...................................'The Circle of Zinfandel'...........................
'Top 10 Reasons to Learn Flemish'
(The 'Glass Bead Game'-California Style)
The top 10 reasons for American English speakers to learn Flemish are: . 1.Opportunity to become a "2049er"- to appreciate and rediscoverCalifornia from a new perspective.. A 2049er shares the thrill of discovery felt by the "Forty niners (1849)" of the California Gold Rush. . Any second language makes this possible- to a degree. The Flemish variant of Dutch succeeds particularly well because Flemish is just similar enough to English to be relatively easy for English speakers, and just different enough to give English speakers a truly multi-deminsional appreciation of English, and by extension, an augmented appreciation of California.
"In Search of Burgundy"-David Friedrich 1817
'A Land between Florin and Guilder', (from the book 'The Princess Bride' by J. Morgenstern) is used to refer to a mythical Country (and language) between 'Florin' (and Romance languages such as French, Italian, and Spanish), and 'Guilder' (and Germanic languages such as German and Dutch). The Florin was an Italian coin and the Guilder was a Dutch coin.
Heart of the 'Coast of Zinfandel'- Overlooking Las Trampas Park
2. Opportunity to rediscover the English Language!
Aproximately 1000 years ago 'Old Dutch' and 'Old English' were rather similar. Before the Norman conquest of England began in 1066, linguistics students at an English or Dutch university could learn to converse in 'Old Dutch', or visa-versa in 'Old English', in a matter of weeks. Although English changed dramatically following the Norman conquest, Dutch remained relatively close to its roots as it evolved via Middle Dutch to become Modern Dutch..
Because 'California Dutch' reintroduces several key features from 'Middle Dutch', it is even closer to Old English than Modern Dutch is. As students learn 'California Dutch', they will automatically achive an inhanced appreication for, and mastery of, 'Modern English' by becoming intuitively aware of the linguistic framework on which Modern English is built.
3. Take enhanced ownership of the California outdoors. . Flemish's special blend of soft French sounds overlaid on a strict German framework "fits" the superposition of the gentle coastal California landscape over a rigid geologic framework- the north-south corrugated hills and valleys of the San Andreas fault zone. . This language-geography match allows gentle-sounding (yet Germanic) Flemish to successfully capture the outdoor feel of coastal California- in particular the atmosphere of the fog-rich valleys and plains between the ocean and coastal hills.
A part of the 'Country of Zinfandel' where Flemish resonates particularly well is the mild-climate valleys alongside of the central section of San Francisco Bay- Portala Valley to the West, nicknamed Sarifornia Springs (SFO Springs), and the valleys leading to Las Trampas Park in the East, or Sarifornia Hills (SFO Hills).. The Sarifornia Hills are also nicknamed "Little Tuscany".
'Little Tuscany'- Trail to Las Trampas Park
Redwood Regional Park adjacent to Las Trampas Park
4. Enhanced 1. historical, 2. political, and 3. economical world perspectives. It isn't a coincidence that Brussels, in the heart of Flanders, was chosen as the Capitol of Europe. There isn't another city that comes even close to being as politically and culturally networked to all the cultures of Europe.
It is unfortunately for this reason that Flanders has been the focus of most of the greatest battles in European history- Waterloo, the Western Front in WWI, the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, the defeat of the Spanish Armada off the coast. etc.. The day before Columbus arrived back from the 'New World' in 1491, Flanders was a cultural center of Europe, and then things 'fell to pieces' due to the wealth (gold and silver) Spaing obtained from the South America, enabling the rise of the Spanish Empire. . Going further back in history, Aachen, which is just across the German border from the Flemish and Dutch provinces of Limburg, served as the Northern capitol of the Holy Roman Empire for five hundred years. A large portion of the wealth of Aachen was derived from industries in Flanders such as hand-weaving.
