English is just plain sexy

Baywatch babes

It’s news: slick English is more attractive than stuffy Dutch. The Netherlands’ Wim de Bie, famous Dutch artist and writer, has confirmed what everybody already knows: English is sexier than Dutch. The small blurb (in Dutch) is about the Dutch word “badmeester” (lifeguard, pool attendant) being replaced by “aqua leisure host” (Club Med anyone?) because it makes lifeguard training more attractive to potential students. I’m drowning already!

Now for some well-deserved ranting. Here are some common assumptions I believe are made about the use of English and Dutch.

– English makes things sound more international.
– English is more attractive to young people than Dutch.
– English makes things sound fancier than Dutch.
– Dutch puts off tourists and expats (i.e. people assumed to be rich)
– Dunglish is the best possible compromise.

If any of this is true, then in theory, telling foreigners and foreign nationals they need to learn to Dutch in order to integrate and/or find a decent job is bull. They could learn English and do better than the average Dutch person. Moreover, if they already know English, chances they are already doing better than the average Dutch person. It stings like stepping on a dead jellyfish at the beach.

16 Responses to “English is just plain sexy”

  1. Beun says:

    At the risk of making an utter fool of myself for not getting the pun or something like that… Why is “WIM de Bie” written like “WIE de Bie”?

  2. Natashka says:

    I’m the fool 🙂 I corrected it. Thanks!

  3. Larry says:

    Dunglish is the best possible compromise

    The problem is that the people who use Dunglish don’t see it that way. They either think they’re actually using English or that it’s okay to use Dutch with as many English words and expressions thrown into it as possible, used correctly or incorrectly.

  4. Natashka says:

    That is exactly how I feel as well, although I have gotten through to a large amount of people with this site and my work that Dunglish is not a good thing. I don’t like the disprect certain people in the Netherlands have for the English language. You could argue the same for their own language. And you could argue that for many countries.

    The flipside is that as a native speaker of English I do have an advantage and that doesn’t seem right! But my resident’s permit says otherwise 🙂

  5. Els says:

    In elke taal zie je dat er woorden uit andere talen in sluipen en daarover wordt al eeuwen gemopperd door taalpuristen, maar hoort in feite bij de manier waarop talen zich ontwikkelen. Dunglish is een andere zaak, daar is een vreemd soort minderwaardigheidsgevoel ten opzichte van het Nederlands de motor om zonder enige kennis van zaken het Engels te misbruiken en onzin uit te braken. Liefst met verlies van informatie, want Dunglish dient ook om het gebrek aan inhoud te camoufleren. Een sexy imago helpt daarbij, zoals elke autoverkoper weet.

  6. Marsvin says:

    I’m sure “more attractive that” is not meant to be a pun… funnily enough I make this exact same mistake all the time.

  7. Natashka says:

    Oops! Thanks, got it.

  8. Virginie says:

    Aqua leisure host? Hahahahaha, I’m lining up for that course already…

  9. indra says:

    Hey, I love this site. It’s awesome and covers exactly what bothers me about Dutch people speaking English… sigh. Is there any way readers can contribute? Because http://www.corfuutrecht.nl/ is a very interesting website. They took the time to write an English version of the “menucard”, with among others “white whine’s” and “patato’s” and my favorite, “Koksplate”.

  10. Natashka says:

    Thanks! “White whine’s” is great. You just contributed: I will make a posting of your findings today or tomorrow and mention your name. You can send in stuff at natasha (at) dunglish (dot) nl

  11. Scrubs Scrubman says:

    Natasha, while you’re correcting, you might want to take a look at “… they need to learn to Dutch to integrate…”. I like the staccato ‘to’, but nevertheless, it seems wrong.

  12. Natashka says:

    It’s ulgy, yes, but it’s not wrong. It could be ‘in order to integrate’. Will do.

  13. Bert Vos says:

    Wow, that you think English more sexy . .? Anyway, the dutch sentence. “they need to learn to Dutch to integrate . .” could be changed to “they need to learn to speak Dutch to integrate”
    As it stands it says, “Zij moeten leren om Nederlands om . . .”
    And I think you mean “Zij moeten leren om Nederlands “”te spreken”” om . . . (see above”
    Gewoon een woordje uit gelaten. Doe ik ook altijd . . ik ben ook niet perfect.

  14. Bert Vos says:

    It has been a long time for any one to react here. Maybe because we are intimidated as we might make a mistake? Well, I am onlty human, so I will try . . .
    I know there are people who ‘do not write proper English’. However, English is often described (in Canada anyway) as being one of the most difficult languages to learn. So all you Dutch folks who can communicate in English? My compliments!

  15. Coolvibe says:

    Hi Bert,

    Yes, I am a native Dutchman that seems to have some English fluency. English is very easy, once you get past all the exceptions (there aren’t that many). I usually get irked when I hear other Dutch people speak English. It makes me cringe, usually. Horrible. I might be privileged, though. I get to use the language daily and I get lots of practice.


  16. Bert Vos says:

    Hi Me.

    I seem to neglect some of my mail venues, probably because I have too many on the go!
    It makes a difference when one uses the language daily. Like anything else, use it or lose it. But it amazes me how much English is used in Nederland. Especially in advertising. When I went to Nederland for a trip years ago (1971) I was expecting Dutch and most of the store advertising there was English!!
    Anyway, it is good to keep up the Dutch and I enjoy communicating in Dutch, but I also make a lot of mistakes when I write in the Dutch language (a spell checker helps, and also in the English language). So I can be tolerant of the few English translations I see which are not exact lol. Enjoy life. Bert

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