These days, after nearly fifteen years in the Netherlands, I struggle when I have to watch television without Dutch subtitles. It doesn’t matter whether it is a film or a programme but reading along whilst watching TV has become second nature and it feels like something is missing when there are no words at the bottom of my television screen.
Except if the programme is in Dutch. I don’t need subtitles when the TV show or film is in Dutch (unless they are talking with a very heavy regional accent, or in Flemish then those rolling words are a blessing!)
There have been so many occasions when I am watching a British or American programme and something is said and the only reason I know vaguely what the word uttered was is because of the Dutch subtitles at the bottom of my screen. Then the conversation on our couch goes like this:
It’s why my Dutch constantly improves but at least a word a day falls off my English vocabulary database.
You can also imagine what our television viewing evenings are like when there are no subtitles. And it’s even worse if it’s a BBC series with regional British accents. My poor Dutch husband sits dumfounded on the sofa clueless, shrugging his shoulders in exasperation, asking me every two minutes what someone said. Like me when a Dutchman from the very south or very north of the Netherlands reels off a speech.
And that’s why Dutch subtitles rule.
They really do.