Why I speak in English on social media while being French

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Dear readers,

I never thought I’ll have to explain myself about it, but I think it is important for me to do it today.

If you don’t know, I am French. Yet, I speak in English on every social media I have and read English books in English. At first, it was the French community who was judging me: Are you doing this to attract more people on your accounts? Are you doing this for fame? Are you ashamed of being French? Do you think it makes you look cool? Why don’t you translate your English captions in French as well? Etc.

Those questions came back all the time. I once did a livestream and some French people came to ask me why I was still talking in English. As I am trying to spread positivity and kindness, and as I knew they weren’t trying to be mean or anything, I answered calmly and in a nice way.

However, I am starting to get comments from the English speaking community. Not much, but still. It started with a comment on my last YouTube video, saying that I must be brave to speak in a language I don’t know and that no French books could ever be a best-seller in the rest of the world. Then I received a comment on a blog post, telling me that my grammar was awful for someone who claims to be fluent. It didn’t hurt me but receiving more and more comments like this are really starting to get to me, no matter how hard I am trying to stay nice and calm on social media.

I never thought I’ll have to explain myself because I believe that we are allowed to do whatever we want on social media, as long as we are staying respectful. Me speaking in English shouldn’t bother people: If whenever I say something in English it hurts someone physically, sure I’ll stop. But it doesn’t, so I don’t see how anyone should have to say something about it. It doesn’t change anyone’s life, it doesn’t hurt anyone – the only thing it does is that it makes me happy and makes me feel more comfortable, confident. Anyway, I will still explain today why I am speaking in English and not in French, and also why I read English books in English, since many people asked me that as well.

WHY I SPEAK IN ENGLISH

You have to know something about me: Ever since I was 3, ever since I had my very first English lesson, I loved the language. It felt natural, easy. I actually understood it and it attracted me. I loved the sound of it, the words, the way people spoke. And as I grew up, as I started to learn more and more about it, I knew this language was made for me.

French school is amazing but the English lessons I had weren’t the best, so I decided to learn more by myself. I started by listening to the BBC radio every morning before leaving for school and by watching English tv shows with French subtitles and English youtubers. Then, of course, I started to read in English and to watch the same tv shows but with English subtitles. At some point, all I was doing in my life was listening to the English language. But, still, it wasn’t enough.

I knew that to really learn a language, I had to speak it. But how could I ever practice it in France? That’s why I started to speak in English on my Twitter account, because I knew English speaking people were there and could help me. At first, it was only a few tweets, but after I joined the bookstagram community, I decided to only speak in English. The Internet became a way for me to learn, to talk to people from all around the world.

Here is another thing you have to know about me: I started watching booktube videos when I was 15 and I only watched English speaking booktubers. So when I created my bookstagram account, I only knew the English words that are used by the bookish community, such as “TBR”, “wrap-up”, etc. I never was interested in watching French booktubers and never talked to French bookworms, so I knew nothing about the words used in France for it. It made sense for me to speak in the language I knew about, also because I was mostly reading English literature.

I do know now the French words for “TBR”, etc. but they don’t make sense to me. I find them weird and it somehow annoys me. It’s not because I’m feeling superior – it’s just because I grew up listening to the English words and those were the “right” ones in my mind (not that the French ones are wrong, they just don’t make sense to me as I grew up as a reader with other words and didn’t know about the French ones until very late). I am 22 today and I have been watching English booktube videos every morning and every night for 7 years. It grows on you, and I can’t change that. It’s part of my routine (it’s really all I do) and of who I am.

But it isn’t the only reasons. As I said, the English language makes me feel confident and most of all, comfortable. Ever since I was 3, I knew it was the language I was meant to speak. I remember growing up and speaking in English in class and telling some words I never thought I knew. I just knew them because the language felt natural, easy. Even though I love the French language with all my heart, the English one alwas talked to me. It’s in the English language that I feel comfortable enough to share my feelings, to talk about important subjects. It may makes zero sense to you, but it is what is happening to me. For instance, I barely ever say the words “I love you” in French but can say “I love you” in English all the time. How many times have I had to talk to my best friend in English to tell her what was wrong only because I couldn’t get the French words out of my mouth? And if you ever see me talking in French on a video, or in a blog post, you’ll see how weird I’ll look, how shy I am and how uncomfortable I can be.

It’s as if the English language was close to me, but still distant, which allows me to share more things about it because I can be someone else.

