ESL–Should It Matter if You Blog?

ESL_–_Language_TravelESL–English as a Second Language.

(Confession time–English is my first language. I am  functional but would not call myself quite fluent in Spanish. Those are the only two languages I know more than a few words in. I was also an English major in college.)

I follow some very fine blogs written in English, where English is not the first language of the blogger.  In a few cases,  I am not sure if the inaccuracies are more in the typo category than a misunderstanding of the idiosyncrasies of what is admittedly a difficult and irrational language to master.  For example, “this is are blog” rather than “this is our blog”.  (I’ve been known to make this type of mistake myself when I am in too big a hurry to send an email.)  Other times it may be the wrong tense of a verb, to let my brothers having their turn on the swing or using a noun instead of an adjective or adverb), she was a beauty woman.  (I have made up these examples because I don’t want to embarrass anyone by using a real example.)

I would never presume to change the topic, point of view, examples used, etc.  However, there are times when the English major in me would like to offer alternatives to the version of the word being used.  I don’t think there is a good way to do this without being hateful, overbearing, or just plain rude/obnoxious.

What do you think about this?  I can certainly continue to enjoy the blog without worrying about the grammar (especially since my own could use a good editor.)  What do you do in similar circumstances?   Do you have suggestions on how to offer assistance if someone seeks it out?  I’d appreciate hearing what you would do under these circumstance.

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18 thoughts on “ESL–Should It Matter if You Blog?”

  1. You make a very good point. I am thinking of one blog in particular that fits that idea to a T. There are others that might benefit from a small bit of editing–the English is almost painful to read.

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  2. The “editor” in me notices those types of things, of course, no matter which language is the blogger’s “first.” However, I kind of like reading ESL posts, since that really is a part of the writer’s “voice.” I would ONLY offer help if asked…just the same as when I meet people face-to-face who may not be native English speakers. I try to put myself in their place and imagine how I would feel, or what type of assistance I would want.

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  3. I totally agree with your point. I can often pick out incorrect English because of the way it “sounds” but in Spanish I have to rely on what I learned in class. I have no good idea of what proper Spanish is supposed to sound like.–I only know what I can recall from memory. I seldom appreciate unsolicited advice–even if I would benefit from it.

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  4. Many bloggers are ESL and it is through blogging they hope to improve their english. Helpful comments I believe would be welcome. Saying that, if your english are terrible, like mine, it would be best to refrain. 🌞🌺

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  5. I think it might still be mean to offer a comment. If I were to comment, it would be in the form of a suggestion. To use my own blog example to let my brothers having their turn on the swing . You might want to rephrase it by saying to let my brothers have their turn on the swing. In English, it sounds right, but in Spanish I know the gerund is not the correct form of the verb to use here, but I wouldn’t know that by just hearing it or seeing it. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I haven’t noticed bad grammar in your posts–so you or your editor or spell check is doing something right. 🙂

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  6. Your posts are delightful just the way they are. Don’t waste your time, when you could be spending it on writing more posts for us to enjoy or having fun with the traveling husband or guiding your girls. 🙂

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  7. Are you talking about my blog. Lol! 😂
    You won’t believe, before publishing everything looks perfect. After publishing I start seeing mistakes and I wonder if WordPress edited my page and let those mistakes on purpose. 😂 So funny!
    I’m totally ESL!😂

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  8. Don’t worry about your blog. You’re doing fine. Funny how in both the blog and (for me) in emails or texts what gets sent is not at all what I thought I had written. The electron gremlins rule.

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  9. I would say that the point of a blog as opposed to other sources of information is that people enjoy the more personal writing style. They don’t expect perfection – but they do expect an engaging read. Therefore the content is more important. That said, if someone is an English learner and are making mistakes that impede anyone’s ability to interpret their message, I’d expect they’d be only too happy to be corrected – but probably better to take a face saving route by emailing them directly about it.

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  10. Very interesting point! How do most people really feel? Is it different according to age? or gender? As a mature, female, ESL teacher, I find most of my students love to be corrected. As a human who sometimes makes mistakes, English and otherwise, I too like to be corrected. The mistake is already the actual embarrassment.

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    1. Very few people commented. Nobody felt it was a good idea to do it publicly. Some proposed to contact that the person privately and offer a suggested correction. Most were in agreement about only dealing with the English language mistakes and not the content.

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  11. I teach ESL students. One of their complaints is that their American friends don’t correct them. Some of my students say they want to be corrected but don’t know what to say or how to ask. I gently throw in the correction so only they can hear or when we are alone. If someone is serious about improving his/her English, it takes only one little correction to see if the person really wants correction.

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    1. I don’t have a one size fits all answer. Even if a person wants to have their English corrected, I am not sure, they would want to be corrected publicly. I guess a private correction suggestion to test the waters, may be one way to find out. As you say, if someone is serious about improving his/her English, one correction should indicate how they respond.

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