Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Thursday, March 15

Resident Expert

There aren't very many Americans in my department so I not infrequently find myself to be the only native English speaker in a room of maybe a dozen people. When a question of English grammar arises, I become the instant expert. Unfortunately, I am only fluent in American-English-as-spoken-by-Nina. This means I have a slightly larger vocabulary than anyone else in the room, but I don't actually know the grammar rules any better. I just know what "sounds right". So when everyone looks over at me for an answer I sputter something like, "Sounds alright to me..." and then slouch down in my chair. Such are the pitfalls of being the only whatever in a large group. As a member of your class (married, parent, ethnic group, particular skill, etc.), you are supposed to be a completely representative sample. Like asking a Chinese person "So, what's China like?" and expecting a well-researched, comprehensive, and accessible response that represents all of China's large population, when you could go look at a travel guide.

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