Multilingualism in Belgium and Switzerland

Год: 2014
Автор: Maria Bech Espersen
Издательство: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing
Belgium and Switzerland are two very interesting multilingual countries to compare. Both countries have more than two official languages, both have official language policies and both are federal states. But that is also how far it goes with the similarities. In the case of Belgium, the Belgians have experienced many problems and conflicts regarding the cooperation, or lack of, between the different language communities. Especially the two regions Flanders and Wallonia have big problems with working together, which is caused by issues rooted deeply in the Belgian history. In Switzerland, however, the situation is very different: the four official languages never had any obvious conflicts with each other. Still, multilingualism in Switzerland is a hotly debated topic at the moment as the increasing role of English as lingua franca in Switzerland has a kick-started a discussion about the importance of learning the Swiss national languages compared to the importance of learning English….

116 Replies to “Multilingualism in Belgium and Switzerland”

  1. I love these videos and I think Paul is a brilliant tutor and educator.

    He speaks excellent English — but he is clearly not a native speaker. Id assumed he was German — or maybe from elsewhere in central Europe. In this video he says he is from Canada. Really?

    1. I am a native speaker of English (20 years in California & 48 years here in England) and immediately pegged Paul as a Canadian. It never crossed my mind that he could be anything else.

  2. I studied in French-speaking Belgium. Even tho Flemish/Dutch is mandatory at school, most people cant speak it even for basic communication. They are also not really good at English and only a few students learn German or Spanish as a 3rd foreign language. In Flanders, most people speak fluently French and English and sometimes German. They will refuse to speak French with their fellow Belgians but they will happily speak it with French tourists.

  3. You are a real master teacher, man. Besides your obvious amazing level of competition in history and languages, you explain so damned clear everything. Born to be a teacher no doubt. Congratulations mate ! You are a crack !

  4. Lorrain is also called Gaumais because he region where this language is used is galled Gaume

  5. Hi Paul i just wanna say thank you very for the languages you bring to us its realy help me to learn about other countries language you great person paul take care and have nice day

  6. I’m a native Dutch speaking Belgian and I speak English and French. The level of my English however is superior compared to my French. Because I’m exposed to that language all the time. TV, games, etc since I was a little kid. And now I can think and dream in the language as if it is my own. English and Dutch being sister languages certainly helps. My French kinda watered down because in Flanders you don’t get to use it, and like you said our media is divided region wise. I still speak it but not as good as I used to do.

  7. Qual language the football team and coach speak among each other?

    1. Today its English as the coach is Spanish, but between players its a mixture of french and dutch

  8. Johan Hendrik van Dale, original compiler of Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, nowadays the standard dictionary of Dutch, was born in 1828 in Eeklo; nowadays in Belgium.

    Het schrijven van een Woordenboek is een ondankbaar en verdrietig werk. Is er veel dat men heeft opgenomen of verbeterd, er is nog veel meer dat men vergeten heeft, dat de aandacht ontsnapt is en alzoo onverbeterd is gebleven.

  9. Just wanted to add a small side note as someone from Flanders
    Depending on which dialect you speak, it is that different from the standardised dutch
    used in the Netherlands, that a lot of them dont even recognise it as being a form of dutch

    I recall a scene on holiday where some friends and I met someone from the Netherlands
    We didnt know at first so we talked to him in English, using our own dialect when talking amidst ourselves
    He heard us talk for a whole day without even realising we could actually speak his mother tongue (well, more or less
    since none of us can speak the standardised dutch very well)

  10. I know how Belgian people are hate being called either dutch or french, so i ask them before i ask if they are from that country

  11. I am Flemish (from East Flanders) and I speak dutch, french, english and basic spanish. I had a year of german at school but I didnt like the way it sounded so I stopped, but I think I might learn it later as a challenge. I feel quite protective of Flemish and I feel like it is often not shown the respect it deserves. Many foreigners even believe Belgium is 100% French speaking, which hurts everitiem :). I fear the Flemish language will someday disappear because it is oppressed by 1 the French in our country (btw in my regions dialets we often use french words), by 2 the standard dutch that we are obliged to speak (feels like we gotta adapt to the Netherlands, feelsbadman) and 3 because now with all the immigrants they usually prefer to learn french over dutch, further driving it away. Tbh in Flanders we often make fun of the West flemish and Limburgs accent, but thats just good natured teasing =). Great video, thats why I took my time to write my longest comment ever ^^. Vlaanderen aan de top!!

