How comes? To be honest this took me some thinking, and I am not sure whether I will be happy with this decision, but let me start with the reasons why I started blogging in English.
First, I was also considering my English-speaking friends. I wanted them to be able to read my blog and in that way to participate in my life on another level than just eMailing.
Secondly, I was thinking that I would actually reach more readers than I did when I was writing in German.
And thirdly, I wanted to improve my English skills.
What has made me rethink?
Learning English by blogging in English
Since my first blog entry on May 2008 I have definitely improved my English. I make fewer mistakes, in my Nordakademie exam I scored a 1,3 and writing and thinking in English got more fluent again.
I also realized that I am not bad in English. School always made me think I was, and I was afraid to make any mistakes. But that is bullshit. The prime goal, when talking a language is to be able to understand others and to be understood by them. And I think I manage that pretty well. I am not afraid of speaking English anymore and I take the opportunities to do so.
Could my English improve any further? Of course it could, but not via this blog. There is no feedback, there are no readers that tell me “Hey, work on your style there”, “This is a grammar mistake here”, or “Those are bad expressions, better use …”. What I really need now, is to find people who would like to tandem, or an English learning group, or something like that.
Regarding my audience
Here are some assumptions I make about my audience (actually the term “readience” should be coined for the Web 2.0, shouldn’t it? 😉 ).
My English friends are not reading this blog. I don’t know why, but they aren’t, so I am not really reaching them. Instead there are a lot of German readers. They come from different groups, some I know personally, others come from communities like the Black-Board, the Buha or the Zusammenkunft – all of them are German-speaking communities, and I even lose readers there, as some of them don’t speak English that well (this was especially true for the GTD-Community I used to be active in – pretty bad, as that was one of the reasons I actually started blogging). Even if some of those people who are not as good in English do actually read this blog, they don’t participate in commenting.
Other readers come from the Blogommunity. I read a lot of blogs and every now and then leave a comment, and that brings a lot of readers to my blog. Unfortunately, I mostly read German blogs, so those guest are German-speaking as well
There are hardly any other readers, that find the way to my blog, and that are just English speaker. If I am wrong with this assumption, please say so. I’ve already asked my readers this and there was no response to it.
There are of course exceptions, like the Kernel compiling error I’ve written about, or the pentaho problem. And those entries on Emilie Autumn and Evanescence did find a broader audience as well. But those are exceptions.
Now, while keeping in mind, that all those reasons I started blogging in English in the first place, are not true, lets look at some other aspects of blogging.
I was pretty impressed by Patrick Pricken’s Mission Statement, and thought of some codex for myself. Unfortunately being perfect and excellent is much harder if you try it in a language you didn’t grew up with. But even if I didn’t try to produce quality entries (which I do, otherwise I wouldn’t feel good about them), writing in English still takes much more time, than writing in German. Writing generally takes up much more time (at least for me, as I try to formulate the things in a sophisticated way). I think this is one of the reasons that I have such a huge backlog. Some entries could be written fast, even with the researching background information, that I usually do.
This becomes especially significant, when taking into consideration that I still just have limited time, for most of it is consumed by my studies.
To sum it all up, the reasons for me blogging in English are not valid anymore. Furthermore it’s slowing me down. There are exceptions – these I’ll try to figure out and I am still going to write those in English language. But all my personal chitchat as well as reviews, etc. will for now on be written in German. At least for the next few weeks.