Monday, December 15, 2008

Dutch spoken here - occasionally

The Dutch speak perfect English. On one hand, this makes for easy travel. On the other hand, it means you don't get to hear much Dutch, which is too bad because I like the sound of it. Dutch conversation is like tumbled stones, gutteral like German but with the hard edges worn off. I now understand why my Dutch friends have almost no accent. Dutch has the same cadence as English. More than once I thought I was hearing a conversation in the mother tongue, only encrypted. The sounds were the same but the words made no sense. Is this what it feels like to lose your mind? The only difference is a faint phlegmy scrape of the gears every four or five words.

Some Dutch pronounciation makes perfect sense. Schiphol Airport, for example, is pronounced Schiphol. Other words are another story, even the Dutch words you think you know. Gouda is pronounced Khow-da (Gear scrape on the first syllable.) Van Gogh is the sound of a cat working a hairball.

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