  12. I have worked with Flemish and Dutch speakers. They always assured me that the two languages were almost identical but immediately began a two-hour discussion about the rights and wrongs and what was proper Dutch. Very entertaining. I sometimes threw in an Afrikaans speaker just for good measure and then the chaos was perfect. Love your videos Paul. Cheers Sven (SE, DK, GE, EN, FR)

  13. Wonderful and interesting video. Ok Im not belgian so as to clear that up. But I am a Romanian adoptee adopted to the UK I find the Romanian language has formed a key part of my identity as I prefer to see myself as a -Romanian who grew up in the UK- through my own eyes (personal truth if you will).

    While my particualr case is not commonly seen, it proves that languages that are not majority languages can hold significance to those of that group.

  14. Why havent they split yet? Life (and politics) would be so much easier that way, I guess.

  15. 55% 36% and 1% So what do the other 8% speak? Arabic?

    Also I have to say the use of Luxembergish is on the increase recently, particularly in the east.

  16. My principle: the theme of the dance will be Belgium
    Me: will you include the authentic ISIS fighter jets in it?

  17. It shows the time and effort you put to make this video. You are the best Longfocus-pedia !
    You incorporated information—facts, it looks more similar to a thesis relying on outside sources, narrowing a large, general subject collecting and incorporating evidence/information that explains, clarifies, illustrates, it is a research well documented,
    I am a subscriber now, and for the community out there.! Listen and watch! This is how you do a verbal thesis is really a great help for all the future college graduates out there!

  18. i am flemish…or a belgian that speaks flemish! i speak french too! with my francophonian friends…or i mix my flemish with french when i dont know the word…belgium is complex…but i feel at home in Bouillon or Namur as being in my country…our food is the same…only the languages are different! As for the big cities…i think the walloon people have to be kicked out of their seat and start to work…because there is a big difference in that matter…but then again…i dont care wich language you speak…just be belgian and shut the fuck up

  19. I feel that the notion that Dutch and German are very much alike and that there is no clear distinction between the languages is more the scientific perspective of linguists than the experience of actual people. In many ways Dutch is more like English than it is like German, but somehow linguists are always telling us (ordinary people who actually know all three languages) that we are wrong. They seem to think that things like those shifts that German went through are really no big deal, but in reality it means that many Dutch and English words are almost or even exactly the same, while the German word is often distinctly different. Yes sure, having a land border means that along that border people tend to speak a sort of hybrid form, but if you look at the standard language, Dutch resembles English just as much as it does German, if not more. Just look at the way plurals are formed in German for instance (hint: its complicated) and compare it to the way its done in English or Dutch (hint: both fairly straightforward with a few exceptions). Word order is different in all three languages and dont even get me started on the grammar…

  20. i am from the flanders part and i refuse to learn france and learnd english instead and i want belguim to split beacuse i hate it when people say you need to learn france and i just say no

  21. I am Dutch and i must say that Belgium is a great Country,. Especially the music they produce is very good

    1. @lvii22 Tu as raison, le seul gros avantage pour les Flamands cest quil maîtrise généralement les deux langues, alors que peu de Wallon parle le néerlandais.

    2. @Arnaud F non je veux dire dans le sens où le français est la langue dominante dans un pays bilingue, et que même sil parle les deux langues, un flamand aura plus tendance à parler sa langue. Il semble que les Wallons se sentent plus Belges, tandis que les Flamands se sentent plus Flamands en général.

