How come Dutch people are so good at languages?

Ed   Wednesday, September 22, 2004, 20:37 GMT
In Bulgarian it's also Holandia, and there is no word for The Netherlands.
fernando   Thursday, September 23, 2004, 10:02 GMT
Mx Manic,

About lazyness and french people and their famous learning languages. I have been at school like most of the french and i had english, american teachers of english and spanish teachers of spanish.

I was in public school, of course it's not the common rule for everyone, but i think you don't think, your mouth just use the usual cliches about the french around the world.

About latin people, lazyness? why not! but it still being a cliché!
Maya l'abeille   Thursday, September 23, 2004, 16:44 GMT
The Netherlands are also said to be a "flat" country. This is quite right, you can harldy see any mountain there if you look around. I find it pleasant, because it enables to see the beautiful landscape very far. The Dutch, one the other hand, say they miss the mountains and they like going down to France or Switzerland to find them.

As I was on a train in the Netherlands, I saw loads of lakes, swamps and streams out of the window. It looks like an aquatic country, also. :)

How do people usually get around there in town? I hear they use bikes rather than cars, is that true?
Björn   Thursday, September 23, 2004, 17:50 GMT
Yes Maya we do have a lot of bikes, the number of bikes is actually about the same as the number of of citizens we have(about 17 million)! I think this is because our country is so small, we have to travel much shorter distances than people in larger countries. But we do have a lot of cars also, about 6 or 7 million I think. Yes we have a lot of vehicles in our small country!
Mxsmanic   Thursday, September 23, 2004, 18:46 GMT
One thing I notice about people in Latin countries is characteristically fragile ego and an inability to withstand even the most gentle criticism (indeed, there is a tendency to interpret _everything_ as criticism, even when it is nothing of the kind). Part of the macho mindset, I suppose.

Anyway, many clichés have a basis in fact.
Nico   Thursday, September 23, 2004, 21:22 GMT
One thing I notice about anti-Latin people is a characteristically strong tendency to make clichés and more clichés and, against all odds or common sense, trying to maintain them. This applies also to anti-Germanic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hobbit or anti-Klingon people :-)
Jordi   Friday, September 24, 2004, 09:49 GMT
Good on you Nico! M'ha agradat això. I liked that.
nic   Friday, September 24, 2004, 10:07 GMT
Well done Nico!!!

1 thing i hate with these kind of anti latin people is they feeling of superiority, they know all the things and latin do not know anything. They just smile when we talk (not all the people of course), so they cannot interpret seriously what we say because we are naturally lazy...

MxManic, "tendency to interpret _everything_ as criticism", you should know criticism can be negative or........positive.
Kees   Friday, September 24, 2004, 10:50 GMT
I don't understand the posts 'bout the latin ego, this is going about the Dutch, not about the French or so?
Oui, oui, "Je parle un peu français" and "Hablo español por un año". But many latins don't speak Dutch, and only some of them speaks our brotherlanguage German. "Deutschland ist ganz toll. Ich ben schon drei mal in Dortmund gefahren."

But never mind.


Maya l'abeille   Friday, September 24, 2004, 13:12 GMT
First of all, CHEERS, YELLS AND APPLAUSES to Nico!

Now, Björn and Kees must be feeling a bit abandonned as we've been talking about those lazy societies in which Nico, Nic, Jordi, I and some others live or have lived for some time. So, let's get out of our hammocks and let's go back to Björn, Kees and their fellow citizens.

They set a good example using bikes rather than cars. Going on a bike is not pollutant, healthy, pleasant and much more convenient than a car as you can park it anywhere you like when getting around in town. I use mine to go to university everyday.

Now I have a question about Dutch language and its dialects. Are there many of them? In what cases do you use them and in what cases do you use standard Dutch?


[Yo también quiero hablar castellano. Me he puesto a estudiarlo.
Parlo anche italiano. Per altro, sono metà italiana — cioè, sono davvero pigra, secondo una persona. Ma purtroppo, i miei nonni si sono dimenticati la loro madrelingua. E quindi devo imparare tutto da sola.
Aber ich habe mein Deutsch vergessen! The reason is that I took Italian instead when I entered secondary school.
Now I major in "English language, civilization and culture" at university. I enjoy using foreign languages a lot and I thought it would be funny to write something in several of them for once. Sorry for those who don't know them, but I didn't say anything very important anyway.]
Easterner   Friday, September 24, 2004, 23:16 GMT
>>Well Dutch is far more phonetic than English, and every letter is pronounced, so that'll be easier to learn. On the other hand, the Dutch word order has many different forms. There are also a lot of small words (insertions and prepositions etc) that 'fill up the gaps' between the main words. In Dutch verbs have more forms in English..
I think overall the structure of Dutch is more complicated than English.<<

I am working for a Dutch-owned company at the moment, and even if I use English (or very rarely German) with my Dutch colleagues, I sometimes have to translate Dutch texts, and have acquired a basic knowledge of Dutch (have only learnt it a little though). I do have problems with Dutch sentence structure sometimes. At the surface Dutch resembles German the most, but I have a feeling it's grammatically (especially syntactically) more complex, maybe equally complex as French. And the pronunciation is quite unique (guttural, yeah...), I have problems understanding it at times.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised about is that when I was in a relatively small town in The Netherlands, I could basically use English with practically everybody, especially the younger people (older people sometimes have a curious Dutch-like pronunciation of English, and occasionally mix Dutch words into their speech - I guess they are better at German). In a similar situation in Hungary, especially in a smaller town, most people would just stare at you and wonder if you are perhaps from another planet. :-)

Kees, is er een groot onderschil tussen gesproken Nederlands en Vlaams? (Is there a big difference between spoken Dutch and Flemish?)
FYI   Saturday, September 25, 2004, 00:39 GMT
lazyness < incorrect
laziness < correct
blank   Saturday, September 25, 2004, 06:05 GMT
I noticed the same thing about the Dutch. They were excellent English speakers. I couldn't understand it. I don't know how good they would be though at learning a latin language though. Any Germanic language will be easy for them to learn. The reason countries like France or Germany are do not posess this skill I think is due to a greater sense of nationalism to hold on to their cultural identity. The Dutch pretty much have to adapt. The educational systems in those Germanic and Scandanavian countries also have a reputation for being better. Don't ask me why though. Just be thankful that they speak English and we don't have to learn their languages (although I'm sure they're nice languages).
Damian   Saturday, September 25, 2004, 10:46 GMT
I wonder if there's a link between speaking the Dutch language and people growing to enormously tall heights? I know I'm a much shorter than average guy, but when I was in the Netherlands I though I was in the Land of the Giants. ;-)
Mxsmanic   Saturday, September 25, 2004, 11:09 GMT
The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, but nobody knows why.