A critical piece of successful business communication is developing the ability to ask for things in a direct manner, without giving the impression of being condescending or demonstrative. As someone who is looking to refine their speech by speaking with an American accent, you may find yourself thinking that you must impress your listener by using big words in a written proposal or speech. While a strong vocabulary can keep you from sounding repetitive, it is more important to have a thorough understanding of some of the basic concepts in your industry as well as any relevant idioms. Idioms are a great way of synthesizing complex issues into easily understood phrases that can be used with almost anyone, regardless if they work in your field of employment. One such phrase that you may use is “Double Dutch”.

Idiom: Double Dutch

The idiom “Double Dutch” is a phrase referring to a language no one understands. It’s also the name of a language game utilizing a secret phonology to send coded messages to others and  manipulating spoken words to make them unintelligible to the untrained ear. “Double Dutch” is commonly used in British English.

double dutchExample: “The guest speaker of the seminar talked Double Dutch. Sadly, I didn’t understand a thing.”

Origin: Contrary to what many believe, “Double Dutch” was originally intended for the Germans rather than the people of the Netherlands. “Dutch” was once the generic name for Germans and Hollanders. High Dutch was the name of the language used in Germany while Low Dutch was intended for the Netherlands. The idiom is thought to be associated with High Dutch, hence the German association.

The idiom was supposedly first used in the early 1800s. It was once used as a slur against the Germans. It’s also believed the sailors were the first group of people that used the expression to insult the citizens of Germany.

Accent Pros idioms series

Accent Pros has a continuing series on accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms. Be sure to check out other accent reduction blog posts to find your favorites. Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening? Check out our on-line accent reduction courses available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other accent reduction tips. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter