How is English taught in the Netherlands?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by panjabigator, Aug 15, 2006.

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  1. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I have read that majority of the country is bilingual (at least!) in both English and Dutch. How is English taught over there and what age is English learned by? Is it taught in the same fashion as Spanish is in Cataluña?
  2. optimistique Senior Member

    I don't think bilingual is the word. Compared to South-European countries and France, yes the average Dutchman does speak English very well, but we're by far not better than the Scandinavians (rather the other way around).

    In fact, most Dutch people only think they speak English that well, but the majority speaks 'English with clogs'. You have probably never heard a Hollandish man talk English, because it really makes your shoes fall out (as an example of his word usage).

    But enough about that. We get English taught at the age of ten/eleven. And that till your 16th-18th. It is taught in exactly the same way as German and French, but we're very much exposed to English through films and television series and of course music lyrics and internet.

    Other thing about the supposed bilingualism: our language is being heavily infected by unnecessary English loan words, just because people think that it is 'cool' to do so, or out of laziness to search for the Dutch equivalent. So people that find themselves important talk Dutch with half English vocabulary.:rolleyes:
  3. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    In your opinion, does it mean that in let's say 100 years Dutch will have disappeared or turned into a hybrid English-Dutch?

    ¡Olé! :cool:
  4. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    I've heard that Dutch children, as well as those of Scandinavian countries get a very good head start in learning English through the subtitles of American import TV shows and movies.
  5. optimistique Senior Member

    To me personnally, it feels ridiculous that Dutch would really disappear, but for most Dutchmen this actually is a topic that concerns them: Will Dutch disappear and will we all speak English? (And for an ununderstandable reason most say 'yes, probably':confused:).

    About the hybrid English-Dutch; in fact Dutch is already some sort of hybrid French/German-Dutch, because of all the French and the German loan words it absorbed in earlier times. The fact that languages borrow words from each other is only normal, and most borrowings don't last. That said, I'm still worried, but you can never predict what the future will bring. Maybe over 100 years, English no longer has the influence it has now. Who knows? But then there'll be another, and the whole process will start all over again with the new language (for I don't see it happen that Dutch will be the new world language;)).
  6. johnnyneuro

    johnnyneuro Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    England - English
    That all dutch people can speak "bilingual" English is a bit of a stereotype. Sure, if you mix with University educated people or those that live in the major cities you'll find them speaking an excellent standard of English. However, spend some time in provincial towns trying to converse with everyday folks and things are a bit different (BTW, this is *not* a criticism).

  7. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    Can you elaborate on this part of your post, please? What do you exactly mean by speaking English with clogs?

    To be quite honest, all Dutchmen I know can speak English better than they write and spell it. (I'm just talking about people I know. :) ) I believe it's a result of practising and improving English simply by watching TV. I also believe that the Dutch are very lucky that almost every American or British shows are televised in their original language with subtitles. This is absolutely best way to learn a language, don't you agree?
  8. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi all,

    I completely agree with you, Optimistique. This kind of panicking reactions can indeed be found everywhere.

    I'm not sure how to understand 'hybrid' in this context, but anyway, over here in Flanders (north of Belgium) the influence of French was even stronger and longer. All in all, the Dutch speaking northern part of Belgium (aka Flanders) had +/- 1500 years of French speaking rulers, I mean a French speaking administration (whether they came from Spain or the Habsburgian Empire or wherever), French speaking higher classes.
    French was the only language in schools till the first half of the 20th century and from 1830 till the 1960s a strong French speaking ruling class in the traditionally Dutch speaking north of Belgium.
    But we're still speaking Dutch here :).
    Ok, it also took +/- 2 centuries of language related (and, of course, economic) political turmoil, including the rise of a strong Flemish nationalistism, but anyway.
    Maar we spreken nog altijd Nederlands, or something that comes close it ;-).

    If something is going to affect Dutch, then it's the large influx from immigrants, rather than English. And even that would be a quite normal way of language change. But that's another issue...

    Agreed. Loads of older French loans are disappearing, at least from the standard variants of Dutch.

    I'll leave it to Optimistique to explain this one, but it is as funny as "putting the flowers outside" ;-)


  9. optimistique Senior Member

    'Hybrid' was a bit strong, I know, but it was just to give an indication of how it is not a new phenomen (or would not be a new one). And yes, I was thinking about Flanders in particular, maar ik dacht, dat laat ik maar aan Frank over om het uit te leggen. ;-) In Maastricht the French influence is very present, while the language in my area (Heerlen, close to Aachen, the Far South-East) is more German-oriented.

    Now breaks my clog! ;) (talking about stereotypes...) Well, English with clogs means nothing more than English spoken by a Dutchman with an unbearable Dutch accent, of course full of all literally translated Dutch expressions.
  10. brookey86 Member

    English - USA
    I'm an American who was in Spain for a while, and I met two Dutch guys there. They spoke perfect english (grammar, expressions, even slang!) without ever studying abroad. At first I assumed they were from the UK because they had a slight accent, but I guess Germanic languages all use the same accent more or less so we all sound the same.

    I also met a German girl who spoke perfect English, no accent, and I didn't realize she wasn't American until I asked what part of the states she was from.
  11. argentina84

    argentina84 Senior Member

    Göteborg, Sweden
    Argentina Spanish
    I have two Dutch friends and they speak perfect English having only studied it at school. I was so much impressed because it took many years for me to get my level of English, and a lot of study! And they never got private lessons. The fun thing was that I learnt a lot of new words by chatting with them. And when speaking, they sounded English. I guess it's the Germanic intonation.

    I wish we could learn English as they do in the Netherlands here in Argentina. Sometimes English courses are too bookish and then you lack fluency. That is not the case in the Netherlands, as far as I can see.

    I would like to attend English lessons at school there and see how English is taught in class. What methodologies teachers use. I bet I could get many cool ideas.

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