A while back I wrote about “Why English is really important to us non-English speakers.” and I still believe that is true.

But lets not forget that English is our second language and that we sometimes miss out on the details, the words between the lines. Sometimes we even missinterpret the whole thing because we misunderstood a word. After All isn’t that what the movie “Lost in translation” was all about ;-), but that would be guessing on my part since I never watched it completely, however beautiful scarlet may be.

I have know to insult people just because I used the wrong words at the wrong time.

And why am I saying all this? Because it became all to apparent after I made a comment on Scott Hanselman’s blogpost “Don’t Give Bile a Permalink – Finding Balance within The No Asshole Rule“.

Which was a great post about social norms (I think). Of course social norms are different in different cultures and don’t forget that some countries have different cultures. Belgium is a great example of that where we have a very big gap it seems between the french and the Flemish community or so our politicians would like us to believe.

But back to the topic of this post. Scott said this in his post.

Most everyone who speaks English realizes that the N-word is off limits.

And in the comments I said this.

Never heard of a bad N-word, yet.

I really couldn’t think of one and I haven’t really heard it referred like that before. But it became all to clear after the reply Scott gave.

@Chrissie1 – As a Belgian, you may not be familiar with the N-word used to put down Black folks. This is considered off-limits and inappropriate in all instances.

I now know what the N-word means. and I appreciate the time Scott took to find out about me. I think I should try to hide my identity better. Google knows to much about me. But in this case it saved me some embarresment.

So lesson learned, again. And for all you English and non-English speakers out there, your English is not as good as you think.