English language reports: Diederik Samsom vs Lodewijk Asscher

Wie wordt de lijsttrekker voor de PvdA bij de komende Tweede Kamerverkiezingen? De verkiezingsstrijd tussen Diederik Samsom en Lodewijk Asscher krijgt deze week een antwoord. Omdat Language Partners benieuwd is of de politici ook over talenkennis beschikken, onderzoeken we in deze speciale editie van de English language reports hoe het gesteld is met de Engelse talenkennis van Diederik Samsom en Lodewijk Asscher. Wie behaalt de hoogste score?

This report does not in any way reflect my political views. This report solely judges the English of 2 politicians. The interviews are not about the same topic, so neither am I expressing which politician has the better argument.

Diederik Samsom

At the beginning, he opens with a very ‘posh‘ sounding English accent – that of a highly educated individual, almost sounding a little over the top. In fairness, this then settles down and finds its own natural flow. There are a few noticeable Dutch sounding phonemes – like ‘d’ instead of ‘th’. At 34 seconds into the interview, he mentions ‘espressions’ rather than ‘expressions’. At around 1.30 minutes he said something which sounded like ‘mindle’ – I think he meant ‘mingle’ but I am not entirely sure – so it was a little unclear.

In general the interview had very good pronunciation and intonation, although towards the end around 1.40 minutes – he mentioned ‘Islam’ and for my feeling there was too much upward inflection on the ‘a’ sound which made it sound a little strange.

Overall, Diederik Samsom used a very broad range of vocabulary – and he used it very well. However, in the closing phases of the interview, he is talking about young people, and he used the expression ‘will go away’. This is not entirely wrong – but he could have chosen a better expression!

Lodewijk Asscher

At the beginning of the interview, I got a little bit of an uneasy feeling because when he introduced himself, he had very Dutch sounding phonemes and was a little staccato. This disappeared very rapidly and the interview very quickly found its pace.

The accent overall was very consistent, again it gave the impression of a highly educated individual, but for me sounded ever so slightly more natural than the previous interview. At the beginning he made a very slight grammar error when he said ‘all too easy fall into the trap’ where as ‘ fall into the trap too easily’ would have been better. – I really feel like I am nit-picking a bit there though.

Once again a very broad range of vocabulary was used extremely well and intonation was placed correctly on all words.

Comparison of the two
Both politicians are clearly very proficient and comfortable when using the English language. As far as their levels are concerned, from a vocabulary point of view they are both the same, although as mentioned, I feel like in the one example with Diederik Samsom, he could have chosen a better expression than ‘will go away’ – even something as simple as ‘will leave’ will have sounded more in keeping with the rest of the interview.

Pronunciation was very consistent with both men, but the slip up with ‘mingle / mindle’ with Diederik Samsom would put a point in the favor of Lodewijk Asscher for me.

On the whole it was a very level playing field for me – listening to them both, but the fact that there was a little bit of a clarity issue with Diederik Samsom, I have to say that from an English perspective, Lodewijk Asscher would win for me.

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