Going Dutch

So, after 6 years living in Brussels, we’re finally getting around to learning Dutch (no, not Flemish).

I won’t go into the endless complexities of the history of language policy in Belgium. Suffice it to say that the “Brussels Capital Region” is officially bilingual (although in reality it’s said that the majority of its inhabitants are francophone), which means that all public texts (signs, advertising, etc) are in both languages.

Since we both speak passable Frog, you could argue that learning Dutch is unnecessary, and yet we feel that it would be:

a) polite (many of our friends and neighbours are Dutch speakers),

b) fun (I know – we need to get out more, right?),

c) useful (we often make daytrips or short breaks to Flanders or Holland).

So, in order to avoid hiring babysitters while we rush off after work to an evening class, we’ve arranged for a teacher to come to us for an hour twice a week, starting in January.

The last time I started to learn a new language it was Italian, in 1999.


6 thoughts on “Going Dutch

  1. Wil December 22, 2007 / 7:54 pm

    Zal ik voor de grap dan maar een leerzame comment plaatsen in dat buitengewoon fantastische taaltje dat ik van huis uit spreek?

    Wie dit leest is gek.


  2. V-Grrrl December 22, 2007 / 10:59 pm

    I regret not having made the effort to learn at least a bit. I reasoned that since I knew I’d only be here for three years, it wasn’t worth investing the time, especially since I couldn’t see speaking Flemish being a life long advantage.

    I studied French in university and expected to live in a French speaking commune but ended up in a Flemish speaking one. I know enough French to conduct business in Brussels but not enough to converse.


  3. simonlitton December 22, 2007 / 11:18 pm

    Wil: I’ll reply to this comment in about a year’s time, once I have some clue what you’re talking about.


  4. simonlitton December 22, 2007 / 11:43 pm

    Wil: babelfish says: “I for the joke then but instructive comment place extraordinarily fantastic taaltje in that that I of house from speak? He who this reads is crazy.”


  5. Peter December 23, 2007 / 2:26 am

    LOL – automated translations never made the grade 😉

    But obviously, I applaud the effort: although Dutch and English are close cousins,
    (you might find this worth taking a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_languages )
    Dutch is (grammatically) considerably more complex than English. It tends to resemble German.

    Especially the diphthongs are more complex to handle when you’re a native English speaker.

    Anyway, my brother married an English native, and we do know what she says in Dutch.


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