Thursday, May 19, 2011

The L Question

Writing a blog has a lot of things to do with learning - I am learning a lot about myself, people I am interested in, things and places I am interested in, about writing, creative processes and so much more.

A special adventure I chose is not to write in my native language German but in English. One reason is that the friends I can motivate to read my output at least from time to time are spread all over the world and English is the language everybody can read. The second reason is - I like it. I love the English language and it is something challenging in a positive way to deep dive into it with this blog.
It's a journey and - like you can see from all my mistakes, sometimes weird phonetic spelling bugs (my brain loves to adapt to the Croatian phonetic system of "writing as you speak" and it ruined my spelling) and for sure often unwillingly funny, German style expressions - I am no way near the end.

Since a while I am also reading a lot of English books. Great stuff by amazing writers like Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, Philip Roth, John Updike or Aleksandar Hemon (a second language writer himself) and as you can imagine I learn day by day a LOT about the English language - the American English Language - from this reading experience.

The thing is ... kids in Germany - at least when I went to school  - learn British English. There were some lessons about the differences between British and US Englisch and we also read some American literature, but the basic knowledge, the first steps, the rules of spelling I learned first - British English.

On the other hand I am working for a long time now for US companies and all my English at work is American, the language I listen to at movies, TV shows and music is mostly American English, friends and colleagues are in a majority (but not exclusively because I work with great folks in London) American, my longer stays in English speaking countries in the last couple of years were all in the US and like mentioned I read a lot of American literature. As a result of all these influences I consider my English .... let's say heavily US influenced.

BUT ... it's really amazing how deep things you learned as a kid are sitting in your brain. You could have for example woke me at night to have me spelling traveling and I would have spelled "TRAVELLING".  Just lately I decided to clarify what was confusing me so much about this word, because I had read traveling with one l everywhere, but could swear it is spelled ll. I did some research because it was really bothering me. I use this word so much - especially here - and had to find out what is right.
The answer is - both is correct, BUT travelling is British and traveling is American English.

Ugh - so what to do know. It looks like I have to make a decision about this word and for this blog and my writing in general and so I did. I will go for as pure as possible American English. I corrected my archive tag for the blog from travelling to traveling and if I should be really, really bored one day I might correct in all my old postings (do not see this happen though ...). I am also planning to do more research and to look into the differences between both versions of the English language and see if there is more exclusively British spelling in my writing.

Like I said - it is all about learning and running into even more things that are worth to do research about and learn even more.

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