Prof Arguelles filmed speaking Dutch

I just came across some footage of Prof Arguelles speaking Dutch:

(I believe this is actually quite rare: for reasons of modesty he normally avoids being filmed speaking one of his many foreign languages.)

I have always thought that guy was rather shy and serious. But he is actually smiling a bit here.Anyway I am curious as to whether he learns languages to communicate with people or whether that is not the main motivator. He seems to be studying most of the time.

Thanks for this information, I’ve never watched this video till the end .

His Dutch is very good considering he hasn’t spoken it for 15 years.

By the way if any cute twins want to teach me a language, please let me know :slight_smile:

I’ll arrange the bench in the rainforest…


I think you’re right - to come through after being put on the spot in a rusty language after 15 years is pretty impressive!

As I understand it, he was out walking with some of his students, and he just happened to meet these two Dutch cuties pretty much at random.

I reckon that most people would need a fews days to get back into speaking a foreign language fluently after 5 years or more of complete inactivity. That goes for their “strong” languages too; but Prof A says that Dutch was always one of his weaker ones!

Quote Nicotine
I reckon that most people would need a fews days to get back into speaking a foreign language fluently after 5 years or more of complete inactivity."

Some people are able to do this immediately. Surely once a language is stuck and you have been fluent in it, you do not lose that instant ability to communicate is my experience. However, if you have not fully learnt the language you might have to work at it again, I reckon. So it would depend on the level you had when you stopped speaking it.

Fully agreed Marianne. This is not difficult to do if you have reached a certain level in a language. What is impressive with Alex Arguelles is that Dutch is a minor language for him, in other words, he can probably do this in many languages.

Then that is impressive.

If you have been able to speak it fluently your brain reacts immediately to stimuli. If I am somewhere and I hear one of my fluent languages in the background, I immediately start thinking in that language. It can be quite interfering.

A good acid test is when you bump into people in the street of a particular country of which you speak the language. If you are fluent your “sorry” comes immediately. Othertimes you may say sorry in the wrong language. But that is just my experience.


I guess you can still call me “Jay” - the other name is probably just a summer silly-season phase that I’m going through! :smiley:


I appreciate that other people may experience this differently, but in my own case it is not so easy to snap right back into a rusty language after being away from it for several years. For example: there was a phase in my life when I was speaking Italian quite frequently at about B2 level (at any rate, I was able to hold up my end of a regular conversation with native speakers without any great difficulty.)

But if I were suddenly called on right NOW to start speaking Italian…beh…probabilmente non sarebbe molto facile per me…anzi…ne sono sicuro! :-0

(BTW I have no idea what the word “anzi” means, whether the spelling is correct, or whether the usage is right in this context - it just popped into my brain there! But I digress…)

German is a language which I was immersed in to a much greater degree than Italian, and for much longer. But even there, I’m not at all sure whether I could go right back to where I was before without missing a single beat?

Of course, I’m not suggesting that we “lose” a language - I just think it becomes passive if it isn’t being used frequently. And if this happens, it usually takes a few days (or at least a few hours) of immersion to become fully reactivated.

This is, at any event, my own personal experience of these things. (As I say, I understand that it might be different for others.)

Jay - Interesting resurrection there.
I have seen your level German. It very impressive. I can see you being back to your old level almost immediately.