      Cest fascinant car cest la même chose au Québec, mais le français prend le rôle du Flamand

    3. Theres not a lots of difference between french from Belgium and french from France. When i go to France i do not feel like changing contries.

  22. I wish what happened in Belgium happened in Ukraine since 26% identify as Russians

    But alas

    No solution has been found yet…

  23. Belgian here(from wallonia) and I consider myself a BELGIAN FIRST and foremost.

    BTW Langfocus, it is true that maybe in the capital and close to the linguistic border most frenchspeaking people would take dutch as their 1st foreign language but that is not the case in the rest of Wallonia, nowadays most frenchspeaking students in Wallonia tend to take english before dutch, since dutch isnt widely spoken. (northern belgium and netherlands.. thats it…)

  24. I’m sorry but I can’t stop thinking of Flanders from The Simpson’s

  25. This is a problem in California were lazy migrants coming in from Mexico would rather speak Spanish than English. This is a requirement in all countries that if you want to become citizens of a country you must learn the language. Donald Trump wants the best and brightest to come but unfortunately only the poor uneducated ones cross the border and the smart ones stay in their country. Hence, these illegal aliens who come to California want to get into the welfare system funded by hard working US citizens. Many years ago you would never see any other language other than English in California. Today its English and Spanish thanks to DemocRATS who run the state. We need a National Socialist Order in California.

  26. Since at least 40 years, many schools allow English as second language and French as third. Many schools, I heard, dropped German. The last 20 years, as far as I know, students do not learn German before the age of 18 anymore.
    As to Walloon, I know French quite well but do not understand Walloon. I wish the government would let Walloon be thought in school.
    As to government, it is FORBIDDEN in communities in Flanders to speak French ! and also in Wallonia, it is forbidden to speak Dutch. Only bilingual in communities with facilities !

  27. With the help of media, they could potentially reach a common language and communicate easier I guess.

  28. As somebody from the flemisch site i speak dutch, frech i got on school but i was very very bad at it.
    Beside that i speak good english and German.
    The reason that dutch is less in Wallonië is because its a choise and in flanders its require as second language.
    Everyone has acces in Belgium to other languages tv chanals. But its easier just watch your own. The main problem is the news. They like to forget the other half of the country in their news programs. Living in Limbourg i feel me first Limbourg then Belgium. Because flanders treat us like the little stuppid brother. We get everything last like the old clotes of the older brother. We also feel more conected with the dutch province of Limbourg of the nederlands and the german part around aken. Because our traditions and values are more alike

  29. Hi !

    I am French but often go in Belgium, I can confirm that I never met someone in Bruxelles witch didn’t knew french.

    And I confirm too that Flamish people speaks english with me, once they know i’m French and not Wallon; Wallon people can be not welcomed sometimes in Flandres

  30. Problem with walloons doesnt speaking dutch is that walloon schools enphase on writing and reading skills than speaking skills. Also, they mainly teach the true dutch AN(ABN) instead of teaching common forms of flemish.. and youre right saying that learning french for a flesmish is more rewarding than the opposite ! Wallons tends to push their kids to learn english more than dutch because its better for their future in the working world (big mistakes since their kids wont go far enough to speak english fluently everyday at work)
    I had the unique chance to work 7 years in Heverlee (the Caserne) and 3 years in Saffraanberg to really improve my flemish (but i cant pass a true dutch test) All my coworkers are very pleased to listen to my flemish because ive learned listening to them, my flemish is more like a patchwork of dialects more than a common flemish… and as you see here, i can hold a pretty good conversation in english too ! I repeat, walloon kids are too afraid to speak in a non-native language because schools teach a bad way to approach a language based on too complicated sentences and too heavy enphase on writing and that a single mistake will cost them points, but irl… no one cares about points anymore !

  31. Im from Flanders. And i don’t feel im Belgian. This country is a mess. Im proud to be Flemish.

    1. but you spend winter holidays in the Ardennes, just like many Flemish…echt goed!

