These frustrations indeed reminded me very closely of the pains I once felt while trying to learn French, on top of the Spanish that I’d already been learning for about 10 years. Sure, many of the grammatical rules and words were almost exactly the same between the two languages (e.g. cognates) just as many of the keys on a Mac & PC keyboard are identical. But the subtle and drastic differences took me a very long time to get straight, to the point I did not confuse them. Below are some specific analogies between switching between a Mac & PC and being bilingual:
- Creative type users (Mac) : Business/finance types (PC) → Different “regions” in which the languages are spoken.
- 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 keyboards depending on your machine’s model & year → Regional dialects & 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.
Also, in case you were interested in which keyboard shortcuts differences were most annoying to me, here they are: