I've been drafting this post for a few weeks now, and thinking about it for a lot longer. It would have been the first time I had posted in English - except that last week I did a post for listeners to the Daily Source Code who heard my promo.
If it's not the first time I've posted on this blog in English, it may indeed be the last. But maybe it's time I started another blog?
Here's a link to today's podcast:
. As usual, it's in Irish, and today it discusses the same ideas I have here in print. Today's notes are in English in order to facilitate a wider audience, whose views on the subject are of interest to me. This is not a translation - I may express myself differently in the podcast, maybe that's a good thing?
Actually - I feel that it is. Blogging has taught me to appreciate different points of view. But so does being bilingual. There are many ways of looking at the same thing, even by the same person - and one of the ways a person can do that is to think in another language. I think this must be what TG4 mean by the slogan "súil eile"!
I am one of a lively community of bloggers in the Irish language. I am also part of a wider community of Irish and international bloggers - the vast majority of whom post in English. Many of us straddle more than one culture and language.
I want to contribute to the blogging community of which I am a member - particularly the Irish blogging community, and I am subscribed to a large number of them.
I try to comment on matters of interest to me - but sometimes I leave comments which are longer than the original post. I often think it would be better to respond in these cases with a post on my own blog instead - but in this case my blog is written in a language which is not understood by the person to whom I am responding.
When I started blogging, I chose to blog in Irish because:
- It is my preferred language
- I wanted to encourage others to do the same and so provide me with gael-blogs to read :-)
- I didn't think I had anything to add to the discussions taking place on English language blogs.
Reasons 1 and 2 have not changed - but 3 has. Back then, I thought that there were so many people blogging in English, that anything I might say would probably have been said already, and better, by somebody else.
In fact, point 3 was based on the fundamental misunderstanding of a blogging newbie. I thought that blogs were like traditional publishing - where all these opiniated people proclaimed their well-polished ideas from a soap-box, like opinion columnists, commentators or politicians. I didn't realise that blogging is conversation, ongoing conversation. I didn't notice how blogging is like "thinking out loud". I didn't see the common threads or the progression of debate in this apparent sea of "everyone talking at once". I thought that each blog post had to be a finished coherent masterpeice, instead of just another piece in the puzzle which will never be completed.
I don't believe I have anything earth-shattering to contribute to blogging in English. But I understand now that's not the point. The point is that I can join in if I want to. My unformed ideas are no less valid than what many others are publishing. But they may have a grain of truth which someone else could use, and by exposing my thoughts to comment, I can develop them further.
So I'm giving up blogging (and podcasting) in Irish then? Not a chance! Irish is important to me as a medium of communication, but I am interested in a variety of subjects. I blog about these things as Gaeilge, but they can be of a specialist and often technical nature. While they are interesting to me, that does not mean they resonate with large sections of the community, and the community who read blogs in Irish is very small. Conversely, what I post in Irish is often inaccessible to the people who have inspired
that post and so, what could be a continuing conversation becomes a dead end.
English is the Latin of this age - the international language, and I am very fortunate to have it. I have learned so much from blogs written in English and I want to make my own small contribution to these international conversations.
There are a variety of solutions to this. An Spailpín Fánach
posts in either one language or the other, and puts them on the same blog. Tim Quinlan
recently started a separate blog
for his Irish blogging. Emmanuel
translates everything. Loic le Meur's English language blog
is widely read, but he also blogs and podcasts en Francais
What do you think?
Also in today's podcast:
- Interesting view from the letters page of the Belfast Newsletter.
- Birth of a Podcast: Spudshow by Brendan Bolger. Here's his blog!
- Google's Winter Olympics logo, with a subliminal Valentine card!
- The Irish Blog Awards! Voting closes on Friday 17th February. Regardless of whether I make the shortlist or not I plan to attend and podcast. (Buswell's, Dublin, 11th March.) Interested in hearing from anyone who'd like to take part in those podcasts.
- Podsafe Music: Shine by Kevin Reeves.
, bloggingCeol Aitheantais: Sunshine with the Shade le The Reverse Engineers