Yesterday a man who was helping me with directions started telling me about two markets that I should check out. He said one was a regular market with produce, but when he started describing the other market he pointed to his shirt sleeve and paused for a minute.
“Well, I’ve forgotten the exact word in English, but it’s essentially textiles and fabrics.”
What word is he talking about? There is a specific and unique word for a type of textiles that is on the tip of a Dutch man’s tongue but can’t be found in even the darkest remote corners of my vocabulary.
Not only does my English underperform, but so far I don’t even have to tell anyone that I don’t speak Dutch. Cashiers, tram drivers, and people on the street just switch from Dutch to flawless English when I approach them, the abject terror in my eyes does all the talking. I’m fluent in looking scared.