5 thoughts on “Kan het leven je toelachen

  1. That’s surely “… kan het leven je toelachen” (“… life can smile on you.”).

    (I love the way everything in Brussels is bilingual except the people.)

  2. Thanks for the correction!

    And hey, I’m doing my best. It took me years to learn to speak French with any confidence, and since I came to Brussels I’ve been trying to learn Dutch – but it’s hard finding Dutch speakers patient enough to let you practise your Dutch on them. They all insist on speaking to me in English.

  3. There’s no criticism implied; I think what you’re doing is great and that you’re doing it very well. I learned my own Dutch at the school of in-laws, to a considerable extent, and I could never use it in Brussels either.

  4. Thanks, I was probably being a bit touchy. I love trying to learn languages, but am not at all gifted at it, like some of my friends in Brussels who (annoyingly) are multilingual, and seem to be able to pick up Finnish or Hungarian before breakfast.

    The fact that most Dutch speakers all seem to be fluent in several languages, including English and French, makes it difficult for anyone trying to learn Dutch. In France, I was forced to try and speak French, because so few native French speakers were fluent in English.

    Though, bless them, all my French friends were so amazingly patient with my early attempts at speaking their language. Eventually (it took a couple of years!) I found I could actually join in a conversation without killing it stone dead.

  5. Every summer we go camping in France and/or Germany. All the campsites are always full of Dutch people. Very few of them speak any amount of French, and startlingly few are actually any good at German. (I do not hold it against them; I was just surprised.)

    In Luxembourg when I speak to people in French they tend to reply in German. I still haven’t figured out why. (I don’t think it is meant to be flattering, though.)

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