I generally don´t think any US native can really understand how it´s like to play CL in a second language. I just had a tangle with HGM in the NG, and at the end I was just so damn tired, angry and frustrated. It seemed he was being intentionally a jerk. Now, he can be that - and often rather intentionally as well , but in my case I never know if my language is the culprit. And if it is, it makes it a lot worse, oddly enough.
I once had to go through a whole textlog from CL, from a RQ meeting, and clearly write what my intentions and thoughts behind my words were. A rather tiring exercise as well. But it was needed, as you have no idea how many misunderstandings that may occur in my path...
When I started playing CL, and writing to the NG - I spent a lot of time on the language itself, trying to clean it a bit so that they shouldn´t be misunderstood. It took a very long time. Too long. I have other things I want to do with my "CL- time", so I started to do as everyone else. Just write a post and hit the send button, all in 15 minutes. See, I can spend one to two more hour on the post - or you the reader can spend 5 more minutes reading it, with goodwill and knowledge that I´m not native. The main problem I face I think, is that my english is 85% "clean". But I don´t generally know the connotations of the words I am using. Only in a few cases. That is the last step in really learning a language. All that "subtext" , all the references. I am not there yet. I probably never will be, as that would require me to live there.
I read in context very often, as I meet words I have no idea what means. Sometimes that is hard to do. I didn´t know the word "tinderbox" for example. Baba found this odd hut in the east farms, and got one of those. What was this I thought.. tinder.. what? I have my Oxford advanced dictionary handy but I don´t use it often. And never, ever while I play. It´s not doable. So, "What is a tinderbox" Baba sunstones, and get the answers. Aha, I think. "Fyrtøy"! Cool! Sometimes it´s not enough to tell me what it means, you also have to tell me what the association is. For example I had no idea what "satchel" was. I could see what it was intended to be, a sack of some kind. But names often can tell you even more, like what the sack is intended for in this case. James, knowing my handicap - told me that it leads the thoughts to a thing you carry food in, and over your shoulder. That gives me a different word in norwegian than "sack", and completely different associations - even a timestamp of some sort.
You may have noticed, or not, but Baba don´t use actionboxes so often. It´s a loss really, as I would very much like to. But the tiny odd thing is - I can´t. Only a few pre-learned sentences. Why it is so? I have problems with adjectives and verbs. I never am able to remember what the words are. Say for example I want to write that Baba throws something in a certain direction with a certain strength and with a certain attitude. And I want every piece of this to give the players a very specific feeling of how and for what reason Baba does this. I would spend 5 minutes trying to find the right words for the job, and the moment would have passed long time ago. I know the word "eat", but I don´t know all the words that tells that she only eats a small piece, that she tastes it only, that she eats it greedily, hungry, etc... From others I have learned that some of these words are munches, nibbles etc.. But I don´t know enough to be able to choose among them. For this reason, I am much better in mere talking - where I seem to (long pause here as I try to remember the english word for the norwegian "beherske") ( after 2 minutes just thinking, I give up and decide to write the sentence differently, avoiding the word) For this reason, Baba spend her time talking more , and does less of the actionboxes, as I am able to keep a conversation going easier.
After the NG tangle, I came up with a scenario that might give you an idea of what we europeans face:
Imagine you are in a room with many regular living room objects around.
Chair, sofa, bookshelf etc. There is another human in the living room
with you - and you are discussing the room and the objects in it.
Problem is, you can´t remember what the objects are called. The word
"chair" eludes you. As does the word "bookshelf". You do however
remember the word "sofa".
In order to manage to discuss the subject with the other human however,
you are forced to try and describe how the objects look - their shape,
form, how they feel when you touch them - in hope that the other human
will understand what you are talking about.
How will you describe a bookshelf when you have no word for either book
nor shelf? Rectangular, tall.... thingy with rectangular smaller thingies
in it placed on top of.. other thingies?
You try and combine what you remember with the description of the
objects you can´t remember.
Now, imagine you are tied and can´t move anything else but your right
arm to write to communicate. In addition, the other human can´t see your
face and your expression.
And this is just an easy one. Imagine you have this handicap and are
speaking of things that you can´t see, hear, feel or touch. Abstracts.
You are all welcome to try:)
There are few things that hit home so much though. Being able to communicate is what my CL life is build on. Being understood as well. I can´t play CL the way the japanese do. Confine myself in a corner and generally only talk to other scandinavians. If I stop trying, I stop playing. It´s that simple.