (I couldn't stand German) I suggested what I consider a suitable way of handling language which should suit those who speak the language and those who do not (my Japanese is minimal!)

In that example I recognised some of the words as being correct but that didn't matter too much because the words used were all simple nouns plus the addition of the suffix 'san' where applicable. IF EB got it wrong it didn't matter because the words were explained or understandable.
I am also aware that some European languages have very basic local variations.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint. But if the character is speaking the language as a non-native speaker, then a babblefish translation is more likely to be appropriate than a perfect one. Also, it shouldn't be an issue if it's just an odd word now and then or a title or name.

I reckoned I knew French before I moved there - my boss was French and I had to use it. However he is Parisian and it took me a year before I could understand my next door neighbour when he spoke French for me. As for the patois they speak, I can just about read it but not understand it spoken.

One author uses Norwegian - modern Norwegian which is miles different to what I learned. I don't say he is wrong because he is using a different/ modern form of the language.

LonelyDad

One that kicks me out every time is when it appears that the author used speech to text software, and then didn't correct the errors like 'your' for 'you're' and other homophones.

Replies:   docholladay
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster


Sorry to say, but, IMHO, your ~200 word exposition in "Survivor" did nothing to enhance the story in any way, shape or form and it is just advertisement.


It shows aspects of the character's personality in that he planned ahead for his reading while traveling, uses modern facilities, and is prepared to put aside his preferred reading to read something else to his seat neighbour. I could have had him sit there and ignore the girl, but that would make he look like a rectum. Once I was having him reading on a tablet, then it's a matter of choosing what he reads, and listing them, by using the ones I did I knew there'd be no chance of a legal backlash, especially when they read the story from other sources, which many of my readers do.

In this case it also helps to promote the website for Lazeez.

docholladay

@LonelyDad

One that kicks me out every time is when it appears that the author used speech to text software, and then didn't correct the errors like 'your' for 'you're' and other homophones.


Those writers are the ones who really need editorial help. Most of them are legally blind at a minimum. The software probably will never notice those errors or even grammar checkers. The right editor could hopefully spot those errors and correct them. When I know a writer has to use "speech to text" software, I cut them some slack. I will try to at least send them a feedback quoting the sentence or paragraph with the wrong word choice (most sound the same), with a suggested replacement sentence correcting the major mistake.

Until I find out different I tend to give a lot of slack to writers using the speech to text. If they can't see it, the only way some errors will be spotted is for someone else to read and hopefully edit the story with corrected word choices.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@docholladay

Those writers are the ones who really need editorial help. Most of them are legally blind at a minimum.


This would be an excellent opportunity for volunteer editors to help, if a special-needs writer would post a request. A win-win deal for all, really.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


@Oyster wrote

* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations

Ernest Bywater replied

If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint.


What is a native? MIT does an undergraduate course in about 6 varieties of Spanish including Mexican and Puerto Rican (I don't know about Cuban). The US of A is reputed to have large tracts which are "Spanish" speaking and an author, whom I take to be American, has come up with the following after Spanish lessons in an American school:

......so she said ' Yo soy embarrassado.' The teacher broke down in laughter before explaining it to us. 'Embarrassado' means pregnant!


OK so that is a joke which I can enjoy with embarrassment but it indicates that the writer is familiar with some type of Spanish. However the first bit of Spanish is certainly not grammatical Castelleño.

Should I just assume it is Americanised Spanish or get all archy-farchy and say he should have had it audited and corrected?

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Should I just assume it is Americanised Spanish or get all archy-farchy and say he should have had it audited and corrected?


It gets worse, it could be Spanglish

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

What is a native?


If the character is represented as someone knows how to speak the language properly, then they should get the language correct, but if the person is presented as being tourist level of knowledge of the language, then the babblefish conversion is more appropriate.

Vlad_Inhaler
Updated:

@sejintenej

......so she said ' Yo soy embarrassado.' The teacher broke down in laughter before explaining it to us. 'Embarrassado' means pregnant!


I'm reading that short story at the moment - and probably will be for the next 6 months - and you are rather missing the point.

In the story, the author takes Spanish as a foreign language at school and is not that good at it - along with most of the class. The kids have a system if they don't know a word:

If you didn't know what the word was, you could always fake it by adding an 'o' to the end of the English word. You'd usually get a laugh and be told what the word was.


This is where the quote you are referring to is to be found.

graybyrd
Updated:

Coming back to my example of the multi-series published author on Amazon, (repetitive descriptions, and 'Sword of Damocles' clinker, I'll add another: the wildly inappropriate last minute escape from doom. This one caused me to stop reading about two-thirds through the series and toss the rest of the books in disgust.

