Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm not rude, I'm Dutch!

I guess fun articles like this are why I read international newspapers:
In his book, Native English for Dutch People, essential reading for the international business traveller, Ronald van de Krol stresses the need in English to use words such as 'thank you,' 'please' or 'sorry' approximately once per sentence. Anyone who doesn't simply isn't speaking good English, and what's more, is an unspeakable oaf. That's not something most people would aspire to, and yet that is exactly what many Dutch people - unconsciously - do.

Several people here have remarked similar things to me, like "che, all you Americans say please and thank you every other word." This is true, this is considered good manners in the US of Americaments. Not really so here. In fact, awhile ago I read an article that foreigners saying por favor (that'd be please) is frequently grating to Spanish-speaking ears because of the differences. [Note: if you don't speak Spanish, keep saying por favor. Don't worry about it.] And yes, they definitely do not say please and thank you in the same way we do.

I find this topic interesting. It is definitely relevant to English speakers in relationships with Spanish speakers. Despite what my spanish teachers told me, after a certain age people learn languages by translating their native languages. English-speaking ears, Latinas can seem a little bossy. It is common to use the imperative form "Come here!" and not "Please come here, love?" (translated, obviously). And while you may know that, your brain knowledge may not always translate to heart knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Me too! Dutch, I mean. I got at least as much as you. Maybe more. Good to see you back online.
Unka Tomas

Evan said...

I guess you've got double which still've got a last name.

Been meaning to call y'all but never think to call when the schedules might overlap.