On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Spreekt u Engels?

I'm halfway through my Dutch lessons this week. In fact, we turned in a "take home" test on Monday. I thought I did well.

The class is going ok. I'm getting pretty used to all the mind-blowing grammar points, so at least I don't always feel quite so beaten down after each class. I have to say that Japanese is easier to learn than Dutch.

At this point, I can confidently ask, in Dutch, if the person I'm talking to speaks English. I can also say that I don't speak Dutch. I think this is good progress. So, when people call our house looking for the mother of Ahmed, I can at least get them to quiz me about Ahmed in English. I dunno what Ahmed is up to, but they're always calling our house looking for his mother. He must be a very naughty boy.

I dunno what this says about Dutch culture, and maybe it just speaks more about the writer of my Dutch book, but the examples and sample conversations are really weird, often negative and, in a way, kind of inappropriate. The scenes often take place in a bar with the characters getting too drunk. In one, a husband is out dancing with this secretary while his wife is at home taking care of the kids. In this particular scene, a bum manages to woo the secretary away from the boss with tales of flying her off to Paris in his private jet. And actually, my interpretation of this person is that he was a bum, but the text actually referred to him as a "dirty, old man." I couldn't make this up if I tried.

My seemingly benign homework for today included the following sentences:

1) I don't think he worked hard the whole year.
2) I thought you made an honest mistake.
3) Gerard Depardieu is so ugly that everyone finds him funny.
4) Hamburgers were tastier when Clinton was still president.
5) Mr. de Vries stayed on the toilet all day when his stepmother was visiting.
6) Most people get drunk after drinking 20 beers.



Blogger PeeKay said...

wow #4 is way too much!!! what would they say for bush?

hell was a safer place when bush was president?

i cant even come up with one as good as 4.

3:10 PM GMT+1

Anonymous redsnapper said...

Last month I learned that Piemontese schools apparently teach kids the following key English phrases:

"The book is on the table."
"Where is Mr. Brown going?"
"Mr. Brown is going to the beach."

Useless. But with the skills taught in this Dutch course you can form sentences like:

[so-and-so] is so ugly that after drinking 20 beers I made an honest mistake.

Now, I can see where that might come in handy.

4:27 PM GMT+1


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