English in Belgium

It is quite amazing to see how much English is spoken in Belgium. At least, I can only speak for the Flemish part of Belgium, as I'm not sure how many of these observations apply to the French speaking part of Belgium.

Observations

Education through the media

You might wonder what helps us learning an alien language. Or how we are pushed around to learn it the hard way. English is a required course in most tracks of education. But atop of that, we get served English through all of the media. Just a few cartoons for kids get dubbed, but all other occurences of English in soaps and television series, movies, documentaries, daily news, are subtitled. As a result, we get an immense amount of training during our off hours.

When I'm watching a movie, I probably follow these subtitles subconciously, but most of the times I'm just listening to the English in the movie, as I got used to it. I know I'm always following the subtitles, but I only realize it when mistakes are made in the translations. Some of these translations are viable, as some word games and local jokes cannot easily be translated into proper Dutch. But on some occurences, mistakes are made that are sometimes pretty obvious.


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