I’ve seen people wonder: why is this blog in English? You’re Dutch right? Then why use a different language to write over 500 words on a daily basis? Well, for a number of reasons, most of them personal ones, and today I’ll share those reasons with them.
1.) I studied English
Reason no. 1 would be that I devoted 5 years of my life to obtaining a Bachelor’s and Master’s in English. Speaking English is therefore nothing exotic to me that I only do on vacation. On top of that I went on exchange to the United States as a student which only made me more comfortable at speaking English 24/7.
2.) I teach English
In case you didn’t know yet: I’m a teacher, have been one for over 7 years now. All the subjects I teach have been related to English: language, culture and communicative purposes. At my current job, English is the main language for conversations with students and colleagues so my brain is in English mode for 2/3 of the day anyway. In fact I feel weird when I speak Dutch at work.
3.) English has become second nature to me
Let’s clear something up first: I am not bilingual and technically I cannot even claim that English is my second language. I do command English at a high level and I have been thinking in English since I was 15 years old. I write Twitter & Facebook updates in Dutch or English depending on which language is in my head at the time. Usually that’s English though. It helps that I speak and read English so much for my job as well.
4.) I associate my online activities with using English
Everyone has different ways of using language for different contexts they’re in. You don’t speak the same to your parents as you do with your best friend of your colleagues. You simply don’t. If you think of the Internet as a context for language use and what language you use there, than my first instinct language wise is to use English, not Dutch. Way back when the Internet had not yet gone 2.0 and was ruled by nerdy techy guys from Silicon Valley, there weren’t that many Dutch sources. That’s when I was introduced to the Internet and for years all my communication via the web was in English. It simply makes no sense to me to write anything in Dutch unless I’m consciously communicating a message to a Dutch person.
5.) I maintain my English through this blog
If I ever end up in a place where speaking English isn’t a must, I will always have this space to write English and maintain my language skills. Knowing a language is a bit like stretching a muscle to become more flexible. If you don’t stretch that muscle regularly, it will simple become rusty. The same goes for language. The level of English I use at work or in my academic papers is a different one from this blog. I attempt to keep this place friendly and casual, rather than snobbish and uptight.
6.) English allows me to reach a larger audience.
This to me is only a minor reason for using English, but it is true. About half the people reading this place are from The Netherlands. The other half are all from English language countries, but I have people from all over the globe clicking my links. And that I find fun. Why limit yourself to 17 million people if you could have the world?