  32. as a flemish student, unlike most others, i do find it important to be able to speak french well, but like you said, most flemish people resent speaking french (in general) and i think its a shame, we should take pride in our country as whole, not just Flanders or Wallonia seperatly.

    and get this, most people think that flemish people speak better french than walloons speak dutch but i have to say that things are changing. The walloon exchange students i encounterd this year spoke way better dutch then we did french (granted they did get dutch way more then we had french during class) but i think this is important to note that not all walloons are too lazy.

    i also started learning german last year which im very happy with, sadly im not very good at it yet ^^ XD

    also i could talk all day about the dutch/french rivalry XD its honestly sad that it is the way it is

  33. I love your videos! This was awesome. I noticed many of the details you spoke about when I visited Belgium, and I personally loved the multiplicity of languages in such a small area.
    Si, I was born in Colombia and lived here until I was 8. Then my family left and I finished growing up in the US. I have found that I am equally an English speaker as well as a Spanish speaking Paisa (the specific ethnicity and form Spanish my family belongs to). The interesting thing is that it wasn’t until I came back to Colombia as an older adult (and am now living here), that I realized how innately English is to my core and being.

  34. Im from the Netherlands, I grew up with Dutch as my first language. I not realy couple my language to my identity. My learned languages are english and then a bit spanish.

  35. Here’s one more comment of a Belgian fan ! I was born in Brussels, from a Flemish mother (from Limburg) and a Walloon father (from Liège). They both grew up in Brussels and met in a French speaking context. That’s partly why they decided to put me in a francophone school in Brussels (one of the other reasons is that it would give the chance to my father to accompany my studies, since he doesn’t speak Flemish very well).

    I am now happy with the result of that decision but I have to confess that it could have been more relevant to put me in one of the many bilingual schools we do have here in Brussels, since I already had good basis in both French and Dutch. Anyways, I learnt Dutch (or Flemish, if you prefer) at school but also with my mother’s family and I think that this diversity helped me to open my mind to other languages, since in now currently speak three foreign languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese).

    The only frustration I could have today is that I keep learning new languages without even taking time to learn our third national language (German), but I don’t think that learning it would be difficult, since I already understand most of this beautiful language.

    Thank you for this great and accurate video !

  36. As an ignorant Brit who expects everyone to speak MY language, holidaying in Belgium thought my very limited French would see me through, how wrong! Being mainly in Flanders I taught myself basic Flemish (so easy to learn) I confidently spoke it…although I was usually answered in, as they realised I was English! I felt most welcomed that I had made an effort to speak their language!!

  37. I am Belgian with respect for all our language groups. My native tongue is Flemish/Dutch. Limnurgs is not even a Flemish dialect but o what. One government, one people and Belgium is our country. The dialects came later before that there was only one same speaking dialect between Brussels and Antwerp. During the reformation period thousands of Flemish moved to Holland. Only time created different dialects. Politics and religions sucks and are abusing language groups for on profits. With only 11 million people we can not afford 65 governments. I can handle all our languages including some English 🙂 Most people forget that language just is a tool to communicate. Take some more time and you will understand others.

  38. Well done, couldnt do it better. Situation around Quebec must have similarities with linguistic situation in Belgium. I am Belgian and I speak Dutch as my mother tongue and then French and German as a second and third language. I must say that a federation based on language complicates the political situation in terms of decision making and makes identity stronger.
    Today you could say the only real Belgians, in terms of linguistic knowledge, are the German speaking people in the east.They speak the 3 languages without any ado.

