“MS Excel on a Mac is the bane of my existence.”
This is what I tweeted a few years ago while I was painfully getting used to my first Mac.
And it wasn’t just Excel. Indeed, as a long-time Windows veteran exploring my new Mac, I had found myself constantly looking for all kinds of directories that didn’t exist, or punching in keyboard shortcuts that had totally unintended consequences.
It was as if the Mac and I just fundamentally did not understand each other, no matter how “user-friendly” everyone told me that the Mac should be. I seemed to have an unshakable PC “accent” when trying to speak Mac.
Your OS, Your Language
Here are some specific analogies between switching between a Mac and PC and being bilingual:
- Creative type users (Mac) : Business/finance types (PC) → Different “regions” in which the languages are spoken have different industries and cultures.
- Finder (Mac) : Explorer (PC) → Similar grammatical architectures for navigating the two languages, but with many nuances.
- Cmd or Ctrl (Mac) : Ctrl only (PC) → Verb roots that may feel the same but are paired with a different helping verb or conjugation.
- Some completely different keyboard shortctuts → Huge differences between languages that just require memorization. (See my most frustrating ones below.)
- Keyboard shortcut hacks not necessarily documented anywhere → Slang
- Different keyboard layouts depending on your machine’s model and year → Regional dialects and accents
I’m sure there are plenty more ways that switching between a Mac & PC are like attempting to learn a new language, but that was my initial attempt at illustrating the parallels. Feel free to share your own in the comments below.
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