Finally, as I adore the English language, I have always wanted to live in an English speaking country. You have to see me in the UK, how comfortable I feel and how different I look. I am happy there, I am myself, and that’s what I want to feel for the rest of my life. But for that I have to know the language, and that’s why I am practicing by talking in English all the time. So yes, I do make mistakes. I see them myself, and sometimes I don’t. How many times have I wanted to scream at myself while editing a video because I heard myself make a big mistake but couldn’t do anything about it? It happens, it’s life. It’s what you do when you are learning: You make mistakes and you grow from them. I have spent months saying “serie” instead of “series” – I didn’t know, but now I do. And yes, my blog posts have mistakes too, but to be fair I would make mistakes in French too because I barely correct myself after writing. We always make mistakes and that’s okay – it shouldn’t prevent people from speaking another language. They aren’t hurting anyone, I am not hurting anyone. I am just doing it so I can feel myself and so I can grow, learn. And anyway, I shouldn’t have a reason: We all can do whatever we want and if I wanted to speak Spanish tomorrow, I should be able to do it without someone coming at me for it.

So here is why I am speaking in English on social media, even right now:

  • Because the English language feels natural to me and allows me to open myself;
  • Because I grew up listening to English speaking booktubers and it grew on me;
  • Because I mostly read English literature;
  • Because I want to learn and to practice to be able to become, one day, fluent.

I will, however, start working with an English speaking person for my blog who will correct what I write and explain to me what I did wrong. This way I’ll be able to learn even more and to present you something that is written correctly.

WHY I READ ENGLISH BOOKS IN ENGLISH

Honestly, it is very simple: I don’t see why I should read a translation, which costs me almost twice the price of a paperback copy, when I understand the English language and could read the real words chosen by the author.

But yes, I do mostly read English literature. I have to say that I do not like French YA books, maybe I haven’t found the right one but I can’t seem to like it. However, I do love some French adult books, such as thriller or historical fiction, and adore French classics. That is why I am trying this year to get back to French classics because no, I am not ashamed of my culture and yes, I do love the French language.

(And yes, I do love and respect French publishing houses. Honestly, I don’t even understand why I wouldn’t as I work in one.)

ABOUT KINDNESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

I have been thinking about the right way to finish this blog post and the only idea that came to my mind was to talk about criticism we receive online.

I am more than okay with people correcting my mistakes. Honestly, please, do it. I am here to learn and I won’t take it badly if you do it with respect. However, I do not understand the point of reading my longest article only to leave me a comment about my grammar, telling me that it’s awful and that I still claim to be fluent.

Here is the thing: If your comment doesn’t add anything positive to the world, please keep it to yourself. You can not love me nor my work, it’s totally fine – but please, realise that words have a power and that they can hurt. You do not have to come at me for telling me this – you are wasting both your time and mine. I believe it is useless to read something you don’t like, or by someone you don’t like, just to be mean in the end (uselessly mean).

I don’t know why but I have been having quite a few “haters” those past few months. Whether it was to insult me, to tell me to lose weight or to steal my identity and pictures, I had to deal with all of this. So of course this comment didn’t really bother me. I have been told worse and I learnt that what people say about me say more about themselves that it does about myself. I am sorry to see that some people are using their own insecurities on others, maybe to feel better or else. Whatever it is, I truly hope that all those people will soon find the peace they are looking for and will learn to love themselves as well to respect others.

However, I won’t stay silent. I will talk about this hate I can receive, but always in a respectful way. I always protected those people by never sharing either their names or usernames. I never insulted them or have been saying mean things about them. I never judged them as a human being. But I am allowed to be mad, to respond to those comments, no matter how insignificant they are and even though I shouldn’t lose my own time on this.

So here is what I am trying to say: If you do not like what people are sharing on the Internet, or if you just don’t like the person, unfollow them and forget about it. As long as they aren’t doing or saying anything hurtful, there is no need to be mean to them. You are hurting yourself by following them, really. It’ll only make you mad and that is how you will come to post hurtful things on the Internet. You are free to follow whoever you want, to control what you want to see on social media – so do it the right way. And before leaving a criticism, please ask yourself if this is helpful in any way.

To end this blog post, I would like to share a quote from Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, a book I may haven’t loved, but those words have been staying with me ever since I read it:

“Every time you post something online, you have a choice.
You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.

I tried to add something by starting Girl Online.

And for a while, it really seemed to be working.

So, next time you go to post a comment or an update or share a link, ask yourself: is this going to add to the happiness in the world?

And if the answer is no, then please delete.

There is enough sadness in the world already. You don’t need to add to it.” 


If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. People have been asking me to talk about how to read in another language and where to start, how to learn another language even, and that is something I am planning to do.

Love always,

Clara

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38 thoughts on “Why I speak in English on social media while being French”

  1. I really relate to this! I’m swedish but I’ve learned English since the age of six and even though I obviously mess up at times I feel very comfortable with this language. Somehow I feel like I can take on a different role when I’m speaking English, not like I’m pretending to be someone else, but somehow I turn into this slightly more confident version of myself.

