There's only been one such question so far, but, depending on weather this question is accepted as a good one or not, it could set up future standards for the site, so I feel it is important:


There is a small part of the question in English, which actually sounds partially interesting to me. But then, there's a big chunk of French!

I sometimes come to this site to read up on life in Academia and inform myself about how things work where I'm not. I do participate a little, but much, much more, I read the questions and answers that seem interesting.

Seeing this question, I couldn't help but feel just a little bit disappointed. There's this question, that might be nice, but I'm missing half of it. Seeing what Google Translate does to it just makes it more disappointing.

And then, there's this two interesting answers, on which I do not want to vote, because I do not know if they are relevant.

As it could determine a future standard (accept or not questions in other languages), I think it is important that there's an discussion within the community.

  • I fully agree with your assessment and concern.
    – posdef
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 12:34
  • @posdef yup, but it looks like I should have dug deeper (actually, I didn't dig at all) before asking the question as there is an answer for a few years already. Still, I feel kind of sorry for the (possibly) good answers.
    – penelope
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


This question has been answered by Jeff Atwood on the Stack Exchange blog a few years ago, and the short answer is that English is the language of the Stack Exchange community.


This is a site for academics, and academics should be able to read a little bit of French.

  • 1
    (That's not to say that this particular question was wrongly closed. It's not a SE-style focused question, and there's more than a little bit of French. But I don't think we should just assume that language policies appropriate for programmers are appropriate for academics.) Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 7:06
  • I know a lot of excellent academics from my field in Czech Republic. Would you then advise me to learn enough Czech to communicate about science, especially since there exists a possibility that I might go for an exchange there at some point?
    – penelope
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 7:51
  • I don't think academics should be expected to have a conversational knowledge of French, just to be comfortable reading a little bit of it. This is why Ph.D. programs have (written) language exams, because there's a lot of academic literature in French. (Not so much in Czech.) Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 13:12
  • I did my PhD programme in France, and I never had any sort of a language exam, written or otherwise, as a part of my PhD programme. And I would assume there is a lot of academic literature written in any language with a large number of speakers and a strong "research record"; maybe not so much in Czech since it is a small country in comparison, but I'm sure there's a lot of academic literature in German as well for example.
    – penelope
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:56

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