My Daily Dutch
My Daily Dutch
Well for three years I’ve lived blissfully right below the radar screen of the Dutch Police, or what I believe to be the How to Speak Dutch ~ Police. Those people who criticize you over and over with a single word. Waiting for you to either magically understand how to say the word correctly according to his or her hearing or with as much grace as you can muster find a bush to throw up in in order to not have to perform the grueling beating of trying to say the word correctly in Dutch for the 100th time.
The pronunciation of words or dialects around The Netherlands is as confusing as they are in the different parts of the United States. If you ask someone from Boston and someone from Mississippi to say the same sentence you will get two very confusing accents. Same here!
Well, apparently I’ve been here a few years and a few people around me have decided…that’s it! It’s time for me to learn. I still have not taken any formal Dutch classes… probably never will. I truly enjoy just getting out in my community and winging it. And my beautiful Dutch neighbors are just the people to teach me. The man at the local hardware store has decided to only speak Dutch to me. He’s pulling the band aid off and is pushing me ahead. I ask questions in English and he answers me in Dutch and waits for me to figure out what he’s said. It’s a good system, and really seems to work.
The other day I was in his shop looking for an attachment to hook onto my bike so that my dog can run along with me while I bike. I have no idea what this little thing is called but he knew what I was talking about. He made a few phone calls and as I strolled around his store looking at things while he chatted away in Dutch to the other person, I suddenly heard the price of the little doo hicky and the tone in his voice. Hmmmmmm might be a tad expensive. I may have to check around. He was pleased with the fact that I knew the jest of the conversation. And I was pleased as well.
I think I must have about 1-200 word Dutch vocabulary to my possession, which sounds like a lot but not really at all. But, I look around at all the brave people who have come after me and are doing great and I think… ok I can do this. Just please don’t give me any quizzes, tests or homework! And please don’t make me repeat a word 100 times.
A few days later I was having lunch in my village with a friend when I noticed my friendly hardware man placing an order. I called out hello to him and asked him if he was having a nice day, which of course… he smiled and answered in Dutch. I switched to my limited Dutch, answered a few questions and bid him a fijn weekend.