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“I first contacted Paul because we needed an interpreter to help resolve an issue at Sevillana, the electricity company. He was very efficient and effective and the problem was quickly solved. I have since used Paul in other official settings, including my bank, Unicaja, the Provincial Payments Office and the Administrator of our Community of Owners. Excellent value for money.”
Bill Douthwaite, Ronda, September 2009

Some Can, Some Can't PDF
 

By Peter Sanderson

alt  May 29 – June 4, 2009

I read with interest recently the article by Steve James regarding the difficulties we expatriates experience in learning foreign languages.  We should in reality be the most proficient at learning languages in view of the fact that our own has roots in both the Romance and Germanic languages.  Unfortunately a combination of apathy, laziness and the fact that almost everyone speaks English means that we just don’t do foreign languages.

On the other hand we have the Dutch who, Mr James asserts, are the best linguists in Europe since the Netherlands is a small country with a number of land borders.  The Dutch are proficient linguists because they are neither apathetic nor lazy when it comes to learning a foreign language.  In addition there is always the pressure of speaking a language that virtually no-one speaks.

The level of foreign language teaching in the Netherlands also bears no comparison with the UK.  While foreign films are dubbed into English for a lazy British population, in the Netherlands they are always sub-titled.  Not for nothing were the first English words of my Dutch wife as a child “hands up!”