Who I am

Having started to talk before I could walk, I remember my pre-schooler’s frustration at being unable to read. In my teens and later, I learnt a handful of languages well and dabbled in several others. As a journalist, I published three well-received books on linguistics in Dutch: Nieuwe tongen (New Tongues, 1999) on the languages of migrants in the Benelux, Taaltoerisme (Language Tourism, 2012), a lively grand tour of 53 European languages and Vakantie in eigen taal (A linguistic staycation, 2016), about the delights of my mother tongue. Taaltoerisme was the basis for Lingo, known as Lingvo in Russian, Sprachen in German, and Lingua (the much enhanced edition of Taaltoerisme) in Dutch. I wrote Babel directly in English, then penned a Dutch-language version.

I’m also a public speaker. If you’d like to attend one of my talks (in English or Dutch, more rarely German or Spanish), see my schedule.

This is what I looked and talked like in 2016 (starting at 0:19):

Two blogposts (this one and this one here) tell you a little about my personal relationship with languages.