Monday, 12 April 2010

What's In A Language

If you paid attention, you surely know by now that English is not my native language (for the really slow, Serbian is - or more correctly Serbo-Croatian). So why do I have a blog in English? Can it be that I don't like my native language for some reason? Well, unlike some may think (and those will be difficult to dissuade) I have absolutely no problem with either my native language, or the country (or countries) it comes from. What gives then?

One really important thing, of course, and I can't deny it is that these days (well, almost a decade now) I live my life mostly in English - even if not necessarily in England. Most part of it is due to me living in the United Kingdom, of course. But, even if I didn't, but still worked for any of the companies I have worked for in the past decade, and even most of which I worked with in the same period, I'd have to use English on a daily basis, and certainly for all official internal communication. This is because, for what it's worth, pretty much any multinational company has adopted English as their "official" language, and even for smaller ones, all communication outside their little patch is bound to be in English.

So, on the face of it, English seems to be our destiny (it might have been some other language, but through various twists and turns of history, English seems to have won). Or is it? Well, I actually don't think it necessarily is. Have a look at that very long parenthetic remark above. It might have been some other language, and for all I know it still may be in the future.

In fact, I don't really think it matters what language one expresses themselves in. Any language you're comfortable with is good. And, believe me, I am equally as comfortable with Serbian as I am with English, and probably even more so. I surely make much less grammatical, and a few less stylistic mistakes in Serbian.

But still I write almost all I do in English. Why?

Mostly it is for reasons stated above. I live my daily life in English - at work, and in pretty much all else but the most private familial conversations. Most of what I read is in English as well. Sorry Serbian authors - I've read most of the classics, and I've tried newcomers. Unfortunately (for them) the latter have disappointed - time after time after time. Then, I actually hope (against hope) to reach a really wide audience. Yes, around 10 million Serbian speakers is not to be sniffed at, but do please compare this to the lot that can read English. There is really no comparison.

Oh, I also can see the criticism coming, accusing me of not caring enough for the fatherland (motherland, whatever). To that I can only reply: humankind is my nation. There may be a (good) few people back home who I'd love to see prosper beyond all expectations, but most of all I care about the Man, the Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Whatever I write may be drivel and irrelevant, even stupid, but I do not write it for Serbians, Croatians, English, German, even Welsh! I write it for All, and All (even the most numerous of all - Chinese) currently have only one common language, and that is English - whether we like it or not.

So, I intend to continue writing in whichever language I know and can reach furthest. Right now, it is English. If I manage to learn yours, and it becomes ubiquitous, I'll write in it instead. OK? Now, what are you waiting for - go and fight for it!