Tongue in cheek
Frisian is being consumed by Dutch, Dutch simply revels in English, English merges into American and American is gibberish… ‘cuz nobody gives a damn’. All this is going so incredibly fast that within a couple of years the only ones that will be speaking proper Dutch, are of Frisian descent.
As Frisians as a rule only have eyes for their own despair, which the downfall of their language brings about, I was absolutely flabbergasted when a British guy, one that graduated from Cambridge University by the way, fulminated against the role of American English in the demise of his native language.
‘Give over! English is not really on the verge of being eclipsed, is it now?’
‘Absobloodylutely!’ he said.
‘Would you care to elaborate?’
Well, then the rubber really hit the road; in no uncertain terms he explained to me how Google and Facebook have a major influence on the British child language acquisition by giving preference to American spelling.
I must admit that I usually, when addressing an American, refrain from using British spelling in order to avoid that the American reader will erroneously deem: ‘That silly Dutchman doesn’t even realize that realise is with a z!’
It is true: give me a piece of text written by an American, and I probably will edit the living daylights out of it. However, an American will only trust a fellow American with that. And the latter on his turn will overlook all the classic mistakes. They just do not have any confidence in a stranger, in a non-native speaker, ‘… let alone, if that stranger graduated from Cambridge,’ I sneered, ‘since the Cambridge Analytics scandal.’
Brian (that’s his name) sighed in torment.
‘Yes, it is true: we’re fucked!’
He suddenly reminded me of a Welshman I spoke to some time ago, who scornfully observed, when I had pointed out that it was only thanks to Churchill’s stubbornness the British had not made a deal with Hitler before the war: ‘Yes, it’s true: we are all Germans, aren’t we; we only speak English.’
Of course he referred to the German bloodline in the British royal family, although the name Battenberg, for obvious reasons, has been changed into Mountbatten.
Since World War II the Dutch have been flirting with the most-spoken language among the Allied Forces and have increasingly been adopting English words. We all remember the TV commercial with the yuppie in it, who in proper Dutch asks when it’s his turn in the canteen queue ‘Ach, juffrouw, mag ik ook zo’n kommetje snert?’, all of a sudden back to being a child in its grandmother’s kitchen. While when he was still waiting in line he spoke on the phone in some hodgepodge of English and Dutch: ‘Het lijkt me smart dat we na de break effe levelen. Olrijt, man, siejoe!’
From German only a few words have made their way into the Dutch vocabulary. Only three spring to mind right now: überhaupt, sowieso and bunker.
Hang on, ‘an sich’ is another one! And ‘ansicht’ of course. Okay, that makes a grand total of five. Anyone for more?
And the Frisians of course have completely lost their way language-wise.
Instead of celebrating and renewing old ties with consanguineous English – in the distant past the little sister of the Frisian language, but over the ages transformed into its Big Brother – which would help school children a lot in their future career, language innovators have been playing up to the totally unresponsive Dutch, who frankly could not care less.
The other day my friend Sytze explained to me that they recently invented a new rule for the use of –oe- or –û- in written Frisian: one simply must follow Dutch spelling. Woooohaaaa!
Mark my words: shortly only Frisians will be speaking proper Dutch.