Language ‘problems’ inside an Ubuntu LUG

belgiumAs you may know, Belgium has 3 native languages: French, German and Dutch.
Lately, people tend to make a big fuzz about this.
Political party’s started creating diversity based on these languages to use this in their own advantage (votes).
The media has added its share to this too.

I personally don’t mind all these easy and low ways of getting attention.
But now the discussion has appeared as a burden inside our Ubuntu-be LUG as well.

We have this policy that you can talk French, Dutch, German and English as you please.
As a (logical) result, most of the communication has been done in English.
By doing so, we can reach most of the users.
If someone sends a mail to the mailing in one of the three other languages, no one bothers.
But the pool of people that understands the message is significantly lower.

In the mailing list this has now been discussed as a problem.
There was a reaction from someone on our mailing list:

1. Het consequente gebruik van het Engels. Dit is België, en hier zijn 3 officiële landstalen: Nederlands, Frans en Duits.
Het gebruik van het Engels is dan ook compleet belachelijk, temeer daar een grote meerderheid niet eens deftig Engels kan schrijven (ja, ik ben een taalpurist).
Ben je niet tweetalig? Of zitten er mensen op de lijst die niet tweetalig zijn?
Begrijpelijk, maar dat brengt me meteen bij punt 2.

2. Ubuntu-be: waarom niet opsplitsen in een Ubuntu-vla en een Ubuntu-wal (bijvoorbeeld).
Zo het sowieso veel makkelijker maken, aangezien Vlaanderen en Wallonië (o.a.) qua bedrijfscultuur totaal verschillend zijn (ik heb in beide landsdelen gewerkt).

Now let me try to translate this to English:

1. The consequent use of English.
This is Belgium, and there are 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German.
The use of English is thus complete ridiculous. Even more because a larger group of people can't even write decent English. (Yes, I'm a language purist)
Aren't you bilingual? Or are there people on the list that are not?
I can understand, but that brings me immediately at point 2.

2. Ubuntu-be: Why not split into Ubuntu-vla and Ubuntu-wal as an example)?
This would facilitate things, as Flanders (vla) and Walons (wal) , to name something, have totally different company/business cultures. (I worked in both parts of the country)

So I started thinking about this and got to the conclusion: “Should we even care?”
For what I’m concerned, things are fine like they are.
That seemed to be the same conclusion as someone else who replied:

Also, considering that we barely have enough volunteers now, how do you
expect us to have enough volunteers if we split up in 4 or more
different groups?

To give one point-of-reference: Jean, who's been coordinating most of
the computer fair booths recently, is French-speaking natively, but
living in Flanders (and he speaks Dutch very well!).  Why would we want
him to limit his work to Flanders, and not Wallonia or Brussels?

He nailed it!
Why are grownups even discussing such a trivial thing?
In Belgium, we all learned English and French, so I can’t see a difficulty in a multilingual community.
Au contraire, this could be a positive point as our work will be more useful to other LUG’s.

But perhaps I’m wrong.
I wonder if there are other LUG’s out there that have the same problem?
Do people in Quebec have issues with this? Do people from the middle-east have issues like this? (they have a lot of dialects)
It would be nice get the opinion or the results from similar problems inside Ubuntu/Linux LUG’s.

If you never have heard of Belgium before, this is it:

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3 thoughts on “Language ‘problems’ inside an Ubuntu LUG”

  1. The Ubuntu LUG isn’t nearly large enough to be split up. If everyone would just talk English it’d be great.

    If anyone has trouble writing English than that’s just too bad. It is much more admirable to try and write in English so that the whole list can understand it, than to admit defeat and write in one of the official languages and cut your audience in half.

    The person who complained about people trying to talk English but typing spelling and grammar errors isn’t worth listening to. It’s easy to claim idealisticly that the LUG should just split up but in reality our numbers just aren’t big enough.

    Or how about this: The Belgian Ubuntu LUG isn’t about language borders, it’s about the regional border of Belgium. If a person has a complaint about the language, he is free to join a language-specific LUG like the French or the Dutch LUG.

    Btw, hey Mimor, what’s up, haven’t seen you around #zeus anymore! *waves*

  2. Hey relix,
    Fun to actually meet you again in this way 😀
    The internet is a small place after all 😉
    The servers from kelder have changed, and I restored my old config ><
    I’ll check to correct this after I had some sleep.

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