Like the old Saturday afternoon movie theatre serials, where the hero was left hanging by a bush growing out of the cliff face, hundreds of feet over the raging rapids, and the roots are pulling loose... (don't miss next week's exciting episode!) and Elliot the Heroic Eagle swoops down and grabs our hero just as the bush pulls loose!

Okay... so our intrepid Space Opera author has the hero's ship being blasted to bits; nearly all the crew is dead or blown into space, and his fleet has been rendered into so much space dust... at the last minute, a 'super ship' swoops in and... completely unknown in the story up to this point... latches on to the hero's doomed ship with a tractor beam and jumps away. "Our allies had a totally secret ability," our hero muses as he falls unconscious. Argh!

That's a really shabby way to treat the readers... authors must obey the rules they establish in the course of the story. This "miracle" crap incites nothing but anger and disgust. It's a cheap trick. Don't do it!

(I should have known better. This author violates all the principles of space physics; writes battle scenes reminiscent of old square rigger ships standing off and blasting each other to pieces... by the thousands; and he treats the people like houseflies. In every battle a thousand fighters and bombers are launched, and a hundred will survive. Every battle! Wonder how they ever recruit pilots!

Bad, very, very bad space opera.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Vlad_Inhaler

I'm reading that short story at the moment - and probably will be for the next 6 months


You have a strange definition of short story.

Either that or you are the slowest reader on the face of the earth.

:-D

Dominions Son

@graybyrd

In every battle a thousand fighters and bombers are launched, and a hundred will survive. Every battle! Wonder how they ever recruit pilots!


The average live expectancy of a WWI pilot was 6 hours of flight time, including training.

In WWII it was somewhere between 5 and 10 missions.

Neither side lacked for pilot recruits in either war.

Replies:   docholladay
sejintenej
Updated:

@Vlad_Inhaler


In the story, the author takes Spanish as a foreign language at school and is not that good at it - along with most of the class. The kids have a system if they don't know a word:

If you didn't know what the word was, you could always fake it by adding an 'o' to the end of the English word. You'd usually get a laugh and be told what the word was.

This is where the quote you are referring to is to be found.


You missed the point; one of the first things you learn in Castelleño is that you don't normally use pronouns even though they exist°°°. Thus the Yo is wrong. I was suggesting that it might be used in some forms of Caribbean / Mexican Spanish. (Colleagues in Argentina and Chile followed the Spanish rule)

°°° of course Vd (Usted) is different

docholladay

@Dominions Son

Neither side lacked for pilot recruits in either war.


I would bet that in both examples neither side gave the odds of dying to the recruits before or after signing them up.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

It gets worse, it could be Spanglish


Or what I had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).

The Chinglish was definitely the worst; there were manuals where I knew how the product worked, and had figured out for myself how it was meant to be aligned & setup, but what was described in the manual bore little (if any) relation to reality.

Dominions Son

@docholladay

I would bet that in both examples neither side gave the odds of dying to the recruits before or after signing them up.


Of course not, they tout the few great pilots that made it past 30 missions.

Replies:   docholladay
samuelmichaels

@Grant

Or what had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).
The Chinglish was definitely the worst; there were manuals where I knew how the product worked, and had figured out for myself how it was meant to be aligned & setup, but what was described in the manual bore little (if any) relation to reality.

Singlish is not nearly so bad (Singapore English). Distantly related to Chinglish (since Mandarin is the common tongue), but many years as a British colony have left their mark.

Dominions Son

@Grant


Or what I had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).


Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
docholladay

@Dominions Son

Of course not, they tout the few great pilots that made it past 30 missions.


Or how heroic the pilots are. Makes me glad I was never a team player. Always walked my own path regardless of the trouble I got into.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.


Yup, comes from most of it developing as cryptic shorthand for bilingual children trying to confuse adults on either side of the lingual barrier, but not both. Which just makes it more of a nightmare, as it largely was a development/evolution of the lingual behavior of teenagers.

Replies:   sejintenej
OldNYer

@Wheezer

for me you can add to NIS:
Vampires
Zombies of any kind or spelling
Were animals

and the two I most often ignore are:
Coming of Age (for any gender)
Much Sex

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.

