Overheard in Den Haag

There’s a peculiar language dance that sometimes happens when I try to figure out whether to use my imperfect Dutch or my native English.

I went to a local bakery, famous for its French style breads and pastries. I’d usually use Dutch in this situation but this particular shop often has visiting students working for them and so I just asked whether Dutch or English would work best.

Shop guy (with French accent)English will be fine… or French
Dumb foreigner (ie; me)Il y a des années, mais j’ai étudié le français à l’école

(It’s been years but I did study French at school)
Shop guy (with French accent)Moi aussi

I went on to order in English but left with a solid “Merci et au revoir”. Decades after my last class with her, Madame Bell would be proud.


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