I read an article on Matt Gemmell's blog the other day about how important he believes it is to get one's grammar right when writing. He even linked it with nothing less than your personal reputation being at stake if you don't.

Although I don't disagree with the general notion that one should make an effort to understand and properly use basic grammar if we were to uphold these standards a lot of voices would be shut out on the web.

There are many, many bloggers out there whose first language is not English. English may be their second language but in many cases it is their third or fourth. Nonetheless, chose to use English because it has become the lingua franca, the language of international communication for matters related to computer science in the broadest sense.

Inevitably, they will make mistakes. Truly mastering a foreign language in all its intricate details is incredibly hard and time-consuming. Time that all of us non-native speakers have to invest in our jobs, businesses and families.

Still, we'd like to be heard. We would like those with whom we do not share our first language to be able to hear, or rather - read, what we have to say. Asking all of those non-native writers to first bring their mastery of language up to par with aspiring or published authors the likes of Ann Lauterbach, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Daniel Heller, Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt etc. I think is asking a little too much.

These people are doing us the favor of sharing their knowledge and opinions with us. And very often there is a lot to be learned from them. Maybe not about English grammar but maybe, just maybe, that is not the most important point after all.

© 2013-2014 Henning Hoyer