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The Fallacy of the Lonely Fact

I know most of you come here for the languages, but as long as I keep witnessing these displays of egotistical ignorance, the illustrations will keep rolling.

Expat Gone Foreign, Language and culture comics, discrimination, xenophobia, fallacy of the lonely fact, faulty generalization

In logic and reasoning, the fallacy of proof by example or fallacy of the lonely fact is a conclusive statement about a given phenomenon based on one single supporting case 1.

Interestingly enough, these statements mostly come from white expats living in Europe. Yes, you are abroad. No, the fact that you haven’t experienced discrimination based on your nationality, cultural background or appearance does not mean that xenophobia and racism don’t exist. Once again, check your privilege.

If you liked this illustration, keep browsing here.

1.5 Meters Explained

Dear fellow German citizens,

Seeing as many of you are having trouble understanding basic units of measurement, here’s a visual aid that I made with love explaining what 1.5 meters look like in terms that you’ll all understand. : )

Expat Gone Foreign, corona, Germany, social distancing, security distance, comic, explained

If you think your country could also use a “1.5 Meters Explained” illustration, let me know and I’ll get to it!

 

Understanding Locals

If you have had trouble understanding locals lately, fear not. Your language skills have not vanished overnight. Rather, the communication challenge switched to a whole different level of difficulty.Expat Gone Foreign, Language comics, linguistics, non-verbal communication, proxemics, kineticsDeciphering messages in any (foreign) language is a complex task on its own. Not only do you need to hear the message loud and clear, but also share the linguistic code of the speaker. Furthermore, the visual cues convey as much meaning as the audible information. In fact, words only account for 35% of the meaning in a conversation 2.

If you prefer face-to-face communication over phone calls, there’s a perfectly good reason: non-verbal cues are absent over the phone. You might hear the words, but the absence of gestures, facial expressions and eye contact might leave you at a loss.

In the current situation, most of these non-verbal cues are gone. In addition, speakers are often too far away to be heard, and face masks act like a barrier that muffles sound. Remember those times at the dentist when you can’t understand a word they are saying? As if speaking a foreign language weren’t difficult enough under normal circumstances.

Long story short: if you are a bit rattled, don’t doubt your skills. They are still there, you are just playing this round of the game in pandemic mode.

Land of painfully slow Internet

It is said that if you want to know how people really are, you should give them a computer with a glacially slow internet connection. When it comes to patience, Germans must be second to none. The economic powerhouse of Europe and home of the warp-speed Autobahn also happens to be the land of painfully slow internet.

Expat Gone Foreign, Internet Connection, slow speed , Germany infrastructure,

As of February 2020, Germany ranks 39th on broadband speed in a global scale, and is painfully below the European average. The situation is even more staggering for mobile data. According to the BNetzA report from 2017, only 1.6% of users were getting the speed promised by their providers, and only 18% reached half the speed contractually agreed upon.

While the world frantically switches to 5G technology, here I am, staring at the screen while this post is finally uploaded. I guess I could brew some tea in the meantime, maybe pay a visit to my family… even pick a new career, get a degree, found a business, retire and move to Singapore. You know, whatever happens first.