Knocked out by language change

Regilio Tuur is a once famous lightweight boxer from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Every Dutchman has heard him give interviews in Dutch many times. Here we see him perform in a Dutch talkshow on one of the many commercial TV-channels. When asked a question – in Dutch -, Mr. Tuur starts answering in English and remains to speak English throughout the rest of the interview, even though the questions are posed in Dutch. He even goes as far as to tell the others that they may keep on talking Dutch, which – he states – he perfectly understands. But this condescension is by far not the most awkward part of this small piece of footage, the real surprise is the disbelief and astonishment on the faces of the other people at the table. For a minority language speaker, like the Frisian I am, such an unexpected language shift is all too common. I constantly observe minority language speakers leaving their language behind for reasons of status and social mobility. So in the end the most interesting part of Mr. Tuur’s hit on the head may well be that it so neatly shows how Dutch is becoming a minority language – without the Dutch even being aware of this.

Watch the clip the post refers via this link.

By: Goffe Jensma