Why not (to) blog in my native language?


The idea that I should (at least occasionally) blog in my native language has crossed my mind quite a few times. I'm a patriot and I believe Czech language is beautiful. However, I've never had the courage to try. There are several reasons for this:

First, haven't written anything longer than a few lines since grammar school. My final exam essay had to be at least four A4 pages long - written on the spot, from the top of my head; something today's students can't even imagine - and honestly, neither can I anymore. All I produce in Czech nowadays is e-mails, messages, various applications and forms. The longest piece of text I've written in the past two years was my MA thesis summary. It was a tremendous challenge and it took me longer than a whole chapter of my paper. As I haven't had enough practice, I'm not very confident in Czech grammar. Czech is an inflectional language with complex and complicated rules which drive every school child crazy (nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numbers are declined, seven cases over a number of declension models, and verbs are conjugated..., you name it).

Second, I honestly don't know what I would write about in Czech; even if my grammar was perfect, I can't think of a topic that I could elaborate on in my native language. This has probably something to do with the fact that I mostly want to write about ELT-related stuff. I want to share my everyday experiences from the classroom - that is the L2 classroom. Moreover, I can't write about ELT-related stuff in Czech because all my training has always been conducted in English, so I simply don't know the terminology. As a result, as odd as it may seem, a normal sounding English sentence about teaching English sounds totally inappropriate in my mother tongue. The same happens if I want to translate something I learned in my psychology course, for example, into English - it seems so unnatural and even trivial.

Third, 99.9% of all the stuff I read about ELT is in English. As I often get inspired by other people's blogs, it would be difficult for me to suddenly switch from English into Czech. When I think about it, I permanently live in an L2 environment (at least the virtual environment). I think and dream in English. Not that I think it's not possible to write great stuff about ELT in Czech; I remember a wonderful ELT-related post in Czech I read a couple of months ago which made me laugh out loud all along the line and I thought: this is it!

The next point is connected with the previous one; my PLN mainly consists of EFL/ESL teachers or English-speaking educators who don't speak Czech. There are a couple of Czech teachers I follow on Twitter and Facebook, but that's just a drop in the ocean. As blogging is about interaction and reading each other's posts, I suppose I would end up writing for myself. But also; those Czechs who are interested in ELT stuff can speak English anyway. Yes, there are loads of universal edu-topics to write about, but I don't think that anyone but an EFL teacher would want to read a Czech post about teaching phrasal verbs or functional language, for example. Then, what's the point in blogging in Czech?

The truth is that the fact that I'm a non-native speaker of English my mother tongue is Czech is a perfect excuse if something goes wrong. I'm not a sloppy writer and I hate making mistakes but I subconsciously hope that a wrong collocation or an inappropriate word will be generously overlooked by native speakers more proficient speakers of English and careful readers.

Finally, and this will sound like a paradox, blogging in English helps me stay less exposed than if I blogged in Czech. This has nothing to do with the number of hits, though. Ironically, using English as the means of virtual communication helps me feel more secure or less vulnerable. This may be due to the fact that, as some argue, you can only express your real, deep emotions through your mother tongue. So I may well be hiding behind the L2 (even though I try to be completely honest and sincere on my blog).

When I look back at all the reasons why not to blog in my native language, I realize that I've just prepared a kind of challenge for myself. At first sight my post looks like an excuse why not to try but in effect, the opposite is true; all the above actually gently pushes me to have a go. We'll see what the future holds for me. Keep your fingers crossed for me.