Onde anda su? picked up on some of my recent commentaries and wrote a small post on them. I will assume it is in Portuguese, though my Spanish is so bad that it might as well be in Spanish… I can read it only because I speak French and latin languages are all fairly similar.

The interesting matter here is that I chose to write in English. There are people who choose to have a bilingual blog. People like Seb and I write in English. Yet, all these people live in French.

Is English the blog language? The answer, of course, is that you can write in whatever language you want. Nobody will care. Except that I doubt many people would read me in Brezil if I wrote in French. I’d have a slightly larger readership in Québec and in France, but I would lose out everywhere else.

It is not always the case that English is the best language on the Internet. For example, in my posting boards, I have some very active French posting boards. Because I setup these posting boards with the motivation that all these questions addressed to me could find a better home on a posting board, and because many of these questions where in French, it made sense to have French posting boards. These days, I write all my scientific papers in English. I’ve even heard that among UQAM faculty memebrs, it was frowned upon to write your papers in French. The pattern is somewhat clear: the higher level your work, the more beneficial it is to have in English. One should be careful though: my French home page has as many hits as my English home page. I also suspect that for e-Learning to fullfill its promise, we will need to accomodate a very wide range of cultures and languages.

So, why am I blogging in English? I guess maybe Seb would have the same intuition on this one: because blogging is part of my scientific research and that’s squarely in English, for convience.

2 Comments

  1. It is very interesting your evaluation about post languages. I write in Portuguese because is my language and in Portuguese I can explain all I want. I can read English, Spanish, French, Italian, and can write a few things in all this languages.
    I think we must promote our own language, especially in research.
    I’m ending the master degree, writing about weblogs and education and maybe I can study better english now, to share my thoughts with more people.
    a hug from Brazil,
    Suzana

    Comment by Suzana — 19/6/2004 @ 12:24

  2. Thanks for the post!

    Comment by Daniel Lemire — 21/6/2004 @ 9:28

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