Book review – An Irishman’s Difficulties with the Dutch Language

Title: An Irishman’s Difficulties with the Dutch Language
Author: N.A Cuey-na-Gael
Genre: Language, humour

This book had me in tears and stitches more than once. I acquired it through the Gutenberg Project and was curious about it as it was written in the beginning of the 20th century. Let me first say that this book won’t make any sense if you don’t have a decent grasp of the English and the Dutch language (preferable also older Dutch as the book is quite old).

The story of Mr. Brown and his doubtful successes in speaking Dutch, without going through proper training and refusing guidance for it, is absolutely wonderful. The story shows enthusiasm about foreign languages and how thin basically the support of only an old dictionary is. His final letter to the gentleman of the Bevolkings bureau, regarding the umbrella, is a brilliant piece of writing, but also his conversation with the man working on the tram on his trip out to “Simplex” is something to be enjoyed without food or drink near.

It’s a short book, freely available, so if you feel adequate in English and Dutch, you are in for a laughing treat with this story.

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