Why it is important to write in your mother-tongue

For a very long time, I felt more at ease writing in a foreign language (English or French) than in my mother-tongue (German). This was probably the consequence of my aversion against the town in which I spent my youth. The older I got the more alienated I felt there. I had no one to talk about my passions and the only person who understood my feelings and who always had at least an open ear for my interests hated this town just as much as I did. So our aim has always been the escape from this ugly, boring and philistine town. While my friend has escaped into the cranky and versatile world of fashion, I’ve found a shelter in foreign languages and cultures. After a school exchange of 2 months which I had spent in a village of Brittany, France, I transformed my room into – as my mother puts it – a „little France“. People entering my room saw at first my Breton and my French flag as well as my bookshelf filled with French classics. I’ve been so passionate about the culture and language of France that I knew it better than my own country. I watched the French news, read French classics, listened to French music etc.  The French language became my refuge – and obsession. As long as I couldn’t leave my hometown, I wanted to flee at least mentally from it. The abandon of my hometown lead to a temporary abandon of my home country and consequently from my mother-tongue. I had to wait until my academic year in France to learn more about my own cultural background and to start appreciating my own language and culture. It’s funny how often we build identities in opposition to something. Living in France made me realise for the very first time that we’re all „culturally stamped“ even if we have never followed or had any particular traditions. In addition to that, I’ve also realised that, no matter how good you speak a foreign language, you will never be able to express yourself so freely and fluently as you do in your first language. This insight has turned me into an ardent supporter of artificial languages as universal scientific languages 🙂 But that’s another story I’ll come back to in another post (perhaps). However, it was during my stay in France that I’ve started drawing more attention to the things happening in my country. This new interest plus the great support of my friends who taught me to act myself in order to make a difference instead of waiting for somebody to do this in my place have finally ended in the creation of this blog. Although I don’t write exclusively about asexuality, raising awareness of it in the German-speaking world represents the main object of my blog. As the „asexual movement“ originally comes from the United States, most of the information and discussions as well as the scientific research about asexuality is anglophone. For the beginning of a debate or occupation with such an issue, the English language turns out to be perfect as it is the current lingua franca of the world understood and spoken by a large group of people around the globe. Nevertheless, 13 years after the foundation of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, it is time that we recall the fact that not everyone speaks English and that we have to make these informations accessible for everyone if we want to help/support all asexuals in this world. I can’t be furious or disappointed about the rare and bad coverage of asexuality in the German media as well as the weak exchange between asexuals outside of chatrooms in Germany if I don’t do anything myself in order to change this situation. I’ll still continue writing in other languages because I’m convinced that thinking internationally and broaden the communication field is important to fight effectively against discrimination. Different languages=different cultures=different perspectives. I’ve questioned and „extended“ so many of my own attitudes and opinions thanks to those many great articles I had found in the linkdump of the Asexual Agenda for example. We need an international dialogue/discussion, but this has to be preceded by a national dialogue/discussion. Start small, get big!

Long story short: Writing in your mother tongue helps you to express yourself in the easiest and most eloquent way – and you cover a very important target group: Your fellow countrymen 😉

PS: I hope that I haven’t done too much injustice to the English language. It’s been a while since I’ve written my last text in the language of Shakespeare…

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6 Antworten zu Why it is important to write in your mother-tongue

  1. Ace in Translation schreibt:

    Love this post! This is exactly the reason I started my blog. I wanted to write in Dutch and create more discussions and community in my own language. At the moment, it’s me and the crickets making noise. But you’re having success getting a German blogosphere on the rails, so that’s really bracing to see (and I get to sneak around and read everything you write muhahahahah!)

    Also, nice to meet another francophile. I’ve lived in France for a while and I miss it with every fiber of my being.
    „It’s funny how often we build identities in opposition to something.“ –> that’s exactly my experience with wanting to get away from where I grew up and living abroad as well.

    • tschellufjek schreibt:

      You speak or understand German as well? I’ve tried to understand your blog posts in Dutch because sometimes our words are pretty similar but I can’t say that I was able to understand everything… But at least I have now a good motivation for approaching a bit the language of my neighbour country (my family doesn’t live far away from the German-Dutch border).

      Where have you been in France? I spent one year in Metz and I did several practical trainings and works in Quimper and Brest. I love the variety of this country. There are so many differences between the North and the South, the East and the West that you have the impression to cross borders when travelling from one end to the other.

      Nice to hear that I’m not the only one having felt that way! That’s what I love about the blogosphere: You always find people like you!

      • Ace in Translation schreibt:

        I understand German well enough to read it, but I can’t write or speak it for the life of me. Hoorah for secondary school that only taught me passive language skills, I guess. Improving my German skills is on my to-do list though, so reading German posts on ace stuff is great to get me motivated and to keep my reading skills up to par.

        You’re going to take up Dutch? Much respect for your language skills, though, as well as your confidence to write in – what – four languages? I may be half competent in a few languages, but I don’t have the confidence to write in French or German (the grammar mistakes would make people’s eyes bleed, haha!). So for me it’s reading-only for French and German, and blogging in Dutch and English.

        I love the diversity of France as well! Going on holiday in France never gets boring. I’ve lived in Bordeaux and Paris. I absolutely loved both cities, even though they were very different. I did a language course in Bordeaux (because of the abysmal language skills taught at secondary school… six years of French and I still can’t speak it? tsk. better do something about that!) Even though I’m the worst at distinguishing accents, whenever I hear a Bordelais accent, it sounds like home. I studied in Paris for a semester, and I really want to go back some day.

        • tschellufjek schreibt:

          Learning languages at school is often very far away from being effective…
          Well, I’m already pretty busy to learn Italian and Russian. So, at the moment, I don’t have the time to focus on Dutch. Perhaps in a few years! Your English is way better than mine. I’m more used to writing in French so that I would say that, even if English was my first foreign language at school, I’m more comfortable with French. It is my working language at university, you know.
          Wait for my first article in Spanish. I’m not sure if it will be understandable 🙂 But one really important thing about learning languages is that you have to be able to take a chance. You can only progress if you practice a language. It’s normal to make mistakes! That’s not a shame.

          You’ve lived in Bordeaux? La classe! I’ve been there for one day last year and it was awesome! Such a beautiful and picturesque town.
          I can detect the southern and northern accent, the strongest French accents to my mind. But I would never be able to tell you from which region someone comes due to his accent.

  2. Ich habe immer nur in meiner Muttersprache, also Deutsch, gern Texte geschrieben. Das hier: http://journeeasexualite.tumblr.com/post/48921326557/envie-de-mieux-connaitre-vos-voisins war mehr Spaß bzw. der Wunsch, zu dieser coolen französischen Aktion etwas beizutragen.
    Ich denke, jede Sprachgemeinschaft braucht ihre eigene asexuelle Community. So etwas braucht Zeit, aber jede_r kann dazu beitragen.

    • tschellufjek schreibt:

      Den Artikel habe ich „damals“ gelesen. Ich wusste gar nicht, dass wir die zweitgrößte asexuelle Community haben!

      „Plus de communication et plus d’échanges tant au niveau franco-allemand qu’au niveau international seraient souhaitables parce que il y a plein de choses à découvrir …“

      Da bin ich absolut deiner Meinung! Deshalb habe ich beschlossen, bei Gelegenheit auch immer mal einen Blick nach außen zu werfen und gegebenenfalls Artikel auch in anderen Sprachen zu verfassen.

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