Friday, 13 April 2007

advantages of my job #3 : Dutch lessons

We have 4 official languages where I work - our official working language is English, but we all must speak one of the other 3 (French, Dutch or German) and can take classes in another of the 4 (some might say that I need English classes to correct my American but anyway). So I have been taking Dutch classes for the past couple years.

All French companies have to contribute to an OPCA and a certain percentage of the total employer's costs have to go to training (or something like that). In larger companies, getting training approved is a long process. But since there are only 14 of us here, we all get a ton of training hours for Excel, learning about European Commission stuff and languages (most of which we never even use because if we did, we wouldn't have time to work).

I chose Dutch over German because it seemed simpler, I'd like to move to Belgium* one day and it's just so darn cute. Dutch has lots little words like ook, naa, gaa, op,... and it sounds like you're speaking English with backwards grammar with a post nasal drip. I've always enjoyed going to the Netherlands and have always felt more or less comfortable with Dutch people I've met (although Dutch consultants are real snakes!). After some internet research and a bit of personal reflection, I now know why:
1) the rijstaffel (my favorite meal ever!)
2) the Tappan Zee bridge, Brooklyn and the Oranges
3) I would have grown up speaking Dutch if it weren't for Nathaniel Courthope, (by the way, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a good read).

*The Dutch will say Flemish is the same language but the Flemish will say it's totally different, like English and American maybe?

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