Posted by: patriciamar | September 30, 2009

Recalling Dutch

Needless to say, I am now working to recall all the Dutch language skills that are stored (hopefully) somewhere in my brain.  In Indonesia (although I was able to speak a bit of Dutch on the plane there), we immediately started in on 25 hours of intensive Indonesian language lessons.  This type of activity obviously has the effect of pushing other languages right out.  After five straight hours of private language lessons, I could hardly speak English properly, let alone Dutch.

Once we arrived in Kalabahi, we began working towards our real goal for the trip to Indonesia- documenting Alorese, a new language.  Soon we were spouting out random words in Alorese mixed with random Indonesian words- whether we knew the English translation or not.

One such example, Alorese: Pana-Pana is Jalang-Jalang in Indonesian.

Roughly speaking, these means wandering in English, although Dutch, wandel is a more accurate translation.

Then we headed to Pulau Kepa (Kepa Island) for our four days of island rest and relaxation.  Although it is clearly a tourist destination, and Indonesian was no longer the lingua franca, judging by the name of the resort, La Petite Kepa, it certainly wasn’t a place to speak English either.  So- soon I was mumbling the little French that I know to the other vacationers, mostly French or Swiss.  (I admit, in most cases their English was much better than my French, so we got by…).

Then we headed back to Kalabahi to more Indonesian and Alorese.  Once our time in Kalabahi ended, we decided to treat ourselves to a week in Bali where, not surprisingly, almost everyone spoke English (although it seemed to be a bit more ‘stralian than ours was…)

Finally, we flew home (back to Europe, at least) and the plan landed in Europe.  More specifically, we landed in Dusseldorf.  Instantly, I realized that this homecoming was not going to be in English either.  Again, it was my turn to be the speaker, since my German beats Matt’s.  Although he does a fairly good job of spitting out some Dutch whenever he thinks there are enough cognates (cognates are words that are the same in both languages).  So now- we’re back in the Netherlands, where I am working to refresh my Dutch, but where they speak better English than most ‘stralians…

(just kidding). But their English is unbelievable.

& I told Matt that he has to learn Italian.  It’s only fair.

& he agreed.  Viva Italia!

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