Blogging in a foreign language

I had wanted to write this post as part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative, but due to real life, I couldn’t. I figured now that it’s NaBloPoMo and I need every topic I can find to fill this blog with relatively reasonable blog posts, I can still write about this “issue”. ;)

When I started blogging, I had several reasons for doing so. For one, I like gaming and I wanted to talk about it with people who share my hobby – other than bookahnerk, of course. But I did not want to limit my correspondence to German-speaking people. I don’t mind them, of course. I am one of them, after all. ;) But I speak and write German every day, so it wouldn’t be anything special, let alone a challenge. I also felt that with all the studying I had done for my university degree (I studied psychology), my English reading comprehension was really good, but my production of the English language had gotten rather bad. Reading scientific papers, textbooks, etc. that were mostly in English was great, but I had noticed that forming my own sentences had become harder. So my goal was to be able to communicate with a lot of different people from all over the world who love gaming and practice English at the same time.

I think the worry that my English could be too bad was there, in the back of my mind, but since I started this project to get better in English again, it wasn’t a major concern. And if you, dear newbie blogger or interested reader, are worrying about this “issue”: You shouldn’t.

I have not had any person be rude to me so far. The worst I’ve seen is people criticising my writing style as “clumsy”, but that was over on Reddit where a post of mine had been linked and not here on this very blog. But even if anybody had been rude to me personally, I guess it shouldn’t be my concern either. Writing in a foreign language is hard. Of course, it is. And reasonable people know and understand that!

GW2_GromffMy conclusion so far is that it enriches your life to be fluent in a second language (it doesn’t have to be English, of course), as it enables you to speak to people who come from a different cultural background. Learning about other people’s cultures is always great if you ask me. And I personally just love hearing how people spend their lives in different parts of the world. On top of that, the goal of speaking – or writing in – a foreign language is to be able to communicate with others and not to show how smart you are. ;) So as long as you can get your point across and other people can understand you, you’re doing just fine! And with practice, you will get better anyway. And believe me, writing in a foreign language will be very easy one day. Just give it time. But don’t shy away from even starting your own blog, because you worry your English might be too bad.

9 thoughts on “Blogging in a foreign language

  1. I completely agree. English isn’t my native language either (it is portuguese in case anyone is curious) but back in the days I felt confident enough on my reading skills due to all the tabletop RPG books and sites I read. But not so much with writing and listening/speaking it (still bad on the second one). So every time I had to send an e-mail to someone in english I would finish it with “Sorry for my bad english. It is not my native language”. Even though it was fine. MMOs helped me grow confident in my english writing skills though and nowdays I don’t apologize for it anymore.

    My reason for making my blog in english though was just because most of my friends, that I made through MMOs, are native english speakers and those who are not can read in english. So it all works out.

    I also agree that learning a language and dealing with people that speak that other language is an excellent way for personal growth. We learn a lot about other’s cultures and more importantly, that no matter where they live, people are basically the same everywhere. There is no better remedy against xenophobia and prejudice than that. :)

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    1. I’ve done that as well in the past, saying I’m sorry for my bad English.

      Some of my friends don’t know English well enough to read my blog, but I’m not sure they’d really be interested in reading a gaming-related blog anyway. Or, well, they would be but they’re interested in other games. Either way, I’m not excluding anyone, thankfully. ^^

      I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. :) So many things “are the way they are” until you realize that it’s completely different in other countries and other cultures. Then you start to realize that things are the way they are only because you are used to them being that way and not because it’s impossible to change them.

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  2. I follow a few blogs obviously written in English as a second language and take my hats off to them all. Writing in your native is hard enough (I am native) and to do so in a second (3rd of 4th for some I am sure!) is just AWESOME!

    The ideas and thoughts, the sharing of experience(s) is what blogging is about not English Grammatical Structure – get enough of that at work…here is play :)

    Learning another language (and its attached culture) was the most mind bendingingly amazing thing I ever did, far more important a step than any of my education before that…(I am not fluent in Danish after living there for 10 years but get by better than most…) it also led on to me moving further afield and exploring newer pastures in South America (my horrible Spanish is hated by my Argentinian wife!)

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    1. So English, Danish and Spanish? Not bad at all. :)

      My third language is Latin which helps me… well, understand written Italian a tiny little bit, but that’s it. ;) I had French for 3 years, then gave up. Spanish for 1 and then it collided with my Latin class which was mandatory (as I had quit French). But I’m really only fluent in German and English. Still, I did learn about other cultures and I’m still learning every day with all the people from all over the world. That’s another great thing about online games: The amount of people you meet who have such different backgrounds! :)

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  3. Well done. Your English is fine. English is my first language but I live in Georgia (former Soviet Union) and teach in a French School. I thought my French was pretty fluent but when it comes to writing I struggle. The receptive skills (Reading and Listening) are fine but the productive skills (Speaking and Writing) leave something to be desired. I’m impressed by how many non-native English speakers, like you, communicate so effectively in English.
    I also like the self discipline involved in blogging each day.

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    1. Thank you! :)

      I’ve never become friends with the French language and gave up after 3 years. A second foreign language was required at school, so I decided to keep Latin and quit French. Best decision ever. ;) I could read French just fine and with some (okay, a lot) thinking, I could write. But speaking and listening were simply not possible. It took me far too long to work out the grammar to speak properly and the French language is often spoken too fast for my brain to translate it. Latin, on the other hand, was fine.

      I liked the self discipline as well, but I’m glad it was just a one month challenge. I’ll now go back to blogging less often, but probably still more often than I did before. It was a nice way to stop the self-censoring as some posts where I didn’t think it would be that interesting actually got several comments and responses. So obviously, the topics were interesting enough, after all. :)

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  4. You’re doing great with your English. It’s great to blog in a foreign language. This year I’ve started doing it in several different languages for the practice. Since I’ve lived in several different countries, it helps keep my languages up. In fact, I would encourage others to write in a foreign language too. That’s why my website welcomes guest posts, so others can practice writing blogs in foreign languages as well.

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