I can't figure out what they meant.

China
April 7, 2010 11:11pm CST
Hi, friends. As you know, mylot is an international community consisting of people of all ages, cultures and backgrouds. So it's quite natural that our command of English also varies considerably. Most of the time, I can understand about a discussion clearly, though there might be a few grammatical mistakes. But there are also times when I find it quite hard for me to understand a discussion. I've seen several topics which seem to be fun, but when I checked the details, all I had was confusion. I coudn't figure out any sense from them, which in fact upset me a lot. Sometimes I think it might be the slangs that makes it difficult. But I consulted the dictionary and got no answer. It even made me doubt about my own knowledge of English as I'm not a native English speaker myself. Have you ever seen a discussion that you don't understand a bit? I mean it's the poor grammar that causes the problem. PS: I do not mean to make fun of people who are not good at English. Please don't take me wrong.
2 people like this
18 responses
@ypyanyan (956)
• China
8 Apr 10
yes, I always can not understand some discussion .so I often select the easy discussion to response. my english is so-so.
• China
8 Apr 10
Selecting easy discussions to respond? Aha, that's a good idea. I often do the same thing, too. Apart from discussions in poor grammar, there are many people out there who love writing in complicated words and idioms, which also makes me confused.
1 person likes this
@mysdianait (65070)
• Italy
8 Apr 10
The complicated words and idioms which are not used in everyone's daily conversation can confuse those of us who should know English really well, so you are not alone in being confused when these are used
1 person likes this
• China
8 Apr 10
I thought I was the only one who felt confused of complicated words and idioms. Sometimes, when I can't figure out what the creator of a discussion wants to say, I feel embarrassed to ask him/her for more hints.
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
Yeah. There are a lot of them here. What i do is, i just try to make sense out of them an when they say that i got it wrong then i make them explain what their discussion is really all about.
1 person likes this
• China
8 Apr 10
Thanks for responding. When I meet such a problem, I mostly don't reply in order to avoid some misunderstandings. But sometimes, I just read through others' responses to try to figure out some sense from them and then write down my ideas.
• China
9 Apr 10
I just do the same thing as you when I meet the same situation.Most of the time I found that just coz of the different culture I cannot understand other's discussion. I think I could understand others even through the bad grammar. When I read your esay I know you are from China. It's easy to understand what you said!
• China
9 Apr 10
You did? But how can you figure out my nationality just by reading what i wrote? Is it because my english is awful or not to your taste;-(? You seem to be quite familiar with Chinese people's writing style.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164226)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Apr 10
hi chenxiaoyue__713 oh yes I have seen them too and sometimes as I can just get a hint of what they might mean I ask if they could just add a little to help me understand it then I might be able to reply and sometimes they do do this. mylot admins suggests we do try to help in these cases and we can surely do that.
1 person likes this
• China
8 Apr 10
It may help a little if you ask them for more hints. But ususally I don't do it simply because I think if a person writes in poor grammar, perhaps he won't be able to give more useful details to help us understand more about what he wants to say. Maybe it's just a prejudice. Anyway, I'll try asking for more info next time. Thanks for responding.
@climber7565 (2579)
• United States
8 Apr 10
Well you have a valid point. I think you should look at it as a personal challenge to improve your language experience. I do the same, since English is my second language. We never stop learning. Its our responsibility to keep up and try harder. I have had come across some people who won't try at all and make no sense on what they write, total waste of time, reading their posts.
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks for responding, friend. I totally agree that we should keep learning to enhance our command of english. If someone wrote in complicated words, expressions and syntax, i'll try utmost to get some sense out of it. But i'm afraid i can learn nothing from a post written in poor grammar. I mean it's grammar that conveys meaning. I'm supposed to learn knowledge from others' posts, including correct use of english rather than poor grammar.
• United States
9 Apr 10
Hello friend, you are so right. Thank you for your reply as well. It is true, some posts are worthless indeed and there is nothing to learn from poor writing. I have so much more to learn as it is and time is of an essence all around.
• China
9 Apr 10
Me, too. There are always so many things from which I can learn something. I believe most people hold the similar idea. We're not just posting and earning, we're also learning from others and enriching ourselves step by step.
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
Hi there! I'm still new here in Mylot and in my first days, I used to skip topics that become unclear because the composer obviously is not in good command of the English language. I do that to avoid giving incorrect comments and try to just find other topics. As my first week passed by, I got friends and gradually learned how to interpret what they really mean to say. It's cute actually because I appreciate how they really try their best to express their feelings and some of them even ask for apology if they think you are having difficulty decoding their words. :) I think it's okay with them if you tell them straightforwardly that you did not understand what they meant. It only shows that you honestly want to get their opinion that's why you are giving them the chance to explain further. :)
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing, friend. I'm really impressed with what you said. I understand how difficult it is for some people here who do not have a good command of english to struggle to express themselves and i appreciate that. Since i joined in mylot, i've seen many discussions that are hard for me to understand, either because of complicated words and idioms or because of ungrammatical use of english. As to the former, i can somehow manage to get some sense out by consulting the dictionary; but the latter really frightens me back. I've never thought of telling them straightforwardly that i don't understand what they meant as i doubt that it might be my poor knowledge in english that caused the problem.
