Sunday, 13 September 2015

INTERVIEW "Being multilingual helps to put things in perspective"

In 2010 journalist Martine Tanghe interviewed princess Mathilde for magazine "Onze Taal". The result is an interesting insight on Mathilde's family life, language skills and opinions.

You can read it here, in Dutch: https://onzetaal.nl/tijdschrift-nieuw/interview-met-prinses-mathilde-in-ionze-taal-i

Recently she was the VIP guest at the 'Youth Language Feast' for Onze Taal's 30th anniversary in Bruges: Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz - since her wedding to crown prince Philippe (in 1999) princess of Belgium. She was born in 1973 as the daughter of count Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz and Polish countess Anna Maria Komorowska. She wad educated speaking French. She studied speech therapy in Brussels and psychology in Louvain-la-Neuve, and she's the mother of 4 children.
Princess Mathilde is more than fascinated by the Dutch language, and immediately agreed to being interviewed on the subject. We had a long and relaxed talk at her office in the royal palace of Brussels.

'Onze Taal' ('Our Language') refers to our mother tongue, Dutch. However it isn't your mother tongue. When did you first learn Dutch?
Mathilde: "I started Dutch lessons when I was twelve, which was perhaps a bit late. I think you have to learn to speak a language as a child, in a playful manner. But I have fond memories of my years at school. The last 3 years of secondary school I had a wonderful teacher for the Dutch language. She didn't just focus on the linguistic aspect, but also on the culture that surrounds it. Her lessons were very interesting."

Did you think Dutch was hard to master?
Mathilde: "It wasn't easy. I specially struggled with the grammar, the pronounciation of various sounds and knowing which syllable to stress. I'm aware of my French accent, and I'll probably never lose it. I try to improve myself each day. It's a constant challenge. But the most important thing is to be able to communicate well with those around me."



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