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Culture shock

On the whole, we Dutch like the way our Flemish-Belgian neighbours speak. In their mouths, and to our ears, our common language sounds much more carefree, fluffy and light, and their soft 'g', quaint expressions and sheer incomprehensible dialects have a mesmerising quality not matched by anything we folk from "over the rivers" can produce. To be sure, for all their seeming easy-goingness they're also a bit anal about preserving the purity of the language, but we understand that their occasional rants at us for allowing it to become polluted by too many French, German and English words stem from their having had to endure centuries of foreign rule in which Flemish was frowned upon. So we forgive them this quirk and the fact that 9 times out of 10, their team wins in the TV know-your-language game that has been going on forever...and in the annual Groot Dictee der Nederlandse Taal (National Written Test; God knows what idiot thought that up for an evening's entertainment).

So it is with some mild sense of stupefaction that I have just come off the phone with a Belgian colleague who in the course of conversation informed me that nowadays, in Belgium, it's considered quite cool to be able to speak a properly Dutch Dutch. Because, even as we associate Flemish with a sense of joie de vivre and a certain je ne sais quoi-but-we-like-it, so they associate our way of talking and our accents with "a cosmopolitan outlook and success". Huh...fancy that!

Still, they don't think much of our lager. Neither do I.

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Comments

( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
irishabastard
Aug. 18th, 2004 08:42 am (UTC)
Can't comment on on the language factor, cause mot so much with the speaking it, but have to agree on the lager. Loved, loved, loved the fermented hops when I was in Brussels.
gamiila
Aug. 19th, 2004 12:24 am (UTC)
I'm meeting bogwitch, calove, hesadevil and whoever else may come along, at the Bierodrome next Thursday, to sample those hops until there aren't any left...I'm quite looking forward to it!
db2305
Aug. 18th, 2004 10:57 am (UTC)
Couldn't agree more, both on the language and the lager. Very fattening, though.

One should close one's eyes when listening to the cute Belgian accent, though. Dutch men are prettier! More with the tall, less with the moustaches, glasses and beer bellies...
gamiila
Aug. 19th, 2004 12:33 am (UTC)
One should close one's eyes when listening to the cute Belgian accent, though. Dutch men are prettier!

Oh I don't know...you don't seem to have done too badly ;-)

Anyway, I was in Utrecht window shopping last Saturday -- didn't you once tell me you had trouble finding any nice shoes there? Well, you won't this winter: I saw some great footwear displayed! I might actually go back for a pair or two...
db2305
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:27 am (UTC)
Give me a hint about which shop? Although I've found a few nice ones myself I'm thinking of buying...
gamiila
Aug. 19th, 2004 05:59 am (UTC)
It wasn't any one particular shop, it was all over...I remember there were a couple of flat brown suede over the knee pirate-y boots (coming out of Hoog Catharijne, turn right at the market, follow along the street for about 5-7 mins, left hand side somewhere) that I quite liked; then there was a shoe shop in a street called Hekelstraat/-steeg/-veld, I think that's where I saw the purple suede flats that were also available in rusty red and yellow(?), green(?), can't remember...But of the usual high street outlets, Dr. Adams carries some interesting shoes/boots in their fall collection ( a checkered little ankle-boot, e.g. as well as quite chunky-looking cowboy boots in a nice dark red) and across the street at Fred de la Bretonnière, there was a black leather boot in the window with a price tag of 179,90 euros - flat-soled, non-pointy, half-high, with an inside zipper and an extra bit of leather on top that closes with a couple of pushdowns at the back...cut so you'd have a bit of skin showing there. Quite intriguing, I liked.
( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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