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Home Page Forums THE LOUNGE January 2017 Pics! RE: January 2017 Pics!


Ellie from The Netherlands
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Posted By ReeseBun on 1/19/2017 5:06 AM

I asked because you are very fluent in it! What language do you use in your head?

Ah, thank you

I mostly use Dutch but also English on occasion. It’s everywhere: my textbooks, my fantasy books, my favourite films, and of course the internet fora which I frequent. I prefer my books in English because they’re usually written by English speakers, and so much is lost in the process. Take those brilliant Pratchett books for instance: all the word jokes are lost if you translate them. The Italians have a very true saying about it: “traduttore, traditore”, or “translator, traitor”.

English is gaining ground here in NL, especially with young people. Commercials are often in English nowadays. Sometimes we even talk in English among friends because we’re all university graduates. At our local university everything is in English and some people don’t even know the Dutch words for things in their field of work. We also get many international students. Our written English is usually quite good, but our accent is horrible, cringe-worthy and toe-curling.

The Dutch do have a reputation for languages: it’s a small country which focuses on export. We export produce (cheese, flowers etc.) and also specialised knowledge (we’re the water people, up to your knees in water? call us!). You cannot get an educated job if you don’t speak English. In my city which is on the border with Germany you can’t get a simple job in a shop without speaking English and German. I swear: the Dutch would learn how to bark or meow if that would increase our chances at making a good deal.

Our school system also focuses on languages: English is taught before kids reach the age of 10, and some schools advertise that they start teaching it from age 4. In the Dutch high school system kids are sorted by IQ and other capability tests, and the pre-university stream is called VWO. The VWO splits into two streams: Atheneum which focuses on science and Gymnasium which focuses on language. Gymnasium kids get 6 languages: Dutch, English, German, French, Latin and ancient Greek. If you’re in Gymnasium but are still into science, you can go double. Half of our class, including me, did that and we graduated in 17 subjects. Nerd alert!