Learning a foreign language as an adult can be a nightmare. I should know. I've done it a couple of times.
I'm glad I kicked off my Dutch experience in Rotterdam. By the time I got here, my Dutch was good enough to apply the hammer and tongs technique. Named after the joke bridge bidding method. I'd say something in Dutch, and get a reply in English, I'd continue in Dutch, English reply back . . . and so on, until eventually they spoke Dutch. It often took a while.
Given my natural level of torpor, I'm shocked I could be arsed to go through with it*.
The accent, though. I've never quite cracked that. My inability to properly pronounce the name of the street I live on, never fails to amuse Mikey. Mister bloody parrot. He can pass for Dutch. Bastard.
I can remember my Mum drilling me in the pronunciation of the "th" sound in the word "the" when I was a child. I must have got it right eventually, because she stopped correcting me.
Correcting an adult is impolite. No matter how bad their grammar or pronunciation. So no-one's sat me down and made me pronounce the rolling "R" sound until got it right. As a result, I struggle to make taxi drivers understand my address. It's a curse.
It may have seemed a little harsh when I pulled up Mark Dredge about a point of beer history. I should have been milder in my words. But I swear by the principle.
Sometimes you need correction to improve.
I reserve my right to correct**.
* I often can't any more.
** When I've evidence to back me up.
"Shakespeare's Pub" - and my other books - now available in America - Good morning America! Over the years I've been asked by many North American readers of this blog if my books are available in the United States. As of now,...
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