    A completion to your work is that since this year less French speaking people in Brussels and Wallonia learnt Dutch. Some French speaking Belgians learn English. That was announced a couple of weeks ago in the news.
    Moving up the ladder means talking more than your mother language in Belgium.
    Will the country be separated? I dont think so. It is extremely hard to get rid of the federal structure as it is fixed in the constitution. Changing the constitution would ask for a 75% consent of the chambers. In practice that is excluded taking into account the many political parties and political interests in Belgium. Also the French community is not a demanding party in this matter as it is rather highly financially depending on the Flemish tax payers.
    Another correction is that the town of Brussels (ie. the 19 communities) have predominantly French speaking citizens. I think they announced lately that about 90% of the people living in Brussels speak French and mostly only French.

    I am surprised by the quality of your work. You will certainly have a some linguistic degrees to grasp that all based on comments and testimonies. Very very good.

  39. Je trouve quil nest pas correct daller vivre en zone flamande sans apprendre le néerlandais, cest un manque de respect qui nengendre pas un bon climat pour bien vivre ensemble.
    Je suis français et je trouve que si lon voulait vraiment rapprocher les citoyens des deux principales communautés on devrait :
    -rendre létude du néerlandais OBLIGATOIRE EN PREMIÈRE LANGUE EN WALLONIE ( avec possibilité de pouvoir étudier lallemand, lespagnol ou langlais en deuxième )
    Le problème restera la disproportion entre le français langue à portée mondiale et le néerlandais restreint à quelques rarissimes pays hors dEurope ( Suriname, Afrique du Sud si lon considère lafrikaans comme du néerlandais…)
    il y a là un problème dattractivité.
    En corrélation, les immigrants en Belgique viennent déséquilibrer les rapports de force entre le néerlandais et le français au profit de ce dernier : Congolais, Français, Marocains, Algériens, Burundais , Rwandais et les autres Européens parlent dans leur écrasante majorité plus volontiers français.

  40. I lived in Ghent for 5 years as a child and Dutch was my second language up till grade 3. I had no idea French would have started at grade 5 and english at grade 7! (But then I moved to Canada, so I got both anyway ^_^). Its also interesting to think about Flemish people resenting having to speak French as a prestige language, which runs quite parallel to Quebecois resenting having to speak English for the same reason even though many of them can.

  41. French speaking Belgian here. Very accurate summary congrats. I consider my 2nd language as Dutch cause I worked for a Dutch speaking company and developed my Dutch skills a lot. However my 2nd language at school was English. Most of the French speaking people dislike Dutch and prefer to learn English.

  42. Im Bosnian moved to Brussels in 1994
    During the war when I was 11 I speak Bosnian(serbo-croatian) as my first language Dutch fluently and Im pretty much fluent in French and speak English after moving to the usa for University
    I think its interesting how people in our country are so different but so much the same its like living in two different worlds under the same roof

  43. Every village in Wallonie has its own walloon, slightly different from others. But its the language of our grand parents. We understand it but not speak it.

  44. As a native speaker of Central Venezuelan Spanish, I can say that it is a complete part of my IDENTITY. (And yes Central Venezuelan is a dialect of Venezuelan Spanish, which is also a dialect of Latin American Spanish.)

  45. 22% speaks german as second language, while only 13% speaks dutch as second language. That is not true. Other way around might be.

  46. Very speculative and Amazing facts.. For us in the Arab world especially the Arabian Gulf region of the six countries; LANGUAGE plays a huge part of our social and political lives though English and Hindi are the most used languages of commerce, trade and economics! As far as I know, most Arabs from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Mauritania also consider Arabic as their Identity though in Lebanon, Comoros, Morocco and Somalia Arabic is not a strong factor for identity… even some of these lastly mentioned countries rather speak kinda different languages that broke away from the Arabic language Family such as Somali and Comoran!

