Monday, December 30, 2013

Listening to Dutch on London Streets:

Surprisingly, I have overheard quite a few conversations in Dutch whilst strolling through the streets of London; it's sprinkled here and there, and–unsurprisingly–most often the Dutch speaker can (to the trained eye) almost immediately be identified as being from the Netherlands if the time if taken to observe mannerisms, dress, and interactions with others nearby. As I continue my evolution with the Dutch language, I realize that I am a better speaker than I lend myself credit; people understand me and I understand them. However, it's indeed interesting to eavesdrop on Dutch conversations while outside the Netherlands; often the general consensus amongst those speakers is that–obviously–'no one nearby can understand us'. How wrong. Being a non-EU citizen, for a short while longer at least, I was required by the Dutch government to learn the language; they foot the bill, so I put up little protest, although tears were shed during the learning process. And now, reflecting on the last year–at the beginning of which I was informed that I had passed the 'Dutch as a second language' exams (and I say exams, plural, because the examination process is an intense two day affair, indeed)–I can now, and with confidence, say that I am truly bilingual. What a great way to approach 2014; that is, with confidence.