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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
How to Swear & Love in Dutch is written by Ingeborg Stinissen who, while once on vacation, was asked by strangers how to say the worst swear words in Dutch. She wrote as many words as she could on a napkin, which led to the writing of this book. Starting with proper vowel pronunciation and numbers in Dutch, Ingeborg Stinissen demonstrates an introductory conversation in English, converted first to formal Dutch and then to informal Dutch. It goes on to show translations when a tourist wishes to flirt in Dutch with the locals, before showing more translations of what you could say, should your flirting be successful and lead to the bedroom. More translation chapters are provided for what to say at a wedding (You’re the worst best man I’ve known), in a relationship (We should get a dog), when on a diet (I will start tomorrow), phrases used when breaking up with your significant other (I am taking the dog with me). Further chapters deal with restaurant and pub etiquette (I can’t feel my shoe), insults when you don’t like somebody – I will not provide examples as they are not light – and attending a job interview and after you are hired (It wasn’t me!). Many more scenarios are presented with suitable dialogue, although I almost choked on my food from laughter in the chapter of when one is stuck in traffic (I hope we aren’t flashed!). The final chapter is filled with many quotes by famous people in history.
Ingeborg Stinissen’s book is quite useful as a traveller’s phrase book, should English be the traveller’s first language, regardless that much humor is used throughout. Should the reader find themselves interested in the language or wishing to immigrate to Holland/Netherlands, How to Swear & Love in Dutch would be the ideal book to keep handy, just as I did when I first visited Finland (although my phrase book was in Finnish). Some of the phrases given caused me to laugh out loud. It is interesting that Dutch people are described as shy and quiet, which is the complete opposite of my Dutch friends, but each individual is different in any culture until you get to know them. The only phrase which I noticed was missing was possibly the most important one of all: Where is the toilet? It was one of the few phrases which led to disaster and almost led to the police being called when I tried to mime it on my first day in Europe. Whether you are a tourist who needs to know the bare essentials of the Dutch language or you are planning a future in the Netherlands, this book is a must-have.