Have you ever gone to a foreign country and not spoken the language? How did you feel about that country? Have you ever gone to a foreign country where you've been able to speak their language? Would you agree that you had a more pleasant experience with foreigners where you made an effort to speak in their native tongue?

In my experience, where I've known some of the language of the country I'm visiting, (albeit [sometimes] a handful of word for politeness,) the local people have been extremely receptive and friendly - whereas in a couple of countries where I did not know the language - the locals were friendly, but not as much as other places.

On the internet, 99% my communication is done in English, my native tongue. However, I am acutely aware that there are many people reading what I've written, and following this blog, who do not use English as their first language. It's quite easy to forget that they have often had to learn English as a prerequisite to programming (as most programming languages are in English) and should be whole heartedly respected for that.

Whilst there are big translation drives going on for things like Documentation @ OpenOffice.org and Interface Translations for GNOME and KDE programs.. there's still a massive library of howtos and more anecdotal information (such as this blog) which don't get translated. It's not like the visitors stop coming either - just having a look at my Google Analytics, and Argentina is the fourth most popular source for my visitors - a country which I have not yet had the pleasure to visit, and whose language I cannot speak. Thanks Guys.

So this is just a note to thank you guys who have learned English in order to further their skill set/education. It's a great shame such little emphasis is now put on language at school in the UK at least. I remember my first "exchange trip" - oh the trouble I wouldn't have gotten into if I weren't able to speak French. It opens up a whole new world, not just of language - but of culture. I wouldn't prevent anyone such an opportunity.