Statement about Languages Used

I do not feel ‘at home’ writing english. I miss that I cannot be subtle when I’d like to be subtle. Writing english for me means that I have to make an even greater effort at begin clear. Constructing clear sentences, constructing simple sentences.

I do not mind writing ‘international english’. I am not ashamed that my english isn’t perfect, or is clearly the english of a Dutchman. The english I use is the english as lingua franca. A communication language. (And just as I can more easily understand the french spoken or written by Africans than the french of Le Monde, so I image my english is easier to understand by non-native english speakers).

I do use english because it will make the stuff I write available to people in my environment. Not all of them read dutch.

I do use english because I will report on my research in english, because it’s the lingua franca of the research community, and not all the people who might (or are) interested in my research do read dutch.

I do admit that I’d rather stick to dutch. I write more easily in dutch. I have the feeling I can be more subtle. I do know better when a sentence is clear and when a sentence is unclear or unnecessarily complex. I can also more easily just ‘type on’ — something I enjoy doing — let the thoughts go from my brain straight into the fingertips so to say. I can also construct complex sentences when that might be necessary, or better.

But then: I also love to mix languages. One thing I do not understand about contemporary literature is why the condition of using multiple languages (meertaligheid) isn’t represented much better in literature. Quite a large part of the population is using multiple languages all the time. Be it because they are amongst people from different countries most of the time (me, on the Jan van Eyck, me with an Irish girlfriend), or because they are born in between two languages (say Dutch and Berber), or prefer speaking a dialect. (Anyway, it would of course limit the possible readership of a book…)

I will use both english and dutch here. I’m using WordPress, so why not use the possibilities. I will tag every post either as ‘en’ — for english — or ‘nl’ — for a post in dutch. I will also tag some posts as ‘de’, for german, and who knows I’ll get to use ‘fr’ for french, or even ‘it’ for italian… Though those categories will only pertain to quotations.

I know I have readers who do not read english. I do know that I also have readers who prefer that I use dutch. Hence I will write in dutch too.

Generally I will use english for all posts concerning my research, for subjects indirectly connected to the research, and for stuff which concern english-written sources anyway.

I will use dutch for more personal stuff, posts on cycling, and for subjects related to the Netherlands and Belgium.

Let’s see how it’ll work out.

blogging,en,writing | April 3, 2006 | 13:32 | Comments Off on Statement about Languages Used |


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