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You Speak WHAT??? (Or - Adventures In A Second Language)
I am still amazed that I got the same Grade (B) in both my Dutch GCSE and my German one.  Considering I never learned Dutch at school (but did a two year course in German prior to my exams) it is a very good grade.

Of course, my parents spoke between themselves in Dutch at home and my Mum had a wonderful habit of starting a sentence in English and just substituting any English word she forgot with the Dutch one then continuing the sentence in English.  Any non-Dutch speakers had to wait until she realised what she had done before they got a description of the English word she had forgotten.

I was not quite so lucky!!! Her method of teaching me Dutch involved me having to work out what she was saying by deduction.  "Would you like a boterham?" was one of the easier questions for me to learn the meaning of - If I said "yes please" a plate would appear in front of me with at least one sandwich on it - "no thank you" would leave me in a sandwich-free zone.

I also very quickly learned that - in Dutch - "at" and "on" are interchangeable.  As in they are both covered in most sentences by "op".  When I was little - any request for me to sit "at" the table (as in when my Dad said it) turned into a reqest to sit "on" the table when my Mum said it.

After buying a book in Rotterdam last week (Unfortunately I didn't manage to buy a "Friesian to Dutch" phrasebook when I was in Leeuwarden) - I am even more stunned about my GCSE Grade for Dutch.


"The ABC of the Rotterdam Dialect"

I could really have done with that book when my Mum, Oma, and Tante Jannie (Oma's sister) were all alive - especially when they were all in the same room together chatting.  I would have loved an audio version of it too,

When I was reading it I learned that three words and a phrase that Mum frequently used were not Dutch (as I had previously thought) but direct from the Rotterdam Dialect.  (I suppose it is a bit like trying to learn English when your teacher keeps throwing in words and phrases from Geordie or Glaswegian without explaining they are not part of Standard English.)

At least now I can stop wondering why on Earth the Darleks from Dr Who kept getting mentioned in conversations involving my parents and any Dutch friends or relatives they spoke to - "Daluk" apparently means either "soon" or "immediately" to your friendly native of Rotterdam.

Speaking of Rotterdam.  I bought myself a couple of tshirts when I was there.  One was a "Black Tshirt With Yellow Writing" and the other one was a Rotterdam Tshirt.


"Zwart Tshirt Met Gele Text" or "Black Tshirt With Yellow Text".
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