I speak fluently 4 languages and I have doubted for so long whether was right to use English as the language for my blog posts and my writing in general.
Sometimes I felt that Italian would describe better my feelings or Romnian would bring to light unknown and deep inside hidden thoughts. I have even ended up having 3 blogs in my three languages at the same time. I will tell you that it was exhausting to keep up with all three. It gave me time to think and reflect on what I really wanted to do. But it also made me lose hope and the focus on the main idea which has always been to write.
I started the Romanian blog in response to the racism and discrimination of my people in Europe. I included also my points of view regarding the social injustice that every now and then would appear on the local mainstream media. Finally, I added a section of unlawful agreements made in Europe.
Whereas the Italian one was my narrative expression, where I would tap into creating poetry or expressing strong feelings that needed a voice. Mostly short articles or just paragraphs that were relative to my life or my experiences as a teenager in a foreign country.
English one came naturally, as I was getting to know more about the English culture by living in the UK. It gave me the confidence and made me explore a new world, once again, made of feelings, thoughts and words. The beautiful realisation that I just had now, that I am writing about it, is that writing was a brilliant companion all along my journey.
I choose to write in English
After a long observation of my audience preferences, my stream of thoughts and the quality of my posts, I reached the agreement with myself to use English. I choose English because it is and will always be, at least in my lifetime the only language known worldwide. This is my principal reason, and I have compromised my Italian and Romanian voice for now, with the promise that whenever I will have a great idea, I will translate it and publish it into English, to give it light and public recognition.
As I could notice and to my disappointment, the results are not the best when doing that and, to be honest, the translation doesn’t reach the same state of mind as the original, not even to myself. But it is worth trying, I love to experiment anyway, and it was a lesson. Therefore, in the future, I should respect more my narrative voices and I will keep them separate and independent from one another. Moreover, writing in a second language has its challenges. What it works in our native language most likely doesn’t work in other cultures.
The cultural references in English are very much a mystery until one doesn’t live in an English-speaking country for several years (between 5 to 10 years). What impresses the English reader differs greatly from what we expect. The limits of the English language and the structure are other challenges.
For example, in Italian, I could write a structured long paragraph very detailed and colourful and it would be a sign of my descriptive ability whereas, in English, people will get bored and will overlook it.
In English would work better short sentences where you give a clear picture with very few words and that would be an engaging paragraph. The paragraph must be of a certain length and the last line to not leave alone a word!
Grammar and punctuation
Sometimes is better to use your speaking voice whereas other times you need to stick with the high school standard English. It is a bonus if your speaking voice is following the Standard English and you didn’t catch in your vocabulary a lot of the regionalisms. All of it depends on your reader’s background and topics.
In the case of a topic of great interest, some may overlook the grammar mistakes and they will clap and clap and clap. In a fictional story, people will look for the most researched vocabulary, it is obvious. It is true Tom Kuegler and happened to me as well, to discharge an article because of the language barriers, grammar errors or syntaxis. It is like a tasty cheesecake ruined by falling on the floor.
Inspiration plays a very important role
It may come from the news, from my feelings or my stream of thoughts. The real problem is when it comes from a foreign reality and it doesn’t match perfectly with the Western world. How to use that idea and transform it has to do with the writing skills.
Mine is just an assumption, but I believe that with a lot of practice and reading different types of books or listening documentaries with subtitles or engaging in conversation with English people on different subjects may help to reach a high level of descriptive knowledge.
The multilingual writer path it is very challenging. The choices we make are part of a bigger picture, and compromise is the way to deal with them. I have learnt that clarity and writing go hand in hand. The better I get to know the English culture, the more confident I feel in writing. Vocabulary, grammar and formatting have to be mastered but will take some time so patience is required. The audience dictates our choices and makes us understand which way to go.