Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dutch ? Or English wannabees ?

We have a strange habit. I have been asked about it before and I honestly have no idea why we do it. Is it because we can? Is it because it is softer then what we are expected to use? Is it because we can use the training? Or is it just (one of) our thing(s)? With Hanneke around it even happens more often with the added bonus of the regional touch she brings with her.

What I am talking about? Which language we use at home. On a normal day it isn't uncommon that no Dutch word is spoken. All communication is in English or as Nathalie would say 'our English'. As she has studied both Dutch and English at university she is a purist. Whereas I just mix and match my languages as I tend to not search for the correct word if it doesn't come to me immediately. I just throw in the Dutch word middle sentence and expect her to catch up. I didn't even realize until she pointed it out to me that I throw in German words or whole sentences as well. Weird thing is that at work I'm solely Dutch unless works requires me to switch.

So at the moment we have Hanneke, who has lived in Australia for the last 20 years, Nathalie, who has made a career out of translating between English and Dutch and vice versa the last 25 years and myself, who has this odd believe that reading books in their original language (mostly English or American-English) does more justice to the intention of the author. Even though his partner for the last 19 years has been translating books for a living. (I've assisted her on some occasions, mostly when she was busy with 'sports' books and needed help with the technicalities of the terms).
Of course Hanneke's English comes with a rather heavy Australian accent these days. Nath usually uses proper English-English although she can do a few dialects. And I ? I tend to just produce words. LOL.

Last time we were in England a man came up to us and asked me what region I came from. He figured Nath to come from the Cambridge region but he had a really hard time figuring me out. We had a great laugh when we told him we both were from the Amsterdam region. We spend the next hours with him using all sorts of dialects.

We've had a Dutch couple, who overheard us talking English the entire evening, gossiping in Dutch about us. They got a shock when I switched to good old Dutch to put them straight.

We never said to each other "Let's talk in English at home" and of course Dutch is used just as much but it is a strange thing to adopt a language not your own for usage at home. Yes, Dutch culture is heavily influenced these days by music, films and TV-shows from the UK and USA but if that was the main reason more in The Netherlands would do what we do.

So I ask you: Are we still Dutch or are we English wannabees ?

No comments:

Post a Comment