On the English language · 1:47pm
I like English. I didn't grow up with it as my primary language, but I've grown to prefer it over my native tongue.
That is not to say that I dislike being able to speak two languages with ease; why would I? It's just a preference, albeit one that causes no end of raised eyebrows whenever I mention it. So let me explain:
I often thought that my situation was unique. Looking at others, I only recognized people who saw English as a necessary evil, something they had to learn because it was everywhere, not as a full language to use to its full potential. And potential it has.
After recently reading Suomibrony's "First Pony View", I was a bit taken aback by his linguistic prowess. Turns out that English wasn't native to him either. I was going to post a small comment on that, but me being me, it turned into a full-blown rant. So a blog post it is.
So it happens that I share his sentiments. I do know that my control and skill of English vastly exceeds that of my fellow men in this country, but I still find it lacking. Writing these words is one thing, because I have all the time in the world to come up with proper sentence structures and phrases that don't make me sound like an idiot.
But holding a real-time conversation? That poses a challenge.
Reading helps a lot, especially in this community as it is almost exclusively composed of English text, and because I enjoy it. Interaction with English-speaking communities, websites, playing games and watching movies in that language also teaches a lot of mannerisms and linguistic (and cultural!) tidbits that help one improve.
I also started writing fiction based on an idea I had. Maintaining a good linguistic quality turned out to be a lot of work. I got to around 2500 words before I abandoned it upon realizing that the premise was stupid. Nevertheless, I respect the authors on this site who can come up with thousands of words in a matter of hours.
Tell me, authors of fimfiction: Do you find it as hard as I do?
I find myself using English a lot. This goes so far that I actually tend to prefer it in most cases, because I find it to be a lot more expressive and widespread (allowing me to take in far, far more information than someone who stupidly sticks to his native tongue for no rational reason.) Also, most media and technology was originally English and translations are often wrong, crappy or just painful. Anyone who has watched a dubbed version of the Simpsons will know what I'm talking about. Puns don't work, the cultural background is missing and sentences end up sounding unnatural because they need to be lip-synced. That just won't do ;)
This level of bilingualism is really quite interesting. I often tend to have tip-of-the-tongue moments where I know the word I want in one language, but not the other. Sometimes neither. Turns out that this is a common problem in multilingual people.
So I strive to improve my skills at holding a conversation at a decent pace, but it is proving to be difficult. Sure, I can talk like a normal person. But the written word is just that much more patient and powerful. Then again, I have the same problem in my native language, so maybe I'm just a little slow? :P
Native speakers: Do you have the same problem?
In any case, it was nice to see someone else who was not born with English, yet maintains a high level of linguistic prowess using it.
Thanks for reading. Cheers!