My mother frequently complains about how poorly Spanish people (and politicians specifically) speak English. This is kind of the flip-side to that; the Dutch have a crazy-good level of English. “Nine in ten Dutch people think they speak better English than most other Dutch people, according to our research at the University of Cambridge. I’m no mathematician, but this seems statistically improbable.”
Last week I published the article ‘Mark Rutte heeft an accent. Get over it‘ in Saturday’s Trouw. Here’s an English translation:
Mark Rutte has an accent. Get over it
Alison Edwards, 29 March 2014
Monday morning, press conference at the Rijksmuseum. Everything about the scene was Dutch. On Dutch soil, in front of Rembrandt’s TheNightwatch, the Dutch prime minister gave a speech. In English.
You might expect a national storm of criticism around this incident. Why was the speech not in Dutch? Does the nation’s language, its heritage, its very identity mean nothing to its leader? A storm indeed arose. But not about the fact that Rutte spoke in English. Instead it was about how he spoke it.
Social media pundits pounced: He said a stone throw away and not a stone’s throw! He pronounces his th’s and r’s with a Dutch accent!…
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