#665 Writing – S1 E11 – Writing in a FOREIGN language

For 665 continuous days, I am writing this blog in the English language. Sure, some people might have already noticed, but I am not a native English speaker after all, I am German. With English being the “world language”, of course I should have learned the basics of that language years ago and in fact, they have tried. If I remember correctly, I had my first English lessons somewhere around the third grade already. Well, lots of time to actually learn the langue, don’t you think? Nearly twenty years have passed since then. But the way the English language is getting taught at school is just not very effective, at least for people like me. And so, I struggled up through the ranks until the very moment, when I have decided to learn the language on my own. It was six years ago and since then, my English skills went through the roof. Well good for me, you will think, but get to the point or I am out of here.

Right, the thing is, I have used a different approach to learning the language. I have not studied grammar rules, learned vocabularies and all the topical methods people do. No, instead, I have learned the langue the natural way. I have tried to learn the language in the very same way I have learned German as a child, naturally.

Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

And with that said, todays topic will be quite interesting. The thing is, that I have developed a feeling for the language. The way I write, the way I talk, that’s something that has developed itself over time. And so, I write this blog not in the way I would have done in the past. By translating my German thoughts into English, but by thinking in English in the first place. For me, there is no need to translate. I just write in English. Sure, I might not be the only one out there that is doing that, but in my case it is a bit special. Why? Because I have a writing disability.

You give me a piece of paper and a pen and I will write a lot of words wrong. Sure, with modern 21st century technology that’s not a problem, but without, it is. For example at school!!! And so, you can imagine, languages at school were a no go for me. Sure, there are certain tests you can make and after passing them you can get more time, or the writing mistakes doesn’t count, or stuff like that. But that is just not the way I was raised. I was never doing such a test and there were absolutely no benefits for me. I went just through life with this little handicap of mine. And look, I have done it somehow!

But why is this supposed to be so interesting? It’s interesting, because I build a sentence in my head, in English of course and while trying to write it, I realize that I do not even know the words that I am using. Sounds confusing at first, but actually it stays like that! In order to write a word properly, we need to know a word. But my mind/ subconscious mind has picked up words, that I am not even familiar with. And that’s the strangest feeling. It feels as if I have connected myself to an external memory, a library of some sort.

The art of writing is always the same. It doesn’t matter in which language you are writing. The way of writing may differentiate, but never the technique. Each language has thousands of dialects, locally induced styles and ways how to express oneself. But nevertheless, the more often we do something, the better we become. And so, writing in a foreign language is actually not that big of a deal after all. Sure, you will struggle with expressing yourself and sure, it will be harder than just using your native language. But at the end of the day, it will push your language level beyond the limitations you are currently having set somewhere in your mind.

But writing in a foreign language gives you so much more than just the a typical benefits. It’s a really good training, that, especially if you are doing it daily, will change the way you are thinking about languages. Therefore, maybe, it’s something for you as well.

See you next time!

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