every email I’ve received that included an apology for “poor English,” I’d be within shouting distance of a comfortable retirement. But there’s no apology necessary, and that needs to be said rather loudly. I want to see more bad English on mailing lists!
First of all, no one should feel the slightest shame or embarrassment about making a good faith effort to have a productive conversation with someone else. There may be room for improvement, and people should be admired for making a continual effort to learn new languages or improve their language skills.
Second, people who are embarrassed with their ability to communicate are likely to speak up less. To hold back questions for fear that they’re not going to be understood. To hold back expressing ideas because they might not get the point across as well the first time. One of the great things about the time I spent with Novell was that I had the opportunity to meet and speak with many people around the world who love free and open source software, and being part of the larger community.
Unfortunately, far too many of the people I met where embarrassed by their proficiency with English. Several contributors I’ve spoken to have admitted reluctance to participate in discussions because they were embarrassed by their skill level with English, or because they feared they wouldn’t be understood.