Reading between the words

Someone once said to me that Polish writing looked like an accident made up of consonants. I disagreed, but that’s because I studied Polish, so I knew how to read it. This Rotterdam website makes those friendly Polish words look like bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Some keywords:


6 Responses to “Reading between the words”

  1. Larry says:

    It’s clear to me that the Dutch are taking the spaces that belong in English compounds and sticking them intheirown, viz.

  2. Natashka says:

    Rene at will love this one 🙂

  3. matthijs says:

    Contracttransport is correct. watertaxiservices too, if you feel that services is a Dutch word (I don’t).

    The other ones aren’t. Sailingtimes should be sailing times, as it’s English (after a fashion) and safetyregulations is definitely English, so it should be safety regulations.

    The rule in Dutch is that combinations of words shouldn’t have spaces in them, unless one of the combining words isn’t a Dutch word. In that case, a hyphen should be used. For example:

    Windows-programma (Windows isn’t a Dutch word but a brand name)


    computerprogramma (computer is a Dutch word)

  4. Natashka says:

    Contracttransport should be contract transport and watertaxiservices should be watertaxi services. It is difficult to read!

    Those words are wrong. Words cannot be compounded at random in English.

    You cannot apply Dutch grammar rules to English if you are writing in English, as that’s what makes it Dunglish.

    Any argument about a non-Dutch text that begins with “but in Dutch we say”, then forget it 🙂

  5. Larry says:

    The site also features one of my pet peeves about Dunglish, which is the shorthand used in titles and headings, where two nouns are side by side with an implied prepositional relationship.

    Examples: Bedrijfstijden taxidienst (i.e., bedrijfstijden van de taxidienst)
    Sailingtimes taxiservice (should be: Taxi service sailing times)

    Fares roundtrips 2004 (Tarieven rondvaarten 2004)
    -> 2004 round-trip fares, Fares for round trips for 2004
    (not really happy with round trip as a translation of rondvaart (tour?), but hey)

    Name location (Naam lokatie)
    -> Name of location


    I even saw this mistake on a sign at Schiphol: it was something like ‘Tickets observation deck’ (‘tickets for observation deck’ or ‘observation deck tickets’).

  6. kee says:

    this is fun, I’m gonna put you in my Links section (which appears on the Right b.t.w.)

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