The Linguist

The Linguist 57,3 – June/July 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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@Linguist_CIOL JUNE/JULY The Linguist 23 FEATURES associations, institutions and societies. They battle against the rise of the English language and the devaluation of Dutch. Some examples are the Ampzing Genootschap, the Stichting LOUT and the Bond tegen Leenwoorden (Association against Loan Words). The motivation behind most of these groups is to guarantee the further existence of Dutch. However, the language has already survived many centuries of foreign borrowing, and English influence is mainly restricted to certain situations, such as some sports, IT and the business sector. Although the younger generation is fluent in the Dutch-English mixture, in everyday standard language, the influence seems limited. Then there's marketing and advertising, a sector that likes to use a lot of English terms, mostly to make the product seem more international. With certain languages come certain associations, and English is often seen as prestigious. However, research shows that native Dutch speakers still prefer Dutch marketing slogans, especially when the English slogan is harder to understand. 1 English influence isn't strange at all; it's been around for centuries. And most of the time, language users have very good reasons to use English words. The fear that this influence will end up killing Dutch is clearly unfounded. English is still considered redundant in some cases and, for Dutch people, Dutch is still the easiest way to express ourselves. If an English expression sneaks in every now and then, so be it. Notes 1 For example Hendriks, B, Van Meurs, F and Poos, C (2017) 'Effects of Difficult and Easy English Slogans in Advertising for Dutch Consumers'. In Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 38,2, 184-196 Of course, the fading of borders between countries, largely because of online communication, plays a big part in this too. People around the globe talk to each other in English, for example on the online news platform Reddit. There is even a 'subreddit' (i.e. group of posts on the same subject) called r/Belgium, where English is the only medium of communication. No one will be bothered if you use an English word in Dutch for one of the reasons above, since it's functional and useful. However, sometimes people use English words to colour their language, to give a word a stronger connotation or simply because they think the word sounds nicer. Much ado about nothing? What is it that makes some English infiltrators annoying and others not so? One explanation is that the longer we use an English word, the more we come to accept it. A word such as baby is no longer seen as an English loan word in Dutch. Au contraire, the Dutch alternative, boorling, sounds very strange. Secondly, if there is a proper Dutch alternative, people tend to find the use of an English word annoying. This type of usage will lead to frustrations more than any other. Most of the time, we consider such words to be affected, exaggerated or forcedly trendy – all properties that are frowned on by the extremely modest Dutch people. For most people this is a minor annoyance, others don't care about it at all, but some have organised their frustrations in LANGUAGE FIGURES (Main image) Flemish reality TV star Astrid Coppens (formerly Bryan) is well-known in Belgium for her frequent use of English words such as 'darling' and 'amazing'; while (above) the 17th-century Flemish poet Samuel Ampzing (painted by Frans Hals) rejected loan words and has become a figurehead for the Dutch protectionist movement © SHUTTERSTOCK

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