Why do Dutch and Scandinavians speak English so well?

LivingStone   Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:16 pm GMT
''Unlike well spoken standard English the Dutch Language is extremely guttural and harsh in comparison with English''

This is not true, Standard Belgian Dutch is softer than RP: goed [hu:t]
RP has some yucky harsh sounds like th(at) and th(is)...
Pat   Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:06 pm GMT
Which sounds do you consider harsh? The th sound? I love the th sound.
12345   Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:06 pm GMT
Dubbing is terrible.. Because I have a bad hearing I also look at someones mouth when he's speaking.. And if mouth+sound don't comply with each other I'm lost.
think before you say reta   Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:22 am GMT
<<Unkind people would say that the reason the Dutch, in particular, are excellent speakers of the English Language, and compulsorily begin learning it at a very early age is because their own spoken Language is hardly music to the ear! Unlike well spoken standard English the Dutch Language is extremely guttural and harsh in comparison with English which, as has been stated in previous posts, originates from the same source historically, more or less....Indo European of the northern variety within Europe itself.>>

Excuse me? What is this idiocy about music to the ears? Is a language supposed to sound like music? If I wanted music I would take singing lessons. No, whether my language sounds like music or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether I want to learn well a foreign language. Harsh and guttural is actually a very positive quality according to many. I love harshness and gutturalness. I hate greasy mumbled potato-in-the-mouth languages like English. So why did I learn English? It's not because my native language is harsh, that's for sure, and it's also not because English is beautiful, that's even surer.
Ovarios   Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:04 am GMT
<<It's because they are unpatriotic socialist PC countries which have an inferiority complex.>>

I absolutly agree, all Danes I've talked to in the internet, think their language is ugly and English is "cool", I guess it most be the same for more small insignificant languages worldwide, the just go by whatever world language there is at the moment.

That would never happen with Spanish speakers, they know their language is really important, easy and beautiful so they have no intention on learning English properly.
kw   Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:06 am GMT
Why do people say that English is a potato in the mouth language? Danish sounds like a potato in the mouth language, but English is a very strong, masculine language.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:10 am GMT
The similar term used in the UK is "plum in the mouth" - I've never heard of "potato in the mouth" before. Plum in the mouth is mostly used slighty, or perhaps not so slightly, derogatively to describe a manner of speaking which indicates "high social class" - ultra posh in other words, and especially when it emanates from a male. If you look at some of those old b & w British films showing people speaking this way you will see that they hardly open their mouths as they talk - probably they're worried about the plum falling out.

"Plummy" is a short derivative of this expression and means the same thing, and usually refers to the English English version, although it's not unknown to hear a Scottish type of "plummy" speak but it's much rarer than the English English and invariably involves an elderly person...and probably one from Morningside. ;-)

Yes - I reiterate - Language often does sound like "music to the ears" if it comes across in a pleasant way - soft and gentle on the ear, if you want me to go off into poetic mode, and in my opinion, as a native born English speaker, the English Language is considerably more likely to sound sweeter and more mellifluous than many other Languages simply because it doesn't contain very throaty and quite harsh gargly sounds characteristic of Languages such as Dutch, particularly, and to a lesser extent Danish.

When I was in Copenhagen I was quite surprised at the harshness of Danish - it didn't sound the way I thought all Scandinavian Languages did. I had never knowingly heard Danish people talk before. Quite honestly I didn't like it all that much, and I'd rather hear a Swede or a Norwegian.

Denmark is closer to both Germany (it has a land border) and the Netherlands so maybe there is some kind of a connection there - maybe I need to study the history of Danish. I went on a short half day trip over to Sweden when I was in Copenhagen and the difference in the two Languages was quite noticeable.

That isn't to say that some styles of spoken English are not unpleasant to listen to though. A good example of this is the extreme kind of Scouse (the accent of Liverpool and Merseyside) - they all sound as if they have a problem with catarrh or adenoids.

The Edinburgh accent on the other hand........now that IS music to the ear! Pure symphony..... ;-)
BeyoncĂ©LOVESTyra   Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:50 pm GMT
I like Denvonshire accent, and Bristolese is nice too. Not too keen on Southestern accents or EastAnglia/Norwich...very ugly. I love WelshEnglish, very nice...
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:58 pm GMT
It's Bristolian and not Bristolese! ;-)

Bristol - a very pleasant city but hilly in places....very distinct and quite rhotic accent in a true West Country way, as you will hear in the following clip.

The guy in the second clip? I don't think he's a true Bristolian at all - I reckon he's an invading impostor from Bath...they all speak "posh" in Bath! Bath is packed to the gunnels with history and charm...little wonder Jane Austen set many of her novels there.

Bristolian accent - Sample No 1 A young guy

Bristolian accent? Not so sure....I reckon he's an invading impostor from nearby Bath..
Collin   Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:01 pm GMT
--That would never happen with Spanish speakers, they know their language is really important, easy and beautiful so they have no intention on learning English properly.--

I think Spanish is an incredibly harsh language. There's nothing beautiful about it at all.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:04 pm GMT
PS: The second lad in the seond clip...the blond guy...I don't think he comes from Bath either....in fact, I don't think he comes from the UK at all! Listen to his accent closely, and to the way he pronounces words like "ravenously"! No - he's no Bristolian, nor is he from Bath nor is he from the UK at all....I reckon he's...not sure....maybe Scandinavian? I don't think he's Dutch....or German....possibly he's a Finn.....?
12345   Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:39 pm GMT
The blonde guy @ 0:53 is Dutch.. It's also recorded in a Dutch shoe store, called Bristol.
12345   Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:43 pm GMT
Also there's info on the stores window which is completely in Dutch.

I see:
Herfst - Autumn
Than in the store I see 'Maat xx'. (Size xx) (Shoe sizes of course)

The names in the credits are purely Dutch.
Julien   Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:45 pm GMT
"Well in Belgium that's common. The Francophones don't want to speak Dutch, and oftenly their English is very bad. Where the Dutch speakers in Belgium don't like to speak French but they can speak English kinda well."

This is sad.

Frankly, I'm french and I don't care about my "french accent", I speak "globish", I can read english, it's enought for me, I don't really like english language.
I prefer to be fluent in spanish, in dutch or in korean because I love these languages.
Julien   Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:56 pm GMT
"That would never happen with Spanish speakers, they know their language is really important, easy and beautiful so they have no intention on learning English properly"

You don't need to speak english properly, you just need to be understood by foreigners who don't speak your language and whose english is not their mother tongue. So who cares if you don't speak well.