I can’t help but wonder! What language should I use?
What language should I use on my blog? English? Is this really English? Well, I know that I don’t speak any other languages besides English and Arabic, and I know that I am not typing Arabic now, but what kind of language I am using now? Is it really English? Maybe not.
I have been an avid blog reader since the early 2000. There has always been a special charm about blogging that drew me into it; I think maybe the simplicity and openness you usually get from bloggers expressing their thoughts freely? Maybe!
The dot.net bubble
I remember reading an Economist article in year 2000 about a possible ongoing dot.net bubble and what I can remember from that article is that I didn’t understand most of it. If you have ever read The Economist in your college years (or even in your 50s), you might know what I mean; coming from an Engineering background doesn’t help either. I had to try to look somewhere else for information; I turned to Yahoo which was the predominant search engine back then, to find some articles talking about the subject. Oh, they don’t call these articles; they call them “blogs”, what the heck is a blog anyway? As if I needed the extra confusion there!
OK, I read the first what is this so called “blog”, and even I (who speaks a broken English with strong accent and write it with multiple grammar and punctuation errors in every single line), wondered… was it English that I just read? Hmmmm, it was simple and easy to understand! The Economist?! Oh h*ll yea, that’s English, and have no doubt it is written in proper English as well, but the problem is, I really couldn’t understand most of The Economist article or the jargon it used.
A couple of hours and four blogs later, I understood what dot.net was all about, where the danger areas are coming from and what possible scenarios the bubble could develop. Let me go back to “The Economist” now and read it again. Oh, things are much better now and more comprehensible. What happened?!
To me, the issue is simple, many bloggers out there have the knowledge and the desire to help others, they have the logic in their mind, but unfortunately they don’t have the tool that helps them express their thoughts and get it out there for others to read. When a blogger liberates him/herself from the different aspects of bounds and restraints imposed by society and get on the keyboard and write, she dumps her honest and pure thoughts without the distortion that might be caused by those boundaries. That’s what free speech is all about, isn’t?
There is nothing wrong with you wanting to read or write in proper English with sound sentence structure and grammar, but blogs are not usually that way, and if you value a blog from that perspective away from its actual content value, then may be reading blogs is not your thing.
The Bloglish Language
Blogs are usually full of punctuation errors, typos, grammar mistakes, and sometimes even evil spelling mistakes that can turn the whole meaning of the sentence upside down. So, before reading a blog you should have a certain level of tolerance towards that, because after all, what you are actually reading is not English, it is not American-English, British-English or Australian-English, rather Blog-English, or what I call “Bloglish” (by the way don’t try to look-up the word, I just tried in Google and the first match pointed me to a Sharon Stone photo – I’d just leave it there).
In a closing note; to all bloggers out there (that includes you Hesham), I sometimes read comments about grammatical mistakes bloggers do, I won’t pay much attention to it if I were you, just go out there and write, don’t tie yourself down with restrictions – we have enough of those already – just write, English or Bloglish, doesn’t really matter… Just write!
It is your right to choose the language you feel comfortable writing with and it is the reader’s right to choose what to read and what not to read.
And to all blog readers out there: read blogs from a Bloglish perspective, if you are not OK with that, then may be it is best if you go out buy yourself the latest copy of The Economist and knock yourself out with all the proper English you can get. I am not an economist, but I will be waiting for you here in this blog in case you need me to translate an Economist article for you. Yes, I will translate it to Bloglish!