Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lost in Translation

I’ve decided I’m going to add Dutch to one of the languages I know because when I call a company and I’m put on hold, I’m able to randomly push buttons until I get a live person to talk to me.
One of the many joys of moving to a foreign country is the joy of learning a new language. I’ve always been amazed and had the upmost respect for someone who can speak more than one language.  I am very proud of my English language and also so appreciative that around the world most people know how to speak English. In The Netherlands, most children begin their English lessons around the age of 10 and within a few short years are fluent. Everyone has been very excited to try out their English with me and they are so happy to be able to help.
The Dutch people by nature are very direct. Sometimes that comes across as rude but I usually laugh because it’s shocking and we all have our little quirks. When you ask someone from here if they speak English their answer is usually “Yes, of course!” Which to me means, “Who in their right mind would not be able to speak several languages?”  Sometimes when asked, they reply “A little.”  This means, “Yes I can, but I’d like to test the water slowly.” Then you discover that yes, they can speak English.
One day I was asking a very nice Dutch woman at the meat market if she had turkey. I was having a little difficulty getting her to understand my English.. until I said “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!” She started laughing and said “No, she did not have that!”
One of our favorite channels is The Discovery Channel (it’s in English). We are getting so much smarter.. but we’ve picked up a peculiar British accent.
So I have one final question… If your bills all come in a foreign language and you don’t know what they say, does this mean you have to pay them? Google Translate!

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