Maybe when you read the title of this post you thought I was going to go on about how silly it is to learn a language that so few people speak and that is not so useful outside of the Low Countries. I sometimes had the feeling when I first came here, especially during the frustrating days, that I was putting a lot of time and effort into a rather useless pursuit. Depending upon where that tricky creature called life decides to take me in the future maybe my knowledge of Dutch will prove useful, or maybe not. It’s hard to know, but that’s not really what this post is about…
Along the journey of acquiring some proficiency in this mysterious little language there have been lots of laughs. Anyone that’s started out on the monumental journey of learning a second language can attest to the fact that it always challenges you to see things from a different perspective… to break out of the linguistic norms that have structured your life and thought processes up until the present and to begin to realize that not only are there many different ways to express your thoughts and feelings, but there are also many different ways of living life.Read More
There are a
few lot of words in Dutch that I just can never seem to get right. This list is really a running one, as I always seem to be forgetting things, or my knowledge of certain words seems to become hazy after not hearing or reading them for a while. I thought I might share my follies here as a bit of comic relief. I do have to laugh sometimes because it often creates an unusual mental picture, especially in regard to the first example.
I had another broken brain moment the other day. Which is nothing new, really, but unfortunately this one happened during an exam. Usually this frustration arises when I have to write in Spanish or in Dutch but this time it happened while I was writing in English.Read More
In this video David Crystal, a linguist with great authority on the English language, discusses his favorite words in the English language.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my favorite words. I don’t necessarily think I have chosen any favorite words consciously, but I think I subconsciously choose to use certain words and certain constructions of words without realizing it.
This phenomenon is even more interesting to me when I think about it in the context of learning a second or third language.Read More
If my second winter here has made anything clear about the relationship that Belgium and I have with each other, it is that she often does little to cheer me up during this time of year. The combination of gray and drizzly skies, permanently statically-charged hair, and an aching brain brimming with language and terminology combined with the stress of approaching exams in multiple languages has made me realize that during this time of year it is more important than ever to see the things I love about this place and to cling to them, allowing them to warm up my thoughts and inspire me to treat Belgium a little kinder until she starts to return the kind thoughts in spring.
Here are five things I can say that I appreciate about Belgium:Read More