|Native languages in Belgium|
Message #6 Posted by Karl Schneider on 3 July 2003, 4:56 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Thibaut.be
Werner Huysegoms said,
"58% of the Belgians have Dutch as their mothertongue 35% French 7% German"
"That's right, there are 3 official languages in Belgium. Though I feel that the a 7% German speaking population is somehow overstimated, this gives a good picture."
I could be mistaken, but I thought that the third official language was Flemish -- a Germanic-type language (as opposed to a Roman(t?)ic language like French).
Anyway, I'm a native fourth-generation American (don't be fooled by the name). When I was a USAF serviceman traveling through Begium on leave in 1989, I visited an Italian restaurant very near the German frontier (and a US WWII cemetary). I didn't speak French or Dutch, but did have a few years of German-language classes.
I walked in speaking German, figuring that the locals there would be conversant, and received a somewhat cool treatment from the young waitress. Afterward, I showed her my USAF military ID, and her friendliness improved markedly. I don't know if this treatment was due to her dealings with German tourists or whether it was rooted in, shall we say, "historical events"...