Dutch? English? Dutchlish?
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Thread: Dutch? English? Dutchlish?

  1. #1

    Question Dutch? English? Dutchlish?

    Hello Everyone!

    I have a quick question for which I'm hoping to get answers from the people who know best - those who live 'across the pond.'

    I'm going to be spending a month of my summer in the Netherlands doing research on water management practices as a required part of my degree (well the requirement is an out-of-country internship/research project). I have been told by my university that I don't need to worry about learning any Dutch because "99% of the country speaks English." While I would usually trust my advisers, this seems surprising considering the official national language is Dutch...not English. I'm going to be working with the Bureau of Water Management, so I'm concerned that because it's a governmental organization, the majority of my research paperwork will be in Dutch.

    So, my friends from across the pond, should I start brushing up on a foreign language while I still have time?
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

  2. #2

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    Even without the studying bit, it can't hurt to learn a little, even if its just please, thanks, good morning, I would like to buy... etc...

  3. #3

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    I was planning on doing that, at least knowing enough to not look like an idiot I just am unsure whether the paperwork I'll need to review, books I'll need to read, and people I'll need to interview will only be or speak dutch...
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

  4. #4

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    Well, I'm not Dutch, but I've met quite a lot of people from the Netherlands and they're generally quite good at English. So, I don't think you'll have much trouble getting by. Can't say for sure, but there's a good chance that the paperwork you mention will be available translated to English as The Netherlands is part of the European Union. Lots of official paperwork must be available in various languages due to EU law. Otherwise you have google translate. Learning a foreign language well enough to fully understand technical or scientific material is quite difficult, and would take years.
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  5. #5

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    I spent about a month moving about Holland sleeping in the various parks and met hundreds of people...the only person I met who didn't speak English was from Czechoslovakia...

  6. #6

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    I'm so glad to hear all of this! I am getting excited about the trip, finalizing details with my uni and all that. It's really an exciting prospect. I'm working on my thesis over there, which I'm hoping to continue during doctoral studies. It's kinda like realizing what I "want to be when I grow up" I'm just glad I can do it in English (lol)
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

  7. #7

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    It's always nice to learn some
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  8. #8

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    I'm dutch...

    And, yeah, 99% of the dutch speaks english.
    (at least well enough to hold a conversation)

    One issue you might come across is the written language...
    You should find out if your reports should be in english or dutch... written english might be an issue for some coworkers...
    Also, any professional literature you'll find here will be in dutch.

    Holland is such a small country, we need to speak other languages, no one else speaks ours :P
    I started learning english at school when I was 10, German and french (closest neighbours) at 13... and had to finish high school with at least 2 foreign languages.

    Hope this helps :P
    Mourn
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mourner View Post

    Holland is such a small country, we need to speak other languages, no one else speaks ours :P
    I started learning english at school when I was 10, German and french (closest neighbours) at 13... and had to finish high school with at least 2 foreign languages.

    Hope this helps :P
    Mourn
    And the sad thing is that around the States, some of the students are lucky to have learn English let alone 2 other languages.....
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  10. #10
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mud duck View Post
    And the sad thing is that around the States, some of the students are lucky to have learn English let alone 2 other languages.....
    Try living in England.
    I've relations coming back over from Edmonton, Alberta to Newcastle in a couple of weeks, going to be interesting dealing with the Geordie translation barrier.
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    And at least try to use the language a little or you could be branded as a stupid American. At least while in France we found that mutilating the French language got better respect than refusing to even try.

  12. #12

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    Thank you guys so much! I've decided to borrow from the library a collection of CDs on Dutch for every day life. My trips to school take me about 45 minutes, so hopefully I'll learn a little something

    I appreciate you guys taking the time to help me. When I'm actually over there, you can bet there will be a thread dedicated to the Stupid American Abroad - considering I've never stepped foot outside the continental US...
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

  13. #13

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    I'm Dutch as well and can confirm that indeed almost everyone speaks English. I'm doing my Masters now, which is entirely in English, and that's not an exception here.

    However, not everyone you run into on the street can really discuss their work or conversate on a more scientific level, but I think with the people at such an institute it should be OK. However, like my fellow Dutchman said, the paperwork will be different I think; most likely to be all Dutch. Not in any way sure though, but you should check. If you have problems translating or anything shoot me a message.

    Oh and about learning Dutch...that's probably not going to work, especially not in a few months whilst not living here. It's one of the most irregular languages there are, with sounds you won't come close to being able to pronounce.
    Last edited by ecthelion; 01-21-2012 at 08:23 PM.

  14. #14
    Superfreak!!! Sand Rat's Avatar
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    In my experience, learning some of the local language, regardless of what it is helps. I know it helped me in my dealings with the guys who worked for me in Baghdad.
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  15. #15

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    I remember my times in Italy well.. With my perfect english (I'm dutch), they couldn't understand me because they only spoke italian. That pisses me off a lot. You'll notice we do have our own accent when talking english. But it's considered odd if you're dutch and you don't know english.

    Still... only 2 dutch words you need to know though:
    Bier alstublieft!
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  16. #16

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    alright - I have to know. What's it mean?

    I was talking with my coworkers today and realized I need to know only a few phrases to maximize my time in the Netherlands
    - Where's the restroom
    - Can I have something to eat/drink
    - Do you play magic the gathering
    and
    -are you single?

    (lol) I think it'll work
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

  17. #17

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    Mines means: Beer please!
    yours:
    - Waar is het toilet (or: 'waar is de plee?', if you're less polite)
    - Mag ik iets eten/drinken
    - Speel je Magic the gathering (or: Doe je aan magic the gathering)
    - Heb je een vriendje?

    Also, if I hear someone in Amsterdam say that, I'm going to ask if you're from CMON hehehe
    Quote Originally Posted by uberdark View Post
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  18. #18

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Luna View Post
    Still... only 2 dutch words you need to know though:
    Bier alstublieft!
    Bier is more than enough there mate!

    Anyhoo, you'll learn some Dutch words on the first day anyway, though if they really will help you in a normal discussion is anothere thing!
    Oh, and whereabouts in Holland? We're small but not that small! :P

  20. #20

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    I'm pretty sure I'll be based out of Rotterdam but I'll know for sure with in the next couple of weeks.

    @A Luna - I'm sure that will make for some interesting conversation!
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

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