Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash


Ever since I started to learn Thai for 15 minutes a day, I’ve seen advertisement about language learning programs one after another. I used to hear a lot about Rosetta Stone software years ago, but now it has disappeared–no advertisement from Rosetta Stone. However there are plenty of others, perching on the beginning of each YouTube video I happen to watch or peeking out from in-between paragraphs of the webpages I visit. Most of them talk about other Asian languages like Korean, Chinese, Japanese. I don’t understand the rationale of showing me other Asian languages–I am only interested in Thai right now. Is there such a correlation that if one is interested in one Asian language, one is likely to be interested in another? I don’t think so. Learning one will cost a lot of time, let alone learning another. Actually when a person is interested in learning one language, it is very unlikely that this person will simultaneously learn another. Who has that kind of time and energy?

I guess it’s all because of the faulty ad algorithm in YouTube, Twitter etc. Whenever they detect somebody is learning an Asian language, they automatically gather a bunch of Asian language ad to display, regardless of this person’s preferences.


I don’t have problems with my grammar. Please Grammarly, stop your relentless ad bombardment of my desktop. As if Grammarly understands that I dislike it, it says something like–“This sentence is grammatically correct, but it is awkward.” Now Grammarly, you just make me dislike you even more because you point out my weakness as a non-native speaker. Haven’t you learned that people hate messengers who bring bad news? Also do you know how much I hate to do everything correctly, only to find out later that the sentence is still not good enough?

I experienced language softwares and none of them was helpful. One software claimed that if I follow it, I can have an American accent in one month. Of course that didn’t happen. Not only my accent didn’t budge, I started to suspect that I’m a very bad learner. It had always given me a sense of pride that although I can’t match any beauty standards, I have a good mind and I am good with languages. Then the software came and debunked my myth, leaving me with an existential crisis.

Somehow my computer has already figured out that there’s a non-native speaker pressing on the keyboard and Grammarly, after getting the info, immediately launches its attack. Apparently the person who crafted the ad message is a well intentioned native speaker, who doesn’t understand that non-native speakers don’t like to receive messages like this–pointing out the obvious weakness people have known for centuries. It is a cliche message and it will only offend people. It’s like telling people you speak broken English to their face, which will only provoke a complaint–why is it called “broken English” but not “imperfect second or third language”?

Book Recommendations

Amazon is sending me book recommendations often and I don’t know how to stop it. I can’t unsubscribe Amazon store news because I really want to learn about new products and new videos, but books are a different story. I have followed book suggestions before, but only to realize that my taste in books is very specific. A popular author, a beautiful cover, a Classic–these are all good reasons, but not good enough.

And I can’t even describe what my taste is. Usually I will figure out if I like a book or not half way through the chapters. And the half way is usually a dangerous point–often I abandon a book half way. Before the half way point, I am still exploring and unsure. After that, I’ve made up my mind.

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10 thoughts on “Targeted

  1. I loved reading it. Artificial intelligence has made our lives miserable by popping ads anywhere we go in the social media. If I search something on google, I’ll get ads for that thing in Facebook, Instagram etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some people, especially in the polyglot community, do try to pick up different languages. Plus, if you learn one language, it’s pretty easy to pick up another if they are in the same region or family. I picked up a lot of Korean since a lot of the words came from Chinese, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ad can be so annoying. Sometimes the ad music can sing in my mind no matter how hard I want it to stop. It’s very strange. I don’t even like the ad or the music. How odd.


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