University level Dunglish

White board

As sharply pointed out to me by Reinier (thanks!), this just hurts: a Dutch University offering Dutch language courses to foreign students who couldn’t even be bothered to use proper English on their website.

Some painful examples:
– What time are the colleges? (colleges = lectures)

If you do not know Dutch already – the whole point to these courses! – there’s a huge chance you have no clue what they mean. The sentence is not brilliant either.

– You learn to communicate well, as well as in the cafe as in the classroom.

Direct translation from Dutch grammatically and culturally. Pain.

– Staffmember, targetgroup, etc.

No so bad really sticking words together, at least you know what they’re on about.

Not convinced? Pretend you’re Chinese, have never been to Europe, speak some English and are trying to find out what they’re on about.

The argument I sometimes hear with Dutch universities is that you’re suppose to know some Dutch if you come to study here. That’s not true: the requirement is that you can function in English and are encouraged to learn Dutch, which I would encourage everyone to do. However, the Dutch gets in the way of the English, and in this case, the English gets in the way of the Dutch. Now I’m confused.

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8 Responses to “University level Dunglish”

  1. esther says:

    The English version is also confusing because there is no clear difference between the example questions (can I have two coffee?) and the questions that are meant to determine whether you need this course (are you stuying at this university?). The Dutch version does separate those, but the English version does not.

  2. Jay Vos says:

    I wonder: what would James Boswell think of it?

  3. nils says:

    “The sentence is not brillant either”? Tsss… guess you’re human too 🙂

  4. Natashka says:

    Hey thanks! I still get confused with French 🙂

  5. maxx says:

    yeah that’s funny, but it’s sad that I hear and read these kind of things every day in my university in The Netherlands. We’re planning on doing a research project about the teacher’s English you have any suggestions where to find literature about it? Or maybe similar research projects that have already been done about it?
    cheers, max

  6. Eric says:

    Actually, I showed this to my *Chinese* co-worker and all he could say was: Woooooot? 😀

  7. Jennifer says:

    Funny, I just finished my first Dutch class at JBI. When I registered for the course back in September, the confirmation materials that they sent me were in Dutch. At that point, I would have been happy to know what time the colleges were.

    Needless to say, I’m looking elsewhere for Round 2.

  8. Tycho says:

    Examples of Dunglish I frequently come across as an academic are:

    fundamental research(i.e. basic research)

    top institute (i.e. center of excellence)

    It appears that every qualified institution, person, or what not is referred to as ‘top’ in the Netherlands!

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