• United States
9 Apr 10
This is such a thoughtful reply. I have to agree with it and share sentiment to the fact. Is true, many of us for who English is a second language, we are still learning and have to be careful or extra careful. Why not give a chance?
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks, climber. I think perhaps I should it a second thought. As you two mentioned, many non-native english speakers do have problems with english, but at least they are working on it and making effort to learn more. I'm supposed to do them justice. Anyway, I'll give it a try next time, but I hope it won't cause any misunderstandings.
@ramp123 (191)
• India
8 Apr 10
I am sure it can happen. What I would do in your place is take the direct approach. That is, respond, say you have not understood the discussion, and ask for clarification. If you get it and the discussion is interesting, great, otherwise just move on!
• China
8 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing, ramp. This kind of thing does happen frequently. I don't know how other people cope with such a problem, but I've never tried to respond to say that I don't understand the discussion and ask for clarification. I'm afraid that the person who created the discussion may laugh at me or something.
@ramp123 (191)
• India
8 Apr 10
I don't think anyone will laugh. After all, he or she is the person who wrote the ungrammatical incorrect English in the first place. Maybe you can politely point this out, say something like " this is not commonly used English syntax, so I am unable to understand it, could you please clarify?". That will take care of your apprehension, I am sure? And most important, your self-esteem is more important than what others may think? If a silly person laughs at you, it does not mean a thing. There is a saying in India, " if a dog barks at an elephant, the elephant does not retaliate".
• China
8 Apr 10
Thanks for your kind words. I think i should give it a try some day as some of those discussions seem quite interesting. If the incorrect english blocks me too much, i may miss many opportunities to participate in them.
@bystander (2299)
• Philippines
10 Apr 10
you are not making fun, huh. but what you just posted is already a pun. but i am not blaming you. there are those who just post ridiculous topics for discussion. not only showing a lot of slip -- inadequate communication skills, coupled with bad grammar and incongruous logic -- but having the gal to proceed, even if it is apparent that the topic is more to confuse rather than enlighten. spontaneous is good, but it sure has a lot of disadvantages, like what you have just posted, my friend.
• China
10 Apr 10
Hi, bystander. It seems you were gone for some time. I didn't see any of your discussions, nor responses. Well, thanks for pointing out, but I didn't realize a bit that this discussion could be a pun. I don't mean to criticize those who post discussions that make no sense, what I care about is what others think about this and whether they themselves have met such a problem. When I see a discussion that is beyond my understanding, I tend to think it's due to my poor knowledge in English.
@bystander (2299)
• Philippines
10 Apr 10
we cannot do much for such ridiculous and sometimes, outrageous topics for discussion. except of course, ignore them and set for ourselves a more responsible topic and explanation of our posts. setting the example, i believe, is a better approach. don't you think? well, i've been quite busy the past two weeks and it's only now that i really had time to post... i don't want to respond or comment by simply typing words that mean nothing, you know. i owe it to the one posting a good topic to be sensible in my response or comment... and i just can't whip something like than in a jiffy...
• Philippines
9 Apr 10
I am also not a native english speaker. I also have mistakes in my own english grammar because I am not that professional. But maybe those people are also not that good in english thats why you might get confuse. All I suggest if you ever saw something like that comment to it and say that makes him or her correct so he or she will know about it. Thats all I can say and I hope I dont mis understand what your trying to tell us.
• United States
9 Apr 10
its very difficult to try and play the role of an English teacher. Our friend's point is very valid. You also have to make an effort to learn, proof read what you write and do better.
• China
9 Apr 10
Hi, Maricrism. You got my point. But I have to agree with climber that trying to play the role of an English teacher is difficult, espeically in such a large international forum where everyone has his/her own way of thinking. Besides, I don't have any right to try to teach someone here. All I can do is to ask for more explanation in a mild way to avoid any misunderstandings.
@kprofgames (3099)
• United States
9 Apr 10
Yes I've been in that boat myself. I know you're not making fun of anyone and I've often felt kind of left out because, like you, it seemed like a fun discussion but couldn't get a grasp on what was being said enough to muster up a response.
• China
10 Apr 10
You got my point, right? This discussion absolutely aims not at making fun of those who have a poor grammar in English, but rather means to find out if I'm alone in feeling confused sometimes. Now I already know I'm by no means alone. Many friends here do share the same opinion as I do. Thanks for responding. Have a good day!
@junrapmian (2170)
• Philippines
9 Apr 10
Yes, there are a lot of members who post discussions that I can't comprehend. Some discussions are grammatically poor or the words used are not seen in the dictionary. What I always do is to respond by asking what he/she really trying to say, and that I can't relate because I don't understand the question or the discussion.
• China
9 Apr 10
To ask for further explanations might be the easiest way to cope with a discussion that we're unable to comprehend. If the problem really stemmed from those rarely-used words, then it can be a good opportunity for us to enrich our knowledge. Anyway, i should give it a try next time, though i'm always against it. Thanks for sharing.
