“English isn’t my first language” is not a serious excuse!
To all of you fanfic authors, bloggers, artist, to write/make something and then post it means that you are satisfied with the product. Now, to have created a piece that is fully/mostly constructed of text and to not have made the effort to at least get a grammar check is called arrogance. “I don’t care what you think, I wrote it, you read it. Who cares if you’re struggling to get a past every sentence. That’s your own problem!” You’re basically setting yourself up for negative feedback and criticism which, while many don’t bother to give, I would provide without hesitation.
Some say “I don’t need approval.”(which I sincerely don’t believe). Well, then, why are you posting this? Isn’t the whole point sharing something you can enjoy with people?
And then you start getting defensive and angry about it. “Well, English isn’t my first language!” I don’t care! Nobody does! Plus, if you post something online you should anticipate criticism. Great artists, celebrities, and basically everyone, face criticism on a daily basis EVEN WHEN the final product is marvelous.
So, what makes you different?
“English isn’t my first language” is not a serious excuse!
To all of you fanfic authors, bloggers, artist[s:] to write/make something and then post it means that you are satisfied with the product. Now, to have created a piece that is fully/mostly constructed of text and to not have made the effort to at least get a grammar check is called arrogance. [Replacing “to have” and “to not have” with “having” and “not having” would make this much easier to read.] “I don’t care what you think, I wrote it, you read it. Who cares if you’re struggling to get [remove superfluous “a”] past every sentence. That’s your own problem!” You’re basically setting yourself up for negative feedback and criticism[,] which, while many don’t bother to give, [That’s one hell of an awkward construction; consider “while many don’t bother with it” instead.] I would provide without hesitation. [In fact, the best solution would be to put the subclause starting with “which” at the end of the sentence. Otherwise it’s just clunky.][space]Some say[:] “I don’t need approval.”[space]([W]hich I sincerely don’t believe.)[remove incorrectly placed full stop] Well, then, why are you posting this? Isn’t the whole point sharing something you can enjoy with people?[space]And then you start getting defensive and angry about it. “Well, English isn’t my first language!” I don’t care! Nobody does! Plus, if you post something online you should anticipate criticism. Great artists, celebrities, and basically everyone[remove superfluous comma] face criticism on a daily basis EVEN WHEN the final product is marvelous.
Oh man, that’s already a magnificent takedown, but this clown just made me really mad.
English is fucking hard. Your spelling is arbitrary, your tenses don’t make sense, and what the fuck is going on with your prepositions anyway? But you still expect everyone to be perfect at it because it’s a ~global language~ or whatever. Spoiler alert, that’s stupid, you’re just entitled.
When I started out writing in English, I was shit. I can exactly map my skill level from the first time I published on FF.net to when I went to live in England to study writing for three years. Every writer sucks when they start. That’s just a fact. But non-native speakers writing in English are doing the whole thing with both hands tied behind their back, they’re struggling to come up with a way to say what they mean in a language they don’t know that well yet, they’ve got seven different dictionaries open in their browser. They’re frantically checking that they’re using the right names because they read Harry Potter in their own language when they were little and even though they’ve read the original now they’re still calling Rita Skeeter ‘Kimmkorn’ in their head. It’s a goshdarn STRUGGLE.
There’s that horrifying bit just after you start writing in another language where the words don’t work in your own anymore but your English skills haven’t really caught up yet and nothing you’re getting out on the page can do justice to what it felt like in your head. It’s a terrible, awful feeling that you’re not good enough at this and you can’t switch back somehow and you’re stuck in the middle producing stuff that you hate because it’s not right. It’s discouraging as fuck, but so many people stick with writing anyway, because they (we) can’t help it! There’s too many stories to tell, even if right now it feels like they’re kind of shit.
So who the fuck are you to go around preaching your elitist, prescriptivist bullshit at people who are pouring blood, sweat, and tears into their work and getting nothing in return except maybe the hope that someone somewhere gets a little bit of joy out of it?
When I started out, I put disclaimers on my fanfic that English wasn’t my first language, and people were super nice. They told me I was doing a good job, made suggestions on how I could improve, and corrected my idioms without being dicks about it. Because of that, I was brave enough to go to a different country to write and get a degree and keep writing stories for people to maybe enjoy on their lunch break, for free. Do you think your attitude encourages people to keep going and get better?
These people are putting hours of their work on the Internet, for free, literally asking for nothing, hoping that someone maybe has a good time reading it. Nobody is forcing you to read it, but Jeez, shut the fuck up about other people’s ability to write in a second language when you clearly barely have command of your first.
English is really hard. And you know what? I have seen the whole “but English might not be their first language” argument used so many times – but almost never when the writer wasn’t a native speaker of English.
Non-native speakers work really hard, and they don’t always get the weird crazy stuff right, but their writing makes any sense at all. Even if they’re really struggling with the crazy stuff, I can nearly always understand them with very little effort, because whatever rules they’re following, there are rules. Furthermore, the kinds of mistakes they do make are mistakes native speakers almost never make – they’re in the rules that we’re never even conscious of, like the ordering rule for adjectives, which I don’t know but can’t possibly get wrong. And that means that when I read English written by a non-native speaker, I usually don’t even think of it as looking incorrect; I just hear it as translated-sounding.
So, for instance, a Chinese speaker might write (I’ll get this wrong, sorry, I recognize the idiom but can’t reproduce it) “I am having a problem with my computer, the related software can not work.” And I know that “the related” is a translation for the possessive-modifier syllable, which we don’t have, and that “can not work” almost certainly means “sometimes fails to work” rather than “does not ever work”, and it sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
A native speaker might come up with something like “I have software on a computer, and it doesn’t work”, and I genuinely have no idea whether they mean that the software or the computer doesn’t work.
And if I complain about the latter, someone will tell me that English might not be their first language. But so far, every time I’ve been able to find out, it’s turned out that English was their first language, they just weren’t awesome at communicating.
… and note, that is not a moral failing. Communication is hard. Even really experienced writers have trouble with it sometimes. Just be willing to clarify if people are confused, and answer questions, and you should find people really accommodating. We’ve all been there.
I know several languages, but I can’t even imagine trying to write in anything but English. I’m amazed that there even are people trying to write in anything other than their native language.