While having lunch with a new group of American friends the other day, I found out that there was something worse than the language barrier:


Though I am used to it, I felt concerned about not understanding a single word of the conversation they were having: those friends were computer science majors.

Then, I realized that everyone outside the conversation was as lost as I was; and I was actually very happy that English speakers could understand how I feel every day.

I hate being seen as an ignorant person so I discreetly browse every foreign word possible. That is how I figured out that Linux was an operating system which is basically what enables your computer to work; such as Windows or Macintosh.

I was actually ashamed not to know all these words, because my father happens to be a computer software engineer. Knowing this, I had no excuse not to know what they were talking about; so I just pretended that I was not assimilating the French computer science vocabulary with the English one (which is completely ridiculous: most of the computer science words remain in English everywhere in the world).

Speaking of languages, I was asked later in the conversation which language my dad was working in. Knowing the answer, I proudly said: “English”; but I quickly noticed that they were laughing at me. Yes, in the computer science jargon, a language is not those we naturally think of.

“No, Amélie, I meant, which language is he programming in? Python, Cobol?”

“Wait, What?”

I had no clue what he was talking about. I asked my father about it, but don’t expect any explanation from me; I still do not know what this is all about.

If, just like me, the word « coding » make you think of people spying for the C.I.A.; if you see no harm using Internet Explorer, or if in general you cannot understand Computer Science jokes, there is a glossary you should consult before hanging out with nerds.

I found an interesting and funny video that actually turns the problem around. As a matter of fact, if it is often hard for us to understand their jargon; people who belong to this special world are often facing our ignorance and find it hard to make themselves understood and explaining to us what is actually obvious for them.

This short comedy sketch show shows us how Information Technology experts can feel when facing people – like us – who know nothing about computer science.


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