5. Learn how to better "live the good life (of California)", or learn to "Live like a Burgundian". The hallmarks of the Burgundian lifestyle are 1. Good food and drink, 2. Appreciation of the arts, and 3. Competent and cost effective governance. The Burgundians were legendary in the 11th century because monks, ie. non-royalty, could eat chicken every day! The epitome of Burgundian culture is spending time conversing with friends at an outdoor cafe, or enjoying an evening soak in a hot tub.
6. Learn to find a way back to a "simpler place and time". Speaking Flemish, which is quieter than English, evokes a balanced, unhurried, and serene 'world concept' similar to that evoked in the muscial 'Music Man', by Meredith Wilson, or Mayberry R.F.D.- conceived by Andy Griffith. Interestingly, Mayberry R.F.D. was one of the most popular T.V. shows during the seminal years of modern U.S. history- 1968-1971. At a time the U.S. was charging forward culturally in the late 60's, there was a deep fondness for the past.
Las Trampas Park
Las Trampas Park
7. Appreciate German (and also Latin) languages and culturesbetter. In addition to being almost identical to Dutch, and quite close to Afrikaans, Flemish is "drenched" in German linguistic and cultural heritage. A student who masters the grammar and sounds of Flemish can sight-read, correctly pronounce, and usually understand almost anything written in 'schoolbook' German, or 'Modern High German.!
Moreover 'Modern High German', plays an 'exaulted' role in the Germanic Language Family similar to the role Latin plays in the Romance Language Family, which includes Italian, Spanish, Portugese, French etc.. Thus, a student who masters Flemish, also gains a good understing of all the Germanic languages including Bavarian, Frisian, Yiddish, Swiss German, etc.
Flemish is also permeated with French linguistic tie-ins in the form of loan-words. As a result, when a Flemish speaker visits Paris or Burgundy, not to mention Berlin, Munich, Vienna, etc., he or she will feel like he/she is visiting "Cousin Cities". More than any other European, a Flemish speaker can claim to be living at the linguistic heart of Europe.
8. Learn to think in a new way. The way various languages are built, ie. their grammers, strongly influence what their speakers excel at. The core Germanic languages are well suited for "idea building". High German (like Greek) is one of the best languages at this, and is known as a "Language of Philosophers". Although Dutch is somewhat less optimized for abstract thinking, Dutch still qualifies as an intellectually-oriented, or "Bouwhuis", (house-building), language.
Las Trampas Park
One way to gauge the ability of a lanugage to express complex ideas is the average number of words in a sentence. For example, Mark Twain used to write sentences that were almost 100 words long! However, in modern written American English, maximum sentence length has been reduced to about 25 words per sentence to eliminate ambiguity. In High German, long sentences up to 100 words are still common, and in Dutch, sentences up to 75 words pose no problems for readers.
The capacity of both High German and Dutch to facilitate expression of complex ideas in single sentences allows them to function as prime "Glass Bead Game" languages. The name "Glass Bead Game" comes from the eponymous novel by the great German writer, Herman Hesse. The 'game' is played by community of scholars who employ language and math to organize and manipulate a vast assemblage of knowledge.
By learning 'California Dutch', a student will not only learn to play more skillfully with words and complex ideas in Dutch, but in English as well.
Las Trampas Park
9. 'Comedy!' Flemish is one of the funniest Germanic languages, after Yiddish, from an English speaking perspective. An English speaker who understands Flemish has almost double the opportunity to find things to smile or laugh about as a monolingual English speaker.
Flemish comedy is similar to 'Monty Python' comedy, except that Flemish Comedy often borders on sadness. At Flemish comedy's best, you don't know whether to laugh, or cry, or both. Prime Flemish comedy includes the T.V. mini-series Monika Lewinski, Safety First, Altijd Prijs, Quiz Me Quick, etc.
Stand up comedians are also world class. led by the legendary Urbanus. As of 2019, the Dutch/Flemish news show 'De Ideale Wereld' (The Ideal World) is a first rate example.
