International Writings

April 15, 2019

All of my family members - for the exception of my younger brother - are having a hard time reading me because I choose to write in English. French is my mother tongue. I fully understand Spanish (Castellano) but I’m having a hard time speaking and writing - my vocabulary is extremely limited. I started learning English at 14 in middle-school. I tried learning Mandarin for a year and Italian for another year. I studied Latin for three years. I also try to learn a few words to get by wherever I travel - Macedonian, Romanian, German, Polish, Thaï, Portuguese - but I can only write acceptably in English and French.

Languages have their own soul, they carry the spirit of the people. I love writing in English because it’s an efficient language. Global and inclusive. There is no such thing as grammatical gender in English, which is not the case in Latin-based languages for example.

However, French being my mother tongue I feel limitless practicing it. It’s not that English is less expressive - not all words have an equivalent across different languages but there is always a way to find an equivalent expression - the style is simply different. I find English to be a bit rigid at times, whereas French, despite its many grammatical rules, can get quite fanciful at times - I have Rabelais and Rimbaud in mind for example.

It’s a pity to find multilingual authors are a rare breed. Samuel Beckett wrote both in French and English for example:

“More and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must be torn apart in order to get at the things (or the Nothingness) behind it. Grammar and Style. To me they seem to have become as irrelevant as a Victorian bathing suit or the imperturbability of a true Gentleman. A mask.”

- Why did Samuel Beckett write in French?

This observation is a delight to think about. Internationalization should be a default on the Internet. More and more people speak at least two languages, why can’t we write an online post in two languages at the same time? When I started blogging last year I tried to create an editor where I could switch between English and French. Maybe I could adapt it to suit the needs of the writers on 200WaD.