    But I also speak English on social media because the swedish speaking book community is TINY, almost all of us use English on social media. But I also think we have a slightly more liberal view on languages here (or maybe I’m just showing my prejudices against France, if that’s the case I apologize), for instance lots of people read in English and we only ever dub kids movies. We’re not as “protective” of our language, so the reaction you’re getting strikes me as very strange!

    But anyway, I think all of us reading and writing in a language that’s not our native language are pretty impressive, and you shouldn’t let people bring you down for not getting it 100% right every time 💕 Speaking of languages, I just got the French edition of adsom, because it’s the pretties cover I’ve ever seen. I studied French for several years and even though it’s been a while I’m going to attempt to reading it! Yay for learning languages! ❤️ And sorry for the super long comment, this just made me think of a lot of things, apparently 😂

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    1. Thank you so much for understanding! I was so sad that I had to explain it but I’m glad I did in the end because so many people can relate to it and I love it. The world is too big for us to speak only one language! Also, yes, the French bookstagram community at least is very weird when it comes to English. There has been so many drama about it, people have been insulted and rejected. It feels weird and stupid, maybe it’s only because they’re, for the most of them, young but I don’t like it anyway haha. AND YES THAT COVER FOR ADSOM IS GORGEOUS AHHH. and please, keep writing that much haha! x

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  2. I don’t understand why people would choose to be nasty. Your English is excellent, Clara, and even if it wasn’t I don’t know why you would cut down someone who is learning or practicing a language. English is my native language, but I make plenty of mistakes too!

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  3. Weird, I thought we lived in a world where it was considered a positive if you could speak more than one language. I also thought in this day and time that you are practically expected to know the English language, you know because us Americans refuse to learn anything else but expect everyone to know what we are saying. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. In fact you are doing everything you should be doing for the goals that you have set for yourself. Do what is best for you, and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing if you don’t feel like it is necessary for you.

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  4. Dear Clara

    Your words are so inspirational, YOU are so inspirational.

    First of all, I want to tell you that I am glad you speak in English on your Instagram and blog. I am Belgian so I do understand French, but not that well. My English is far from perfect but I understand it a lot better. I am so glad that you still find the courage to speak English, despite the negative comments. I love the positive vibes in your posts. If you would write in French, I would still read it, but it wouldn’t make such a great impact on me, simply because I wouldn’t understand half of the words. And I am so happy now that I do understand them. Like I said earlier, your words are really inspirational. You react on negative comments in a really respectful way, and that’s the right way to handle it, in my opinion. It’s your right to react, but it is a choice to stay respectful.

    I will keep reading your blog posts, in any language you would write it. Because language doesn’t matter, words matter.

    You rock, girl. Keep on rocking. And writing. ♥

    Thank you for sharing this amazing post.

    x Janne

    Ps: You will notice that I also make mistakes, probably a lot of them, even in this short text. But I know you don’t mind, just as I don’t mind you making mistakes. I can only envy (I wish this word wouldn’t sound so negative, because I mean it in a really positive way) your courage to speak a language which isn’t your mother tongue.

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  5. Hey! I have been a follower on your bookstagram account for about a year now and I LOVE your accout! You are a beautiful and inspiring person. I have been following your account closely for a year now as I said and I have seen your fluency in the English language grow. At first I noticed quite a few mistakes (I am English myself), but now there are almost none. You have come so far and I want you to know that. I also want you to know that if people are putting you down, then it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them, which I am sure you have heard before, but it is so true. I love that quite from Girl Online that used at the end. I love Zoe’s books as light hearted reads and they have a really powerful message. I love you and your work! Keep being awesome!!!❤️

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  6. You have no idea how much I relate to this!! I’m Danish and I’ve also grown up with English since I was a kid, it comes so natural to me – especially in writing. But I still have to explain all the time why I choose to speak English on my bookstagram and why I don’t read a lot of Danish books. I only read Danish books written by Danish authors and the books literally cost 3 times as much as an English one 😳 And I often love the English books more soooo.. 🙄

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  7. This is amazing!! I relate so much, I didn’t know so many people had the same thing going on with them, I used to get the same exact comments back when I was younger, my mother language is Arabic and I love it and Im proud to be arabic though Im not so good at it and I wish to be, but people often throw claims that I love English and learn English because Im ashamed to be arabic?? Thats just weird.. But now English language is becoming more common in my country and so many people know how to speak it so its not something new when I do it too. Thanks for this post, you know you didn’t have to explain yourself but I guess you made others, including me, feel better!