10. Art appreciation. This is hard to explain, but speaking Flemish can help an individual 'see' works of art in a new, and more complex way. Rather than try to explain how this works, an alternate way to 'prove' the point is to note that Brussels, in Flanders, is currently a Comic Strip capital of the world, and several of the worlds most famous painters were Flemish.
Flanders was at the center of the Northern European Renaissance in art. Before Spain became immensly powerful thanks to gold from South America in the late 1500s and invaded Flanders, Flanders was known for art by masters such as Bruegel. Following the Spanish invasion, many Flemmings fled to Holland and they, or their children, subsequently became stars in the great period of Dutch Art. Frans Hals is an example.
Las Trampas Park
Las Trampas Park (a.k.a. "Little Tuscany")
This web page will also cover Flemish Language teaching projects in Northern California. Initially, efforts will be focused on the schools in the Mountain View/Palo Alto area. Mountain View is the Sister City of Hasselt in Limburg (and Palo Alto is the Sister City of Enschede in Holland). . In addition to indirectly supporting Flemish instruction in schools, Calidocious Inc. plans to directly promote Flemish study by hosting day-hikes and nature-walks, which include Flemish language instruction. Additionally, 'Saturday Night Live-Double Dutch' Flemish televison/movie evenings will be held, which will include Flemish films/TV shows followed by a discussion and meal. . Conversation and instruction during these events will be conducted at least 75% in Flemish. Calidocious Inc. also promotes these activities as 'Neverlands' events.
Currently, Calidocious Inc. offers six 'Neverlands' language outing Day Trips. They are: . 1. The 'South Point' hike to the top of Falconberg (Eagle Rock) in the Silicon Valley mountain range, as featured on the 'Eureka' web page. The "real" Valkenberg is the hill of Valkensburg castle in Limburg. . 2. The 'West Point' outing, or 'World's most Spectacular Waffle-Breakfast' bicycle ride down Mt. Tamalpais, as featured on the 'Tivoli' web page, with a stop at the 'West Point' Inn. .
Trick Photo!- The Real Tuscany (Rocconi Preserve)
Artist's rendition of the San Francisco Bay hills. William Keith 1869.
3. The 'East Point', or 'Little Tuscany', hike in Las Trampas Park.
4. The 'North Point' hike to Mt. St. Helena in Napa (coincidentally the inspiration for Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson.)
5. The "11 Cities" rollerblading tour of Silicon Valley- based on the classic "11 City's" ice skating race of Holland. The course includes Crystal Springs Trail & Cañada Road, Stanford University, Shoreline Park (Mountain View), and Stevens Creek Trail.
6. The 'Grand Enwijk' (pronounced 'Inwick'), or 'Best of Marin' tour. (Please Note: Currently this tour is only available in French.) . The name 'Grand Enwijk' comes from the novel "The Mouse that Roared" by Leonard Wibberley . In the novel, Grand Enwick is a winery in San Rafael in Marin. 'Grand Enwick' is a knock-off of the "real" Grand Fenwick in Europe.
Las Trampas Park
Hikes are followed by a visit to a Vineyard or Cafe, such as Twining Vine vineyard near Las Trampas Park.
Grand Fenwick is a postage-stamp sized country situated in the mountains between France and Switzerland, ie. the ancestral home of Burgundy. (The city of Basel in Switzerland has Burgundian roots.) . Grand Fenwick has traces of medieval culture and its citizens are noted for their love of the outdoors and nature (much like Flanders.) . The cost of each outing is $50 for one person, and $25 for each additional person. $25 of the each fee is contributed to local Flemish Dutch language instruction.
Please note that the events do not include transportation. Also, the price doesn't include incidental costs, such as bicycle rental or meals during the outings.
To schedule a 'Neverlands' activity, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org , or write to:
Calidocious Inc. 363 Cypress Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95050
Mythical Kingdom of Grand Fenwick which, like the Country of Morresnet, is a model for "The Neverlandsl".
Las Trampas Park - ('Burgundy Bay' (San Francisco Bay) is just beyond the far row of hills.)