When I was a little girl, and my parents told me to do something, or not do something, there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. BUT I did sometimes do this game with my father:
“Daarom waarom daarom.”
“Waarom daarom waarom daarom?”
Etc., until I lost count.
Now I do the same with my kids:
“Why because because?”
“Because because because.”
“Why because because because?”
“Because because because because.”
“Why because because because because?”
“Because because because because, because.”
“Why because because because because because?”
“Because because because because because because.”
“Why because because because because because because?”
“Because because because because because because because.”
Etc., until someone loses count. I just thought I’d share that, if for no other reason than that it looks neat. But also because I took the daily writing challenge of a few days ago, which was to pick a random word and Google it on Images, and pick the eleventh image to write about. I picked a random word with my eyes closed. It was “because”. The eleventh image on Google Images was the one pictured above. My post about politeness came about the same way. It’s a pretty cool way to come up with ideas.
One thing I’ve learned is the difference between Dutch politeness and Texan politeness.
To A Texan, being polite is not just a matter of saying please and thank you, holding the door open for the person coming behind you, not belching loudly at the dinner table, etc. It also means avoiding embarrassing someone. Continue reading
Posted in Language, Society
Tagged America, Amerika, beleefdheid, cultural differences, culture, embarrassment, humor, kulturele verschillen, language, manners, Nederland, omgangsvormen, politeness, society, The Netherlands, verlegenheid
One of the many enjoyable things about translating is that I’m always learning something new, no matter how short the text. I just finished translating a sample from a Belgian novel for middle-school-aged girls, in which the characters communicate face-to-face, on the phone, via email and via texting. Continue reading
Okay, for those of you who think I’m too negative about America, let me confuse you again.
Do I seem schizophrenic to you? Well, that’s because I am. Not clinically, but being Dutch in America, I can’t help being in a permanent schizophrenic state of mind. Depending on what I’m Continue reading
Posted in Education, Holland, Language, Society, Travel
Tagged America, Amerika, cultural differences, culturele verschillen, Nederland, Netherlands, opvoeding, parenting, self-awareness, United States, upbringing, verbaal geweld, zelfbewustzijn
Although I’ve lived here for 18 years now, and although there are a lot of things I’ve gotten used to and in some cases even adopted, there are some things that, by now it’s safe to say, I’ll never get used to. Here are ten of them.
1. Bobby socks for men. Yep, men here (including T) often wear socks that barely show above the shoe, just like girl bobby socks in the fifties. The only difference is the absence of pompoms. I know they’re considered perfectly normal here, but to me they will always look ridiculous. Sorry, guys. Continue reading
Posted in Education, Food, Healthcare, History, Language, Lists, Media, Society
Tagged ankle socks, atheism, creationism, Dutch apple pie, Fox News, geography, Glenn Beck, Lists, obesity, The Flintstones
I am going to commit one of the biggest faux pas you can commit in America. I’m going to correct your grammar, Americans!
Yes, my Dutch friends, it’s considered impolite at best to correct anyone’s grammar here.When you do, people think you’re pedantic, rude, or a “grammar nazi”.
I will write about the inflation of the word “nazi” some other time.
So back to you, my American readers. Let me explain myself. Continue reading
Posted in Education, Language
Tagged American etiquette, American manners, Americans' aversion to correcting mistakes, Amerikaanse grammatica, Correcting grammar, cultural differences America - the Netherlands, culture, Engelse grammatica, preposition-pronoun agreement, pronoun-preposition agreement, pronoun-verb agreement, writing
Fork in My Eye is a wonderful, varied blog. Great photos, smart, funny, inspiring writing. Check it out. The blogger was given the ABC Award. In return she had to give it to five other bloggers, and she included me. Thank you! This is fun, because now I get to give to five more bloggers. But first I have to tell something about myself for every letter of the alphabet. Continue reading
The Daily Post today is about dictionaries. It concludes with the question what dictionaries are to me and if I have any favorites.
Well, it wasn’t love at first sight, I can tell you that. In fact, I avoided dictionaries as a youngster–too much hassle. I preferred the DIY method: inference through context.
As a student in library school I learned extensively about all imaginable dictionaries, but it was one of the most boring classes. Probably because the teacher had the stage presence of a bibliography of bibliographies. Dictionaries were a necessity, a useful tool, but I still wasn’t turned on. Continue reading
Posted in Books, Language, Technology
Tagged books, dictionaries, MWB, online dictionaries, online thesauri, Thesaurasize, translating, translating Dutch to English, translation, vertalen Nederlands-Engels, woordenboeken, writing
I did say of the previous book spine poem that it was the first installment, during this national poetry month. But as some of you may have noticed, I have a hard time following up on stuff. (I wasn’t always like that; I blame it on menopause.) Book spine poetry also turns out to be harder than I thought. Continue reading
It’s National Poetry Month! I’m no good at poetry, but via The Daily Post I came across this really cool idea for making book spine poetry here. So that got me going. Here is my highly existential first installment. Continue reading
We Dutch are world-famous for our directness, so American conversations require a whole new set of skills. In my previous post, I wrote about an example of what Americans say and what they mean. There’s a lot of that. I have figured most of it out by now–at least I think I have. But that doesn’t leave me any less mystified.
Take “That’s interesting”. Continue reading
Another post in the “Weird Things Americans Say” spirit.
When my brand new American boyfriend T–now my husband for 18 years–first spoke to his parents on my phone in the Netherlands, he ended the call with telling his parents he loved them, apparently in response to them telling him the same.
That was weird to me. My parents and I had never Continue reading
I opened my oven drawer yesterday, and was immediately reminded of a language misunderstanding I had years ago. Continue reading
One thing I will never get used to, even though I do sometimes ask it myself nowadays, is the American question “Are you okay?”. Because it’s per definition asked when someone is clearly not okay. Continue reading
Being from the Netherlands, I speak four languages. Or at least, I did. Dutch was my mother tongue. English, French and German were taught from seventh grade onward. I lived in Australia from age 4 to 10, so I was excused from English class. I only had to take the exams each year. Continue reading
No, really. This post is rated R. So go away, kiddos. Continue reading
Notes From a University Student 12
In order to be a teaching assistant, I had to take a course on how to teach writing. Other than that it was annoying that students in Mexico were taking the course long-distance and that the technical difficulties were interrupting the flow, I have no memory of learning how to teach writing. But I got an A and now I’m a teaching assistant. In the English department of this university being a teaching assistant doesn’t mean I assist anybody. I just teach. I teach two classes of university students Remedial English. Continue reading
My (at the time 2-year-old) son says almost everything in English, but he does understand my Dutch. It does lead to misunderstandings, though, like recently at the zoo. I told him he could give the goat an “aai” (a pat), so he promptly poked the poor beast in the eye. Later, at home, we practiced patting his pet monkey, giving it lots of “aaien,” because the next animal may not be as forgiving as that goat was.
Posted in Language