Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What is Dunglish?
Atie: And what are other ways in which the Dutch language is evolving?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear this question often. Imagine the following situation: Jesse Jansen and Karen Lee are neighbors. While shopping together for hiking shoes, Jesse asks,
"Why are they special?"
Jesse Jansen: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Dialogue
Jesse Jansen: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Karen Lee: Ze zijn waterproof.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Jesse Jansen: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Michael: "Why are they special?"
Karen Lee: Ze zijn waterproof.
Michael: "They are waterproof."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, Jesse asks, "Why are they special?"
Atie: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Michael: to which Karen responds, because
Aite: Ze zijn waterproof.
Michael: "They are waterproof."
Michael: Here we can see an example of what is known as "Dunglish."
Michael: As you may have realized, there are many similarities between Dutch and English. Because of this, it can be easy to assume that certain words are cognates between the languages or that the grammatical rules of both languages are identical, even if they aren't. This often results in what is called "Dunglish," a combination of Dutch and English โ โ€” the meaning of which is usually understood if there is a general understanding of both Dutch and English grammar and vocabulary. Sometimes the term "Dunglish," like "Spanglish" is used lightheartedly, but sometimes it is also used somewhat pejoratively to criticize speakers who oversimplify or draw incorrect parallels between the languages.
Michael: This often happens when Dutch or English speakers mistakenly use false friends, like
Atie: eventueel
Michael: which sounds like "eventually" but actually means "potentially," or
Atie: actueel
Michael: which sounds like "actual" but in reality means "current." Another common side-effect of Dunglish is mixing up word order or misusing compound nouns. In Dutch, it's typical to write compound nouns as a single word, whereas in English, this is only sometimes true. So a Dutch speaker learning English may write a compound noun like
Atie: boarding pass
Michael: as a single word. Even well-known politicians have famously mistaken English words and phrases for their Dutch translation. Take, for instance, the former prime minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy who made the simple slip of greeting Sir Winston Churchill by saying
Atie: Good-day!
Michael: which in English is considered a farewell, not a greeting. To which Churchill jokingly replied, "This is the shortest meeting I have ever had."
Michael: We recommend that you practice using Dunglish just as native speakers do, just be careful not to get caught up in one of these funny mishaps.
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review the sample conversation: Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud, and then listen carefully as the native speaker models the correct answer. Repeat after her, with the focus on your pronunciation. Are you ready?
How do you say, "Why are they special?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen again and repeat. Remember to focus on your pronunciation.
Atie: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Waarom zijn ze speciaal?
Michael: Let's move on to the second sentence. How do you say, "They are waterproof."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Ze zijn waterproof.
Michael: Did you get it right this time? Listen again and repeat.
Atie: Ze zijn waterproof.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Ze zijn waterproof.
Cultural Insight/Expansion (Optional)
Michael: In Dutch, Dunglish is called
Atie: steenkolenengels,
Michael: which literally means "coal English." The word was first used in the early 1900s, when Dutch dockworkers, despite the language barrier, did their best to communicate with the crew of British coal ships.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Atie: Doei!
Michael: See you soon!

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