Friday, January 27, 2006

How's That Dutch Class Going?

Thursday nights is my Dutch class night. I'm enjoying it. I'm one of the people who goes every Thursday. A lot of people just show up when it's convenient. I also do my homework, which is also something people do when they have the time. I'm just feeling very enthusiastic lately about getting to the next level with my Dutch. Two thoughts on Dutch class:

One: There is a Swiss woman in my class. Dora or Laura or something like that. She's nice and she comes on a regular basis. She's lived here for 30 years or so. She's actually Italian, but her family moved to Switzerland, so she's sort of more Swiss and speaks German. She's married to a man from Suriname and has a kid. She taught herself Dutch and is taking this class to clean up her grammar and stuff.

She's got a thing she does that drives me a little crazy. Lots of people do it, and it's always annoying, but she did it last night and it made me think of it.

I asked the teacher something and she answered. I like when I ask the teacher the meaning of something and he tries to answer it in Dutch. The definition of a word or a saying. It's helpful. Dora will just turn to me and translate it. I usually try to ignore her with an "I didn't ask you" kind of non-response. Doesn't always work. She's one of the ones who comes regularly, so I don't want to alienate her, but it gets on my nerve.

Two: We are learning from a book called "OO31." That's the country code of The Netherlands. I'm sort of shocked with the words we are learning. There are lots of very useful words, the normal ones. This chapter is on crime, so it's all about criminals and getting arrested and words like "to attack" and "the bullet." But sprinkled throughout the rest of the words are "vloeken - to curse," "de wijf - the bitch" and "godverdammer - Goddamn it."

Yeah, yeah. We should know these words, but I look around at some of my classmates who wear head scarves and I wonder how they are loving being subjected to these words. These are some, I'm guessing, pretty religious Muslim women, not to mention other religions who don't wear headscarves, or people who don't like cursing. I, personally, always cringe if I have to say godverdammer. But that's just me.

My point is that I don't think this would fly in America. I don't know if people learning English in America are taught curse words in school. Seems like something you'd just pick up on the street. Or maybe they do. It's just a cultural thing that hit me as a pretty stark example of the difference between the US and here.


Miss Bad Penny said...

Oh I hate such classmates too, and unfortunately I got one in my class too. The Cambodian guy was grabbing every single chance to be the "mini-teacher" to answer every question and correct every wrong answer. All of us were annoyed because he didn't always get the right answer himself and he mumbled a lot (even the teacher couldn't really catch all his words).

Thank god I'm OUT of that class, as I asked for a class of a higher level. My first new class is on the Valentine's Day (how so romantic, ggrrr), hope there's no Mr./Miss Smarty Pants, knock on wood.

Anonymous said...

Good luck. I think there is always one. I know that some people think I'm a total kiss ass because I do my homework, but I do it anyway.

I look forward to class being over because it will me that my Dutch is so good that I don't need it any more. Here's hoping.