  47. In flanders we start learning french in 3rd grade, not 5th.
    Also we learn English in (what we call) 2nd middelbaar which essentially is the 8th grade
    + We have a obligatory year of learning German, after that you can choose to learn more or not (but maybe that was only in my school)

  48. Flemish fella here, you explain it pretty good. I speak French, German, English and Spanish because I like languages. I have many friends of the north of Belgium who can only speak English and a bit of French. Depending on the kind of education people had, they will be able to speak some other languages. Almost everybody goes on holiday in France too so we get exposed to it a lot. I asume people who live in Brussels are more keen on learning dutch as to people who are living in Namur or Charleroi for example. Too bad to hear about the Walloon language that it was also being seen as a language less then French. Brussels used to be just flemish and if it would still be we would not be one country now. We are like a siamese twin, grown together. I have family in North-Brabant and also feel connected to them, as well as Zeeland. Maybe I feel more a Brabant person but Brussels is not real Brabant anymore. Ah well its difficult haha.

  49. For me, and I think the Dutch in general, I think the Dutch language is part of our identity but on the background and not something we are aware of. We have it in our DNA to know English, German and French because we are traders.

  50. I heard about the very peculiar state of languages in Brusselstube: at first, it was mostly English and French pop. But protest arise to enforce parity. So more Flemish music was introduced. Then German should have been put on the same foot as French and Flemish. But to avoid further debate, the management decided to play any music but French, Flemish and German. So any music except in any of the national languages.
    (This was told to me, please let us know whether this is true or I am too naive).

  51. Belgium? What is that?
    Oh year! I see, you are talking about this independant region of france….

  52. I am a Belgian from Wallonia. The video is 95% correct and clear imho. There is just a small mistake at 4:24. In Brussels, the Flemish and French community governments are not merged into one. In Brussels, both the Flemish and the French community governments have powers. For example, there are French-speaking schools, theaters, museums… ruled by the French community government and Dutch-speaking schools, theaters, museums… ruled by the Dutch community government. There is just one common institution (COCOM) between the French and the Dutch communities to rule matters where it is impossible to separate the French-speaking institutions from the Dutch-speaking ones. (Yes, it is quite complicated!)
    Moreover, I do not agree that the Walloons stopped speaking the Walloon language because it was similar to standard French. Walloon is quite different from standard French (at least as much as Brabantian dialect is different from standard Dutch). In my opinion, the reason why the Walloons generally only speak standard French is the prestige of standard French compared to the bad image of Walloon language (and Picard and other dialects).

  53. I love Belgium and his languages…The Flemish is a dialect from the Dutch with French Influence and the Belgian French is Amazing …..Long live to Belgium

  54. the flemish are racists. that is why they prefer to only speak dutch. they hate people that speak another language.

    1. making such over-generalizations on six millions people is clearly racist and i am not Flemish, i am from the Ardenne. they are decent, nice people. they have got their share of idiots, like we obviously do. simply respect them

  55. So the people of Flanders in 1066 AD would have spoken Old Dutch?

  56. A late comment… but I have the suden urge to write this down after Paul said something about Tussentaal in the video. Quick reminder: its the middleground language between the different flemish dialects and standard Dutch.
    So… Paul said that, according to some comments he read online, Tussentaal is disliked by most flemish speakers… wich is… not really true?
    Then why are there people stating that it is in fact disliked? Well, because there is a actual debate going on wheter Tussentaal is a correct way of using the Dutch language in Flanders. News flash! I think it is. Why? Because it is the form of Dutch that is actually mostly used by Flemish speakers. Listen to the way youth speaks to oneanother. Listen to the way Ms. Maes ask for a loaf of bread in her local bacery. It isnt standard Dutch. Standard Dutch (in its spoken form) is often refered to the language used by the newsreader by flemish people. Of course its just a smal part of a huge debate that is going on in Flanders, and that being said, I even highly doubt the majority of the flemish speakers is even intrested in whatever the outcome is. Language isnt something you can define by some set of rules, its a living thing that moves and changes course by the hands (or rather, tongues) of the milions of people that are using that language.

