On the Unforeignness of English


  • Jesse van Amelsvoort University of Amsterdam


Anglicization, popular culture, translanguaging, Netherlands, language contact


This article proposes a new perspective on the growing ubiquity of English in Dutch society, suggesting it has become “unforeign.” Through analyses of a Dutch comedian’s song, a linguistic landscape of the city of Leeuwarden, and a popular TV show, it shows how English is increasingly not seen as a separate language anymore but has found a place in the Netherlands. The article interrogates where exactly these changes are happening, suggesting that popular culture, commerce, and youth culture are sites where the public is most attuned to these linguistic and societal changes. Ultimately, the article concludes, the becoming-unforeign of English is an asymmetrical process: instead of effacing Dutch, it creates a new linguistic situation in which knowledge of the Dutch language remains essential.

Author Biography

Jesse van Amelsvoort, University of Amsterdam

Lecturer Modern European Culture, Department of European Studies