I recently joined a Yahoo group for German-language children’s activities. I’ve been in Yahoo groups for Russian-language activities, but I am overwhelmed by the difference between the two nationalities.
On the Russian boards, the Russians almost always write in English. Sure, some of it is due to the fact that not everyone has a font that supports Cyrillic, but it is possible to transpose Cyrillic to Latin, even if it looks odd. It doesn’t really matter, because the Russians hardly ever post anything at all, ever. And when they do, it’s terse and limited, like “Sergei plays Rachmaninov at JCC tomorrow. Call Sergei to buy ticket.” If I want to know what’s going on in the Russian community, I do better eavesdropping on the chess players at the Russian delicatessen and reading the scribbles on their bulletin board.
The German group is supposedly just for getting German-speaking children together, but the Germans who are on it are unbelievably chatty. It’s never spammy–everything that’s posted is clearly from German speakers who have children in the Bay Area. But, hey, if there’s a reason to give a shout out to the crowd, the Germans will do so. A mother-to-be needs belly bands: anyone got some? Manu is moving back to Germany and selling the stuff he can’t take home at a flea market next weekend: stop by! The German school in Mountain View needs a part-time German-speaking preschool teacher: call Uli if you know anyone who’s interested. And yes, every word of it is in German, even if it requires writing German sounds out, i.e. “ö as “oe.”
You’d think that both groups, living in the Bay Area, would be more homogeneous, but they’re very much not so. And when it comes to great communication skills, the Germans have the Russians beat, hands down.