Dutch speakers don't fear rise of English
9 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — Speakers of Dutch are confident about the future of the language, with eight out of 10 Dutch and Flemish people expecting it to stand its ground in the face of the rise of English.
9 September 2005
AMSTERDAM — Speakers of Dutch are confident about the future of the language, with eight out of 10 Dutch and Flemish people expecting it to stand its ground in the face of the rise of English.
Doomsday scenarios about English becoming the dominant language in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium are not realistic, according to the Dutch language union Taalunie.
It based its findings on a survey of 550 Dutch people, 300 Flemish people and 250 Surinamese nationals.
The results of the survey were published on Thursday and show that almost all the people questioned are proud of their language.
Interestingly, the Dutch people who took part in the survey were more enthusiastic about Flemish than their own variety of Dutch. Almost three quarters of the Surinamese people think their dialect of Dutch is beautiful. But only one in five like the standard Dutch spoken in the Netherlands.
Before the summer recess two Dutch parties put froward draft legislation to strengthen the position of Dutch and to anchor the language in the Constitution of the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrat Party (CDA) and the small Protestant party ChristenUnie warned Dutch was losing ground to English, particularly in education.
There are 54 bilingual primary schools and 65 bilingual secondary schools in the Netherlands, the Taalunie said on Thursday.
But native Dutch people are not worried the rise of English in schools will harm the Dutch language. In fact people between the ages of 25 to 49 — the age group with school-going children — actually welcomes the rise of bilingual education.
These parents feel their children should start learning a foreign language at the earliest age possible.
CDA parliamentarian Jan de Vries is on stronger ground with his concerns about the adverse impact of SMS messaging on Dutch. People aged 35 and above share his worry young people are spending too much time learning the ungrammatical short-cuts and abbreviations used in mobile text messages.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news