Also the efforts of an English speaker starting to attempt to speak Spanish. A parallel is Portunol - the cockups of an English speaker who speaks Spanish and is then trying to learn Portuguese

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@sejintenej

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@OldNYer

for me you can add to NIS:
Vampires
Zombies of any kind or spelling

I can relate. Despite relatively stable sales over the years, I just released a new book about zombies, which has gotten few sales, despite people telling me it's quite good. Some stories just don't attract a wide audience, and those interested in the genre only care about stories that stick to a standard script. :(

@Richard Shagrin

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

Was the man who told you that crewing anything?

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

What does an Angelo sound like to a Floridian (who, according to your public broadcasting net are Mayans in disguise)?
There is an almost infinite variety of Portuguese. For starters European and Brasilian Portuguese (which has Amerindian words added) are so different Brazilians cannot properly understand European Portuguese. My UK secretary, a Portuguese national with a degree in Portuguese, could not translate correspondence from Brazil .

Then you get Gaucho (Rio Grande do Sul - southern border) which is Portuguese with 25% hoch deutsch (?sp) words - it sounds weird. Minero (Minas Gerais) is different to say Paulistano (São Paulo) but sounds closer to Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) which itself is different to Paulistano in words and colloquial grammar. As for the north east ......

The situation is similar to Paraguayan Spanish versus Chile versus Argentine versus Mexico versus Andaluz etc.. Lots of local words, different pronunciation

Mashed potatoes - you could say that of Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) which my boss, a São Paulo lawyer, reckoned he couldn't understand. A lot of hush sounds as in 'mashed'

LonelyDad

An immersion breaker for me is when an author gets cute with organization names whose acronyms spell out pejoratives or 'cutesy' phrases. An example is, and I'm not picking on this author because for the most part I like the story and the ideas behind it, 'Association for a Segregated Society White Humans Only Legally Eligible'. While they might seem cute to the author, they tend to take me out of my suspension of disbelief, and therefore lessen the reading experience. Let me add to that people's names the are disguised with unorthodox spellings but when sounded out are demeaning or pejorative.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@LonelyDad

for the most part I like the story and the ideas behind it, 'Association for a Segregated Society White Humans Only Legally Eligible'. While they might seem cute to the author, they tend to take me out of my suspension of disbelief, and therefore lessen the reading experience.


and doesn't make much sense to people from other cultures who spell the same term as arse hole or have English as a second language and don't get it at all.

However, there is a place to use the sort of cutesy acronym building many bureaucrats use in the government for agencies and units. They don't always do it, but sometimes come up with good ones by either intent or accident.

samuelmichaels

@Ernest Bywater

However, there is a place to use the sort of cutesy acronym building many bureaucrats use in the government for agencies and units. They don't always do it, but sometimes come up with good ones by either intent or accident.

I you study astrophysics, you are likely to hear of theoretical explanations of Dark Matter -- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs). I am pretty sure these terms were not coined randomly.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
ustourist

@Ernest Bywater

Or a good alternative is created for the acronym.
When I worked for a Government Department (over 40 years ago), it was used half jokingly that O.H.M.S. on the benefit envelopes stood for "Only Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs".

Ernest Bywater

@samuelmichaels

you study astrophysics, you are likely to hear of theoretical explanations of Dark Matter -- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs). I am pretty sure these terms were not coined randomly.


In one of Anne McCaffrey's books she has a character interacting with the Space Authority and she uses two acronyms in use today - when the guy said he was LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) the guard said he didn't look like a Low Earth Orbit.

I used to work in the Aust Public service as a civilian in the RAAF - I dealt with AERs each year (Additional Estimate Request) a budget form. The RAAF officers dealt with Airman's Evaluation Reports and I once referred a fight between budget types and unit admins about when the AERs were due - they only stopped when I was able to point out they were talking about two different items.

One gov't dept I worked for was DIMA (Dept Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) we all said the acronym described the minister and how we were supposed to work. This was the height of Politically Correct terms in the Aust gov.t.

Another Was DELP Department of Environment, Land, and Planning. One unit had the short lived title of Housing Investigations - it didn't last long, they never even got time to order stationary - the top admins didn't like a unit named DELPHI. No one noticed at the time the proposal was put forward - or so they claim.

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The RAAF officers dealt with Airman's Evaluation Reports and I once referred a fight between budget types and unit admins about when the AERs were due


I think you meant that you refereed the fight, not that you made reference to it (refer, referred).

REP

@Ernest Bywater

Back when, my company contracted with the Army's Signal Warfare Laboratory. Its acronym was SWL and pronounced as Swill.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@REP


Back when, my company contracted with the Army's Signal Warfare Laboratory. Its acronym was SWL and pronounced as Swill.


You can get some interesting ones. The military often create some great ones by accident, and some bad ones. I always liked the Transport Operations Centre (TOC) and often asked them where the tick was.

