As 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:
View Larger Map