Updated: Oct 20, 2020
1. Toponymy is the linguistic study of how places or cities get their names. Some, like Montreal (mont-réal – French), derives their names from geographic descriptions, just like Amsterdam, which used to be called “Amstelredamme,” named after the dam on the Amstel River, which would lead to the expansion of the city in medieval times.
2. There are some things in a language that just don’t have a complete equivalent in another language. Some Dutch words like “toch” or “hoor” give some flavor or meaning to a sentence, but don’t necessarily have an English equivalent. This can make translation quite difficult, but it also emphasizes why it’s so important to learn another language, especially while immersed in that culture. Learning Dutch can help you to navigate these un-translatable words and sounds that might be lost in translation otherwise.
3. One of the things that we do here at Rubio Dutch is encourage students to use their frustrations to motivate them to learn Dutch. According to this study, anxiety can be an inhibitor to attention during a conversation task, but anxiety from a more challenging task can serve as an attention enhancer.
4. As an expat, it’s easy to get around the Netherlands because Dutch people are often quick to switch to English. This journalist, however, describes the isolation that such a language barrier can create–a private bubble of not being able to understand the simple casual conversations happening around you.
5. The Center for Language Study at Yale University explains the enormous benefits of learning foreign languages: “to be truly global you have to understand what it’s like to view the world through a different perspective, and you can learn that by studying a language and its culture”. Learning Dutch can serve both as a way to communicate with people around you as well as to learn more about Dutch culture.
6. “To learn a language is to learn its culture, its way of thought, its people… Wittgenstein said the limits of your language are the limits of your world. Let’s not limit ourselves.” The conception of (language) education in post-Brexit UK seems to have brought the importance of second-language learning to light.
7. Old English sounds completely foreign, but it wasn’t so long ago that Dutch was spelled differently (turn the page back to the early 20th century and you’ll already notice some differences).
What do you think Dutch will sound like in 100 years?
8. We often forget the history of the Dutch in North America, but this article outlines the reign of terror of one Dutch New York (formerly known as New Amsterdam or New Orange) governor.
9. Last month, Dutch innovation company Studio Roosegaarde unveiled the world’s largest air purifier in Beijing as part of its Smog-Free Project. This is just one of many of Studio Roosegaarde’s projects that seek to create or achieve the ideals of the future.