French consider language to be part of the culture. We believe that so much that we are encouraged to learn pidgins at school. I did too. I learned breton. I got top grades, despite that, I can’t make a sentence. Guess what ? I don’t care, I worry about my english…
I grew up in a small town, at the most west limit of France. It’s a beautiful place for people who love nature.
This was pre-internet era in France, actually that was pre PC era as well and the world was very different. If you had interest in anything not mainstream, your options were : find out on your own (if you were very smart ), read magazines (if they existed ), and talk to people. The best way to get knowledge at something was definitly to talk to people. I was a bit shy, it didn’t helped, but anyway, it was really difficult to find someone interested in computers in that period, at that place.
At that time, speaking english was remotly important IF you travelled.
Then Internet changed the world…
The communication of ideas is so much better now. I don’t know how anyone can critize the Internet. Granted, everything has defects, but today you can learn almost anything you want, you can get in contact with almost anyone you want, provided you speak english because all the cool peoples speak english – as Jason/Justin said somewhere in Techzing podcast.
Believing that language is the culture is just silly. A language does not equal culture. Culture is about peoples, books, it’s about science, it’s about the world, or just communication.
If english is your first language, you won’t believe how much your culture can be limited by not speaking english.
Not speaking english today feels as if you had been locked in pre-internet era.
I basically live in english at work. I only read english blogs and articles, I search in english. My coworkers are still french and that’s lucky because despite listening podcasts and reading english everyday, I’m still stuck with my pityful english.
Indeed, I encourage anyone I met to read and search in english if they can, because there is so much more resources, and they are so much better anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I fixed things in seconds for others just by the virtue of searching in english instead of french.
To this day, I’ve read only one book in french that I’ve found of superior quality to english resources on a specific subject. This book was Pratique de C# by Patrick Smackia , and … surprise the new edition of the same book is in english only ! There might be others, but it doesn’t matter anymore because I stopped reading french books now.
I envy you, native speakers. I wish I could reboot myself to speak english first, and french second, because sometimes I feel like I’m a foreigner in this world.