Question about Dutch and the Netherlands

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reflexsilver86
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Postby reflexsilver86 » 2005-08-13, 15:46

I have a partially distorted view, because those Dutch I do know are fluent in English, so I don't have such a quite accurate picture. I would say my younger cousins and friends happen to speak it with a better accent than my older cousins, however my older cousins are proficient in more languages than the younger generations.

If such is the case, I'm curious as to the decline in English proficiency as well. Though it may be a stretch to say that two Dutch men not knowing the word cumpulsory means the entire country's skills are dropping, since of course among the Dutch you've always had those who are very skilled in other languages and those that just aren't, but if you've had many other similar experiences then that would give serious weight to the issue.
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Postby Qcumber » 2005-08-13, 16:41

Reflexsilver86:
Though it may be a stretch to say that two Dutch men not knowing the word cumpulsory means the entire country's skills are dropping.


I'm afraid you overlooked this: "I had one more occasion to notice this" I do not base my opinions on a single observation. :)
Here is another one. What do you think of a university student reading international law, who, despite repeated remarks, still writes off for of? :lol:

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Postby reflexsilver86 » 2005-08-14, 8:31

LOL Are you studying international law yourself, Qcumber? Because if you are that's incredibly interesting because that's what I'm going to be doing myself. :mrgreen:

Yes, that indeed is a problem, especially since "of" is really not the most complicated of words. On the other hand, I've seen this from a handful of native English speakers... isn't that scary?

I actually did catch the part where you said "on more than one occasion" but for some reason it never registered properly. lol I think I thought you meant on that one particular day at the pool. :wink:

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Postby Qcumber » 2005-08-14, 9:54

No, I'm not studying international law. I am old and retired. :)
If a native speaker of English confuses off and of, he can be dismissed as a very ignorant person, so doesn't count. :lol:

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Postby Leviwosc » 2005-08-15, 12:17

This goes against the grain with me it's too easy to criticise other people for their language skills! I think it might be obvious to us all that not everybody in one's surrounding is interested in foreign languages like we are.
Most people here in the Netherlands study English at highschool and they acquire a certain level, I agree that the language skills of most Dutchies are terribly overrated! Though I concider it as inappropiate and very arrogant to criticise one's language skills; accept that some people don't have the same skills like you have and be glad that you're the one who can make communication possible because your language skills are good.

Ron.

Btw. I've never said my English is good, I've always said it's awful. I hope no one will criticize me for my English but just helps me if I do something wrong.
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Postby reflexsilver86 » 2005-08-15, 12:40

I would have to agree with you, Ron. Because I think in fact too many people take it for granted that the Dutch know English in the first place. Now some are obviously going to know it better than others. As I've said, I have a view distorted in one extreme, since all my family and friends tend to know it very well (except for a few cousins who are far more comfortable using German or Dutch with me, in fact one time when an older cousin of mine was explaining the family history, he had to type it all in Dutch and I had to have my friend translate)

On the other hand, it's quite possible to run into the opposite end, where you come across a bunch of people that just have lackluster language skills. I'll put it this way, if someone kept bumping into Americans that spoke several languages, one would get the false impression that Americans all were linguistically gifted.

I think being courteous just so to use the foreign tongue is an immense sign of respect. And I see too many instances of natives butchering the language to complain when a foreigner innocently slips up. Some people just don't catch on quickly. If you can learn a language easily, you should consider yourself fortunate enough to be gifted, because I've seen some really intelligent people just bogged down with them.
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Postby Gormur » 2005-09-16, 0:20

Ron de Leeuw, Cave Canem wrote:the language skills of most Dutchies are terribly overrated!


The same thing goes for Iceland and Norway. I admit I had assumed (from TV) that all Norwegians could speak perfect English or at least understand it well. Well, it's true a lot of people understand English in the larger cities, but that doesn't mean that everyone or most can carry on rather advanced discussions such as we are having now. In fact, I would say most of my relatives speak very little to basic English, which includes cousins of mine in their teens, 20s, and mid 30s (a few with university degrees as well). The older ones, over 60 or so, speak rather heavy regional dialects and have a difficult time understanding others. They live in a rural area though, so who knows...

In Iceland, I noticed a lot of people speak English, but if I were to ask someone a question such as, "can I speak with...?", or "there is a problem with..I need to change that, how do I get to this location from...et al, they would often mumble to someone else in Icelandic and get them to help out. I've had many people begin speaking Icelandic to me over the phone at the university as well... Perhaps this is because many simply aren't used to speaking English, but may understand much of what is being said.

Anyway, I apologise if I've veered too far off topic. :oops:

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even further off the main thread

Postby pasalupo » 2005-09-16, 8:23

Ok, this is even more off the main thread, but just to back what Gormur wrote. Yesterday the Norwegian paper Aftenposten had an article about insufficient language skill of students. For those who can read Norwegian, here is the link to the article:
http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks ... 114399.ece

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Postby Leviwosc » 2005-09-18, 1:27

Gormur wrote:The same thing goes for Iceland and Norway. I admit I had assumed (from TV) that all Norwegians could speak perfect English or at least understand it well. Well, it's true a lot of people understand English in the larger cities, but that doesn't mean that everyone or most can carry on rather advanced discussions such as we are having now. In fact, I would say most of my relatives speak very little to basic English, which includes cousins of mine in their teens, 20s, and mid 30s (a few with university degrees as well). The older ones, over 60 or so, speak rather heavy regional dialects and have a difficult time understanding others. They live in a rural area though, so who knows...

In Iceland, I noticed a lot of people speak English, but if I were to ask someone a question such as, "can I speak with...?", or "there is a problem with..I need to change that, how do I get to this location from...et al, they would often mumble to someone else in Icelandic and get them to help out. I've had many people begin speaking Icelandic to me over the phone at the university as well... Perhaps this is because many simply aren't used to speaking English, but may understand much of what is being said.


I think it's time to admit that English is just a language like all other languages, with certain difficulties, which can be very different to people from various places on our planet.

Ron.
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