The only time I created a deliberate acronym in real life was one company where I managed the nation wide parts stock. During the stocktakes we had to carefully manage stock transfers because the stocktake took 2 weeks to do. I instituted a rule - 'No stock to move from a site unless authorised from HO with a transfer line number' so we had a book with every inter-site stock movement during the stocktake period. This was to help trace discrepancies. The company accountant wanted a special stock transfer form to be created and used solely for stock movements during the stock take - it was to be signed for at every stage. I didn't argue with him, I simply created the form, put the name across the top with the first letter of each word in a huge font and sent it up for funding approval to allocated to get it printed. A short word with the top floor secretarial staff, and the request ended up on the GM's desk for approval, and he stormed out of his office shouting, wanting to know who wanted the form - I named the form Stock Holding in Transit so he comes out shouting, "Who the hell wants a SHiT form?" - oddly enough, the accountant never again bothered me about my work or forms after that incident.

That incident proved the power of a good acronym.

typo edit

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

he company accountant wanted a special stock transfer form to be created and sued solely for stock movements during the stock take


As a legal matter, I don't think you can sue a form. :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

can sue a form


my most common typo is sue for use - my hands and fingers work at different speeds no, so some get to the keys faster than others, and out of order.

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

my hands and fingers work at different speeds

Would that be digital dyslexia :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LonelyDad

More like typomatic Parkinsons. I get it once in a while as well. I just switched to a new keyboard, one with mechanical switches rather than membrane ones. I really like it, but it has a very light touch, and my touch typing is getting sloppy to the point that I sometimes rest my fingers on the home keys harder than I should and get ghost keystrokes. But I still like it so much better than my old one, so I don't plan on going back. I looked back, and figured out that my old keyboard as at least ten years old, and had earned the right to retire.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@LonelyDad

old keyboard as at least ten years old


You don't know that best keyboards are at least 25 years old (I'm not kidding).

I still have and religiously use old IBM keyboard from 1988.
It's unbeatable and you can still use it to stick nails with it - only problem is that it does not have Windows keys on (but it's not big deal)...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
LonelyDad

That's why I switched. I got to thinking about it when CMSix was looking for an IBM Type M keyboard a couple of years ago. Those old keyboards were so great because they had mechanical switches. I finally got fed up when I decided I wanted a keyboard where the F keys were F keys unless I pressed a mode key, not the other way around. I wound up looking at gaming keyboards, as they seem to be the only ones that use mechanical keys these days. Got a nice one that uses Cherry Browns, if you know what those are. [Not as much noise or activation force as Cherry Reds, which seem to be the mainstay these days.] The more I use it, the more I am liking it.

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

only problem is that it does not have Windows keys on (but it's not big deal)...


to me, that's an advantage.

oyster50

Ernest Bywater
12/5/2016, 10:51:52 AM
Updated: 12/5/2016, 11:22:18 AM

You can get some interesting ones. The military often create some great ones by accident, and some bad ones. I always liked the Transport Operations Centre (TOC) and often asked them where the tick was.


In the days of my misspent youth, TOC was 'Tactical Operations Center' of a combat unit, and if you ran an exercise in one in the summer in Fort Hood, Texas, the ticks went right along with it.

Oyster50

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@oyster50


In the days of my misspent youth, TOC was 'Tactical Operations Center' of a combat unit,


Yeah, as you say, that would be a combat unit - the one I mentioned only provided support services to other units. I've even seen TOC used to do with something about the unit structure, but can't remember what it was.

Replies:   BlinkReader  REP
BlinkReader

@Ernest Bywater

I've even seen TOC used to do with something about the unit structure, but can't remember what it was.


If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D

REP

@Ernest Bywater

seen TOC


I think you are thinking of TOE Table of Organization and Equipment

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D


Yeah, it is and I use a ToC with all my stories. Thinking about this since I made the post I think I was told it was a Table of Command - not real sure on that. It wasn't the usual organizational chart which showed the units, it had all that, but also had a bunch of dotted lines with notes beside them designating additional command lines for specific activities.

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Would that be digital dyslexia :-)

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?

Replies:   Zom  awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D

Hey, as an independent publisher, the TOC is often a central figure in my fiction, as I keep referring to it trying to figure out what's where in my stories.

Zom

@Crumbly Writer

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?

:-)

awnlee jawking

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D


Or the index at the back, unless they were written to Microsoft standards where you had to know the answer to be able to look up the answer.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?


I'm going to remember that line but not for the reasons you might think. It has to do with the controversy over the definition of 'random'. :)

AJ

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