WHY DO I WRITE IN ENGLISH?

Galkayo, May 31, 2019 – A number of my readers at Ismail Warsame Blog asks me why I write my articles in English, a 2nd foreign language I had picked up in life, together with Russian and Arabic along with a working tongue of Italian. The issue is made more complicated by the claim of Somali language specialists and anthropologists, both foreign and native like Late Prof. I.M. Lewis (RIP), pictured here with me (2nd from left) and Prof and Somali linguist, B. W. Andrzejewski (RIP), (forgive me for not naming just a few of the well known scholars of Somali literature and history, that it is so poetic, romantic and richer tongue that only few languages of the world could compete it in literature prowess. But, this sticking question from my readers further increases the intensity of my guilty feeling for not utilizing my own native tongue to express myself better. Frankly, I sometimes find myself numb in answering the question, for there is no easy answer to satisfy the questioners as to what is my reasoning behind writing in a foreign language. In fact, the reasons are many and may be still implausible to many of my unconvinced audiences. Among my justifications, include: 1. A writer needs wider audiences and circulation to reach. 2. Hundreds of thousands of people of Somali origin are born overseas, live and work abroad. They don’t use Somali as a working medium. 3. Many existing Somali internet websites don’t use standard, thoughtful texts in Somali and that turned readers off, not reading articles beyond a few lines in the first paragraph. Just the opposite, Somali texts nowadays frighten readers, including myself. Huge and careless Facebook entries, violating all rules of Somali grammar play a leading role in Somali language destructive campaign. 4. That low standard of unschoolled writing, indicating the extent of deterioration happening to the Somali language over the years in a stateless environment makes it difficult to understand today’s authors of Somali articles. 5. That is why most Somalis, who don’t utilize any foreign language, prefer listening to audio/video clips. They also like more to read about events and news rather than browsing for thought-provoking and critical articles. 6. I have been testing my readers by occasionally writing articles in Somali, and the results were very disappointing. 7. My Somali readers are also not taking into account that ismailwarsame.blog have been attracting many foreign readers as well, and I suspect that they don’t want to be cut off. In conclusion, perhaps, some of you may understand me for choosing English as my language of communication out of necessity.

Thank you,

Ismail Warsame

BlogPostscript: I would recommend to my Somali readers to use the Google Translator to get a rough meaning of the contents of any article.

Author: Warsame Digital Media WDM

About the blogger: This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at: ismailwarsame@gmail.com

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