Getting the Dutch to Speak Dutch

As an American who was in Amsterdam recently, I wanted to speak Dutch all of the time. Normally, this is no problem as my Dutch is now at the level where a conversation I start in Dutch, continues in Dutch. One problem though was in my hotel. My theory about this is as follows. In this hotel, 99% of the guests would speak English to the person behind the counter. This conditions that person to expect to hear English. The problem is that when you expect to hear English and someone starts speaking Dutch with an accent, the result is you don’t understand.

It’s as if the person behind the counter has a switch thrown in their brain, which says English is expected, and my Dutch is not quite good enough to instantly flip the switch back to Dutch. Therefore, I use a trick, by starting the conservation with goeie morgen (good morning  = hello, or the equivalent for another time of day) followed by a pause. This is sufficient time to flip the English switch back to Dutch.

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One Response to Getting the Dutch to Speak Dutch

  1. yourparadise says:

    Haha, that trick of you was smart! I’m Dutch by the way. 😉 I was in France once and when suddenly someone started speaking English to me. I didn’t understand it at all because I expected that they would speak French to me! :p

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