At the moment, I am watching a television programme called “Salamander” on BBC4, which is in French and Flemish with English subtitles. It’s a crime story where a bank is broken into and the secrets of very powerful men are stolen, causing all sorts of problems through blackmail, suicide and murder. I’m not usually a huge fan of that genre, but it is really good!
I have never really seen any Flemish before and I was fascinated by this new language! Listening to it, it sounds like French and German rolled into one. It is really odd! The programme is interesting because one minute it’s all in Flemish, and then suddenly it lapses into French and I can understand it better (because I know a good bit of French)! The Flemish language has bits that I understand, like certain vocabulary, but it’s also easy to work out what is going on from watching the action and learning to associate certain words with certain actions. It’s probably a hinderance having English subtitles because even though I want to know detail about what’s happening on the programme, I also want to hear more Flemish! It’s a bit difficult to concentrate on the English subtitles, the events happening, AND the Flemish/French language!
I have been doing some reading up on Flemish to see what it’s like in written form and found it very interesting!
“Flemish is a West Germanic language most closely related to Dutch and generally regarded as the Belgian variant of Dutch. Flemish is spoken by approximately 5.5 million people in Belgium and by a few thousand people in France. It is spoken by about 55% of the population of Belgium. Although linguists prefer the term ‘Netherlandic’, Dutch and Flemish remain common terms because they have political and cultural meaning. This is especially true of local spoken dialects, which form a gradual chain through Dutch-Flemish territory. Also, Flemish speech has many loan words from French.” – From http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/language/flemish-phrases.html
“Flemish or Belgian Dutch (Belgisch-Nederlands) refers to the dialects of Dutch spoken in northern Belgium by about 6 million people. They differ to some extent from the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands in terms of intonation and pronunciation, and there are minor differences in vocabulary, including loanwords from French and English not found in Standard Dutch. The word Flemish can refer to the language spoken in the former County of Flanders, specifically West Flemish, but has come to mean all the varieties of Dutch spoken in Belgium.” – From http://www.omniglot.com/writing/flemish.htm
English Greetings/Flemish Greetings
Hi! – Hallo!
Good morning! – Goeiemorgen
Good evening! – Goeie avond
Welcome! (to greet someone) – Welgekomen
How are you? – Hoe gaat het met jou?
I’m fine, thanks! – Met mij is alles goed. Dank u
Happy birthday! – Gelukkige verjaardag
Happy new year! – Gelukkig nieuwjaar
Merry Christmas! – Zalig kerstmis
My Flemish is bad. – Mijn nederlands is niet zo goed.
I need to practice my Flemish. – Ik moet nederlands oefenen.
Good/ Bad/ So-So. – Goed/ slecht / zo en zo
Big/ Small - Groot / klein
Yes/ No – Ja/ nee
One, Two, Three – Een, twee, drie
Four, Five, Six – Vier, vijf, zes
Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten – Zeven, acht, negen, tien
- Taken from http://www.linguanaut.com/english_flemish.htm
There are quite a few similarities between Flemish and French/German/English, and I can understand quite a lot of the vocabulary, and the grammar and sentence structure seems relatively simple, but there are obviously some quite different words which must be close to Dutch which I’m unfamiliar with.
There have been several foreign language programmes on recently, with Danish, French, and Swedish languages, but they’ve mostly been of the crime genre which I’m not a huge fan of, so I haven’t watched much of them. My parents love that sort of thing though, so I’m now hooked on Salamander (mainly because there’s nothing decent on TV on a Saturday). If there were more interesting genres of TV shows in foreign languages, I might actually watch them! It would be a better way to learn and use foreign languages!