One of the gadgets my grandfather gave me last month is a little digital video camera. I don't see myself using it a lot, but I know I'll use it more if I know how to use it, so today, as a reward for tackling the other things on my to-do list, I decided to pull it out and play around with it.
Now, I know my grandfather used this thing, and I know he knows a few words in a few non-English languages, but when I turned it on, the default language was set to something I'm pretty sure he doesn't speak: Hindi. Had it been anything using the Latin alphabet, I'd've been able to get into the settings and fix it without having to read the manual, because I know enough of the roots for basic words in those languages to navigate the camera's menu. Hindi, though... that added a level of complication that I couldn't manage on my own. Luckily, my grandfather saves documentation for everything he buys, so not only did I have the original manual, I had two photocopies of it, along with his notes about when he formatted the various SD cards and charged the battery, and how to hook the camera up to his television set. A quick flip through the manual pointed me to the appropriate icons to get to the language menu, and now the camera speaks English again.
I think of it as a sign of the times that, in the language menu, only four of the options use the Latin alphabet. There's English, Spanish, French, and Portugese, and then Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hindi. I wonder if our grade school foreign language offerings are going to change the way the menus in our gadgets have.