    1. I love tussentaal because it brings democracy to the language situation, without extremes (such as dialects or the artificial standard based on Hollands)

  57. French isnt the original language of belgium. Dutch was the only one, and just later France influenced it, so its wrong that country is bilingual

  58. I consider myself a Belgian in first place, Flemish/Dutch speaking as default, as a Canadian would. It doesnt bother me at all that in order to understand the Walloon Belgians I had to learn French; languages, as I see it, are a tool for communication, not a part of your identity and even less a thing to be proud of and to want to defend. That, I think, is an artificial form of nationalism, created by people who want an excuse for their dividing agenda. I speak French as easily as I speak Dutch, German a bit less but enough to get by, and English on top because of the lingua franca-thing. I know the younger generations of Flemish people are a lot less fluid in French as mine is, both by lack of interest as well as lack of exposure. The separatists have exploited this whipped-up feeling of resentment against the so-called linguistic oppression of early Belgian administration so much that many Flemish people now think that their ancesters were bullied by the Walloons in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th; while in reality it was a cast of rich upperclass Flemish who did that. They were French speaking allright, but they were Flemish. They were landowning nobles at the countryside, and large indstrial tycoons in the cities.
    The Walloons spoke their Wallonian dialects and were oppressed and exploited by their upperclass just as much as we were, and were just as poor. No Flemish was ever oppressed by Walloons.
    When I try to explain that to pro-separatist Flemish youths, they are very reluctant to believe it, for it shakes the base of this forementioned whipped-up feeling of revolt against an unexisting dictator (the French language), that they got so used to they felt quite confortable in it.
    Making people believe that they are actually the victim of something (without it necessarily being true), is a great thing to make them vote for you. Everyone who ever got to be elected by convincing the people they have an enemy who needs to be faught against, can tell you that. The scapegoats are usually myths born from the imagination of the politician in question, built up from history falsification or other fake scares: they are stealing your language is as effective as they are coming to steal your …, fill in the blanks at will. Your tax money, your land, your culture, your social security, your doughters, whatever…

  59. French Canadian here.
    My sons go to a day care in which the day care provider is an immigrant from Belgium (speaking french). And let me tell you, I am glad that she speaks to my kids in french because it is not mixed with english words therefore my kids are learning some good french in day care. But one day I was confused when my son said he wanted a pazteck. I had to google it and finally I figured out he wanted “du melon d’eau!”

  60. Just one thing… the official spelling and rules of Dutch are determined and overseen by the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) which was established by the governments of the Netherlands and Belgium in 1980 and of which Surinam has also been a member since 2004. Therefore the standard language (taught in schools and used in the media) in all three countries isnt just basically the same, its *exactly* the same. Of course there are local accents and dialects in the spoken language everywhere, but the standard language is the same.

  61. I live in the UK but have a Belgian father and did not know this, always been confused, thank you

  62. I am British but speak French fluently (and I know a little Dutch from having lived in Brussels). I very much like Flanders because riding a bike is so enjoyable there, but I am shocked when they refuse to speak French and insist on speaking English (when they know some French!) English is a greater threat to Dutch than French! I mean, in Belgium the two languages are equal in population and status.

    1. In Flanders they prefer English to French because it is easier for them and English is not seen as imposed.

  63. I was watching the news and they said that Greek language became a fundemental language in Belgium. How?

  64. Hi, I am a Belgian and I am from the Dutch-speaking region (Flanders). I speak the 3 official languages, but I use French or English more as my second language. This is because German is spoken very rarely. I only use German when I am in the German-speaking region. When I am in Brussels I always use Dutch. In Brussels they must be bilingual, so I am sometimes too stubborn to use my French. I only use my French when it really cant be otherwise. But my French is not always good, so I usually switch to English immediately. When I am in Wallonia I really try to do my best to get my best French. But what I really regret is that in Wallonia they are not obliged to learn Dutch at school. While here we are obliged to learn French. Because some Walloons really do not bother to speak Dutch in Flanders and then we must speak French in the Dutch-speaking area. Now about my German. My German is pretty good because I live in Limburg. The dialect here in Limburg can be compared to German. so its really not hard for me to understand German. Speaking and writing goes well, but it is slightly more difficult.

