Different kinds of language proficiency

I have similar experiences as those described in the post and in the other comments.

I speak Dutch, English and German, all of them to an advanced level and all of them currently in use. I learned each language in a different way and use each language in a different situation. But they are closely related languages and the differences are subtile. My vocabularies in each language do not fully overlap, and knowing three languages gives me access to a wider range of words and phrases - which I unfortunately cannot share with most conversation partners.

Dutch is my native language but since I left the Netherlands I don’t use it in everyday work or life but do use it in personal notes and calls with my family. I can flow into a Dutch conversation with ease even if I haven’t been exposed to the language for weeks. Similar to Kaj, I do feel this emotional connection with words and phrases in Dutch that is lacking in any other language. Dutch phrases can come across as unusually friendly in some subtile way. I like to talk in Dutch whenever there is an opportunity, although not all native Dutch conversation partners I meet seem to share this.
Reading and writing in Dutch - somehow - feels awkward and unnatural. Discussing things like rationality, effective altruism, and software engineering in Dutch even more so. I spend a lot of effort finding my words, and once I got them, I want to throw them away because nothing quite fits.

My experiences with English and German are also different from each other. I learned the basics of both at school, but became advanced in English by reading university textbooks and I became advanced in German by socializing with native speakers. There are many everyday objects - household appliances, bike parts, tools, foods - that I know the name of in German but not in English. I have trouble understanding conversational English from native speakers.

I live in a multilingual area and it’s common that when you meet a person for the first time, you agree on which language to speak and stick with that, also if you have more than one language in common. And if there wasn’t a norm that conversations should be held in one language, I would mix much more so we could access our larger shared vocabulary.

Meetup : Effective Altruism Netherlands, cancelled

Unfortunately, this meetup has been cancelled. I'm sorry for this.

Meetup : Utrecht: Debiasing techniques

Edit: this meetup is on 21 September and not on 20 September, because we decided to have our meetups on Sundays (biweekly) from then on.

Meetup : Utrecht: Debiasing techniques

We will put a more detailed description later at You can also ask Sören. (LW username SoerenMind)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Thank you for your reply. I hope I will have time to go through the sequences, there is now some ethics stuff on my reading list.

Our meetups will be announced on LW as well and I invite everyone to come! (If you live far away it might not be worth the travel cost, but you're welcome anyway)

Meetup : Cognitive Biases


Filmcafé OSKAR Slachtstraat 5 (bij De Neude) 3512 BC UTRECHT

Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

I'm Imma, recently graduated from university (mix of physics and chemistry) and I self-identify as effective altruist . I'm not very familiar with LW material but want to gradually improve my rationality. I consider attending the CFAR workshop but have to prioritize this to donating the money to effective charities.

I'm involved in a combined EA/LW meetup group in Utrecht (Netherlands). We have biweekly events which I'm planning to announce on LW as well.