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  8. Clara, honey.

    Talk in English. Talk in Klingon if you want to. There is no need for you to actually justify speaking in another language than your native language.

    Nasty comments against you speaking English has to be the most illogical thing that trolls can do. They see your photography, they see your work and they get jealous. If not, their tiny minds can not comprehend that someone would be fluent in two languages or more.

    It’s such a head-smacking moment when trolls go beyond their limits of stupidity. It’s also ironic that books teach us to be tolerant, yet we continue to disappoint them.

    Stay strong, surround yourself with tolerant bookstagrammers. Haters gonna hate.

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment – it truly warmed my heart and made my day better! I guess at first I didn’t care what people said about me but the comment I received mocking my grammar made me really upset against the world and the hate we give away. But this post helped me and showed me that a lot of people can relate and are nice as well. I’m glad I did, as I got to speak with people like you! x

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  9. Hii, it’s totally fine that you speak in English. To be honest, I understand your BookTube videos better than some people who speak English as main language, and I’m not even French. (Also not English ofc 😅) I love love love your accent!

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  10. Hey dear 🙂

    well I got really touched by your blogpost!!! It’s so sad how brutal people on social media can be.
    The feelings you have for the English Language, I have for the French one! If I could I would completely write in French. But sadly I know that not much people would understand it. And I had a lot to learn, too to write sentences that make sense. 😀
    English is one of the most world known languages. Most people of the social media use it. So it’s easier to communicate with each other. I can’t imaginge why people are against it…

    Well I hope you understand everything I wrote ( my English is really bad… ).

    I love your Account and Blog and I’m always happy when I got a message that you post something new!
    You combine two of my favourites things. Paris and Books. I carry Paris always deep in my heart.
    With your pictures, I felt not that far away from it!
    Keep your head up and go your own way 🙂 ♥

    Yours,

    Lauli ( forestfleur_)

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  11. Hi!
    i just wanted to say, i feel exactly the same about english. it’s such a beautiful language. When you say you speak english to express your feelings, i totally understand you. I do exactly the same even if i’m french. But what’s the shame about it? Yes we sometimes spell a word incorrectly, or our sytax’s awful. But really, who do not? And c’mon we are here to learn from our mistakes, not to judge others’
    Love u

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  12. Thank you for this blogpost Clara! I totally relate to you and you’ve put into words quiet well, what I feel myself with using a language I never spoke in childhood! Ive never been that interested into the english language. But then something bad happened in my life and I couldn’t put it into words. And certainly not into german words (my childhood language). So i had to find something to explain and express my feelings. And here we are with me falling for the english language so fast and unmoving, that I feel more comfortable and at home in this language than my mothers language. I write my poems in english, my diary and certain parts of my books (the ones I wrote) were first in the english language. I also make thousands of mistakes a day, but who cares! If this is the language of YOUR soul and if you are loving it – keep on going! I love you just as you are 🙂 You are so brave for keeping up with all of this shit and staying positive :**
    kisses
    Ariana (Solaire)

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  13. This was such a brilliant post, I loved it and I can relate to every single thing you wrote here. I am French, just like you, yet I blog, read my books, post on social media, in English as well. I somehow feels like… everything flows so much better this way, for me. It fits me better in a way the French language sometimes doesn’t quite fit me. I think you are doing amazing and I hate that people come at you, just because you are writing in a language you want to be writing in. Keep on doing what you are doing, you’re awesome. ❤

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  14. Merci pour vos mots! Votre poste m’a inspiré. Alors, j’étudie le français depuis cinq ans et j’ai eu des personnes ont dit moi que j’ai un accent mal; mais à ce moment, je pris leurs comments sériousement pour améliorer mon pronunciation, pas de sentir mal. Encore, merci pour vos mots, et j’éspère que vous avez une bonne journée ! : )

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  15. Two years later i’m here haha! i love your posts about you talking about English, i feel the same as you, i just feel more confortable in English than in French, i don’t know if it’s because people around don’t understand, but yeah all the cultures from the English speaking countries were more my thing than French one. I love listen to this language, speak it, write it. i’m sixteen, i know i make mistakes, but the best way to learn is to make mistakes and understand them 🙂
    also i take a break with bookstagram, because i don’t feel myself anymore, there are people who are not kind and i hate this, i would like to start again and speak english and french but i’m a bit scared of people you know, it’s not helping my anxiety…
    anyway, you help me a lot, Clara !
    (sorry for my mistakes haha)
    love 💛

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    1. Honestly I’m staying away from the French bookstagram community because they aren’t that kind with people who speak English, so I definitely understand. But do what you like and if they don’t like it, then they should unfollow you and move on!

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