Heppy Xmes!

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Merry Christmas Dunglish! ‘Feestfood’ is a play on words for the English ‘fast food’. When ‘fast food’ is pronounced with a Dutch accent, it sounds something like ‘feestfood’, which means ‘feast food’. So they’re comparing junk food to Christmas dinner. Am I alone in thinking that’s not a good thing? Or maybe I just like those musical-looking f’s. When ‘mac’ is pronounced in Dutch, it sounds like ‘mec’ because the English ‘a’ sound doesn’t exist in Dutch. And yes, it can get confusing if you’ve just arrived here and ‘pass’ sounds like ‘pess’ (ahem) and nobody warned you.

And now some party small talk I had recently with an employee of the city of Amsterdam. They told me that in 2007, the city will have its own expat wicket to help expats find their non-Dutch way around the red tape districts. I told them that I got my answers via the normal Dutch channels, although in the beginning, it was a painful experience. Then I asked them when a foreigner was no longer an expat and they said five years. I told him I had been here for almost seven years, so what does that make me? A critic, he said. Touché. I told him that’s what you get for letting my kind vote in the municipal elections.

(Link tip: Branko)

7 Responses to “Heppy Xmes!”

  1. dollev says:

    “‘Feestfood’ is a play on words for the English ‘fast food’. When ‘fast food’ is pronounced with a Dutch accent, it sounds something like ‘feestfood’, which means ‘feast food’.”

    Trying to speak English with an American accent, without being able to control the accent of your own, is asking for trouble.

    If only Jamaican sitcoms would be as popular as the American ones….

  2. Larry says:

    ‘Fast food’ with a Dutch accent sounds more like ‘fest food’ (and ‘fest’ is a fairly common way in English of referring to a festival). ‘Feestfood’, if I heard it from anyone, would probably make me think it was ‘faced food’. Either way, more unnecessary English, whether a pun was intended or not.

    A true sign of Dunglish phonology is when a speaker refers to a hat on one’s head but both words sound identical.

  3. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    Ik zal het niet interessanter maken dan het is, dus ik schrijf maar gewoon Nederlands.
    Zelf vind ik het altijd moeilijk om te kiezen wat nu beter is: Amerikaanse uitspraak of Engelse uitspraak. Het laatste vind ik veel mooier, maar is volgens mij minder internationaal ‘verantwoord’ :-), maar dat is waarschijnlijk vooral de schuld van Hollywood.
    Welke van die twee moet ik nu kiezen, en waarom?

  4. Natashka says:

    It always depends on WHO is going to read what you’re writing.

    I use BE (British English) spelling 95% of the time and AE (American English) spelling 5% of the time at work. And then I use Canadian spelling for personal things.

    My answer is use British English because it’s European and concepts are more similar and easier to explain from Dutch to British English. If you use American English, it will be assumed that you understand American concepts in their entirety and that’s usually not the case 🙂

  5. Larry says:

    It also depends what you’re writing about, and it’s not just a question of using BE spelling but syntactical Americanisms, or vice versa.

    What bothers me is inconsistency – being asked to use BE and finding that the text is full of Center this and Color that, often in product/service names that aren’t meant to be altered.

  6. Natashka says:

    The last part of what you just mentioned is what I do for work every day. I have to explain it to clients.

  7. dollev says:

    “My answer is use British English because it’s European and concepts are more similar and easier to explain from Dutch to British English.”

    Meanwhile: Firefox’spellchecker is constantly telling me that i’m making typo’s when i follow British spelling, Dutch television and radio has become an almost constant stream of American linguistic diarrhoea, and concerned American citizens like Mr./Mrs. M. is trying to save Dutch kids from poor English.

    I foresee a long and healthy future for the phenomena that you like to call Dunglish.

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