@petersum (4525)
• United States
8 Apr 10
I am British, born and bred in England, and quite well educated. But the English don't speak English! That's true. I spent about 25 years abroad in Asia (keeping the Empire alive) and changed my accent, slowed my rate of talking, and did everything possible to make myself understood. All was well until I met some English holiday makers recently in Corfu. I apparently sound like a German now - definitely not British, so they told me. Guess what? I couldn't understand them either! Newcastle people speak... well, not quite English.
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing, friend. Maybe that is where the rub is. Perhaps some people are used to writing in a style that seems grammatically incorrect to others, especially to non-native english speakers who were educated to follow strict grammatical rules. But i guess this is more common in spoken english than in written english. I'm well-educated too and have read lots of books written in english and i can understand them clearly. Maybe it's because not all the people here received good education and they have been accustomed to that particular style of writing.
@umit_umit (1986)
• India
8 Apr 10
well friend i think you are saying to one person or many as such!!as sometime i do some grammatical mistakes!i think its when i type and then do not see the typed words!but i have even seen many discussions like this which have some different meanings from the topic written!Well its good to pont out,so that one should check ones fault!
• China
9 Apr 10
Don't take me wrong, friend. I'm not deliberately aiming at one particular person. I'm just trying to point this out to see if i'm alone in getting into confusion since i always doubt about my english. I know we all make mistakes in typing but what i referred to is not typing, but rather the poor grammar that causes the problem. Simple typing errors are not an obstacle at all. I believe everyone can easily understand. However, if a sentence is written without following any grammatical rules, i'm afraid few people can really understand it.
@dloveli (4368)
• United States
8 Apr 10
Unfortunately this happens more often than not. I try to do the best I can. That's really all you can do. MyLotters are doing the best we can to be there for each and every friend on our lists and the one's we have yet to request. Just be patient and if you're having trouble understanding, read the responses maybe that will clear it up. Good luck and Happy MyLotting! dl
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks for your advice. That's what i'm trying to do. When i find it difficult to figure out any sense from a discussion, i read some of the responses to see how other people understand about it, and it sometimes helps since most people here express themselves clearly.
8 Apr 10
I cannot agree with u more. When encountering these problems, i just thought mybe the phrases or sentences r their oral language or dialect that i haven't seen before coz i am not a native english speaker too. whatever, mylot is a community where we can make friends with people all over the world. so just enjoy ourselves here.
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks, friend. Welcome to mylot. You're right. It's really unwise to upset myself with those nonsensical posts since i can just ignore them and enjoy communicating with other friends here.
@setsuna26 (2409)
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
I know what you mean, there are even times that i myself post something and then some people just pop out of no where saying something about teachings and stuff, but the thing is i just dont get it or worse i really dont understand their comment. But sometimes i just tend to ignore these kinds of stuff thinking that hey its a free world out there. Then i just read those whom i understand instead. Have a great day and enjoy mylotting!
• China
9 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing, friend. It's wise to ignore it as further argument may lead to misunderstandings and even resentment. We have every right to choose what kind of discussions we want to respond. Some friends suggest me to request clarification so as to figure out the sense and respond, but i'm not really into it. People here are all of different cultures and backgrounds, and asking for more info may be regarded as rude. That's why i usually get away from those ambiguous discussions.
@p3ks626 (6548)
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
I understand what you mean. Sometimes they even start interesting topics but sometimes we also dont know that exactly it is that they are trying to mean. When this happens, I usually just make a follow up question about what they were talking about so I wont lead others in the wrong direction if I am going to answer to a discussion. I think its very important to have mutual understanding and asking a question is better than blabbing about something that you are not even sure of.
• China
8 Apr 10
Exactly. Their topics are interesting enough to attract my attention, but the detailed descriptions are a mess. They seem to be full of thoughts but are unable to express them correctly, which often holds me back from the intention to respond. I thought of asking for more hints but have never done it as i doubt it may result in misunderstanding and embarrassment. Thanks for responding.
• Tianjin, China
8 Apr 10
I do agree with you. I often consult the dictionary in mylot. My Enlish is poor,i'm not a native english speaker. There is some wrong in my discussin,wrong in spelling or grammar.
• China
8 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing, friend. I'm not a native english speaker either. I guess we are from the same nation, right? Anyway, you're doing very well as i can clearly get your meaning. Those posts i referred to in this discussion give rise to difficulties in understanding simply because of their completely ungrammatical structure. I'm not so fastidious to require that everyone writes in decent english as i can't do it myself, but the most basic thing is that we can get some sense out and be able to respond.
@bubbletush (1333)
• Philippines
8 Apr 10
I also encounter those kinds of discussions and I do not know how to respond. Yes there are myLotters who do not use English as their first language and find it hard to express their thoughts. But I think myLot is a good medium for them to improve their English.
• China
8 Apr 10
Yes, you're right. Mylot is a wonderful place for non-native English speakers to practise writing. I find myself also improving in writing skills since I joined mylot, and have seen many friends who are gradually doing better in English while posting here. So we really need to make the best of mylot. Thanks for sharing.