It is not entirely a surprise that Patrick van Aarle (47) from Eindhoven won ‘Het Groot Dictee’ (the big dictation) this weekend. All his life he has had a love for language. “When I still lived with my parents, I already participated in the dictation”.
With only one error, he managed to leave Volkskrant (newspaper) columnist Karin Sitalsing and VVD (people’s party for freedom and democracy) MP Judith Tielen behind, both with two errors. Patrick’s one mistake was in a small corner. “I got the word ijzertijd (Iron Age) wrong”, Patrick says. “It had to be without capitals. I wrote it with a capital letter. Those are the words where I still doubt. Just like the middeleeuwen (Middle Ages), for example”.
Things could go wrong very quickly, according to Patrick. “The dictation started with the title Groningen is zó (Groningen is fine). She read it so emphatically that I added an accent, which was right. So it could have gone wrong in the title”.
“I’ve always had a love for language”. But it remains a hobby, Patrick says. “I used to be good at languages. Back in the 90s, when I was still living with my parents, I already participated in Het Groot Dictee. But I’m also good with exact numbers. I studied physics and meanwhile I have been a teacher at the Gymnasium Beekvliet in Sint-Michielsgestel for 20 years now”.
So many talents. However, there are also certain weaknesses. “If there’s something I’m not good at, it’s drawing. Even if I have to draw something in class, for example a little car, the students already laugh at me. I’ve also wanted to do odd jobs around the house for a while, but I’m not very good at it either”, the smiling Patrick says.
Although the dictation took place in Groningen, there was still an Eindhoven element to be found. “When I’m in Groningen, I want to take something Eindhoven with me. I wore a shirt with the well-known light bulb. The skyline of Eindhoven could be seen in the light bulb. Some students had already noticed that I was wearing a colorful shirt again”.
Translated by: Bob