English or Vietnamese?
A reader writes:
I greatly enjoy reading your blog, but alas do not speak Vietnamese. Do you, by any chance, publish a feed that contains only your English-language articles?
I completely understand the inconvenience or annoyance for people to subscribe to my RSS Feed with the content they cannot read. The posts are so intertwined now, I do not know how to separate them. I wish Google does a better job of translating Vietnamese into English, but it is pretty bad right now.
To be honest, I haven’t thought about it when I started to blog in Vietnamese. Almost three decades of living in America and focusing on learning English, I needed to pick up my native language again. My fifth-grade Vietnamese has become worst and I needed to practice. This blog is the perfect space for it. I didn’t know I was going to write that much in Vietnamese, but I had and someone has noticed.
When I incorporated Vietnamese into my blog, I struggled whether I should write in English or Vietnamese every time I wanted to write a blog post. If I write in Vietnamese, I would alienate my English readers. If I write in English, I won’t get any practice. Would the topic I am about to write better to be written in English or Vietnamese?
Vietnamese was a bit tougher to write because I had to figure out all the diacritical marks on my keyboard. In addition, my Vietnamese spelling was horrendous. In the beginning I didn’t care because I didn’t think anyone would pay attention. Thankfully, I had received a handful of emails suggesting that I check my spelling. My wife’s uncle wrote me a long note to tell me that the glaring errors would reflect who I am. As a result, I have to start paying attention. Every word I am unsure, I would consult Google, online dictionaries, or Vietnamese Wiktionary.
Nowadays, writing in Vietnamese is a bit easier. I still look up words, but I am getting better. I am also no longer struggling with which post to write in Vietnamese or English. Like choosing between Photoshop and Illustrator to accomplish a design solution, I know exactly which language is best to communicate my ideas. I write in Vietnamese on topics that are related to my Vietnamese roots such as personal stories of my childhood, Vietnamese music and books, and Vietnamese-related cultures. I can also write about them in English, which I did in the past, but Vietnamese language brings me closer to my root.
My intention is not to alienate English readers, but I am a product of bilingual. This blog is a representation of the two languages I have come to love so dearly and they have become inseparable in my heart and mind.