  65. My paternal grandmother is Walloon, but her maiden name is Flemish

  66. The equal positioning of French and Dutch in Belgium even affects France: Many products sold in French supermarkets are also sold in Belgium, which makes it necessary to include description in both French and Dutch on the package. This is a big help in France.

  67. The Dutch Revolt lasted longer than from 1568 to 1581. It ended in1648.

    1. @Langfocus I completely agree with you on that, The Dutch Republic even experienced its Golden Age while still being officialy part of Spain haha. I just wanted to make clear that the Dutch Revolt lasted far longer. Thanks for the quick response by the way 🙂

    2. Yes, that’s when the Dutch Republic was officially recognized, but it was de facto independent before then. When I talk about history I’m always concerned with how events affected the languages. It was the de facto separation that had more of an impact on the linguistic situation than the de jure separation.

  68. Untypically, my experience with speaking Dutch (as a Dutchman) in Brussels has not been unfavourable. People generally do their best to communicate with the little Dutch they can muster and if they cant speak Dutch theyve still been polite. Of course, that may just be because Im such a nice person, whom people naturally respect.

  69. One also has to wonder if there might be parts of Eastern Flanders where theres a blend of High and Low German, considering theres that middle ground between Dutch and German in those parts of Flemish lands.

  70. I am indonesian, and live in Indonesia but i speak German at home

  71. Hi everybody, i am form Egypt and i was working in tourism and i met many belgians , they are very nice and class people i really liked them, as i learned german i can say the dutch or flamish is so close to german i can read dutch and understand it clearlly

  72. Apparently the language of the Belgium footy team is mostly English, in the dressing room, on the training ground and on the pitch. So neither the Dutch nor the French speaking players can complain. Or maybe they all complain.

  73. We in Brussels already start having introductory Dutch classes from the third year of kindergarten (troisième maternelle — derde kleuterklas) at just 5 to 6 years old. Not sure if that is the official school program, but that is how it was at my school anyway.

  74. Quand je lis certains commentaires de Flamands (ou même de locuteurs dautres langues) qui se plaignent de la langue française (ou , pire, linsulte!) je suis littéralement consterné.
    Point de haine de ma part envers ceux-là mais… Sincères salutations à nos amis wallons de la part dun petit français!

  75. the people of walloon or wallonie only profit from the money that flanders gives to them… we should be seperate!

  76. Ik how van Vlandeeren. Ik war an een Festivaal, wij heben Optreden.
    Now, I spoke to 99leople in English, one was not able, he actually was quite fuent in German. I was astonished.
    In Brussles I justaskedfor alocal ale, and failed on the Dutch pronounciation. I tried a French one, and low and behold, I had success.
    Then atthe airport the madame behind the desk simply did not answer us in English, althought wehad heard her breaking in it just previously. Well, one of us spoke French, then the madame took only threefurtherturns not to understand. It had all happened in 1996.
    Oh, btw, Paul, how nuch are the multiple Dutch (Vlamsche en Nederlands) versions are intelligable? Or let us just skip that?:)

  77. I learned a lot about the importance of language to culture and at least my own identity through living in Gent for several summers and then returning to my home which was then in Baja Canada. At that time (200-2007) there were not a lot of foreign-born hominids in Gent and when Id return to SoCal and a huge number of different cultures coexisting I realized how strongly culture biases every aspect of ones outlook on life. While I was there I started visiting Ireland and though my parents and grandparents did not speak Irish, when I began to learn some I saw so much of my family and personal identity reflected back at me that it blew my mind and would continue to do so if I had one. As a kid I did not live on this particular earth but in book worlds, often those of rather old books. (There are many things in Vlaamse which bring me back to old expressions in English and I really enjoy that, though I dont speak much and then like a dull-witted child.) However, my parents, if they had had the opportunity, probably would have preferred to have spoken any other language.
    Thanks for making this and all of your other vids. I think that I have watched every one and the mystery challenge vids are a blast.

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