Do the walk

keukenhof1.jpg

Sure we know what they mean, but this was found at the Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden, surely beautiful yet pricy and often overrun with tourists. In other words, you would expect them to write proper English and have pride in doing so.

Oh oh. The website has its problems as well, never mind that you can be welcomed in many different languages.

One highlight:
“Keukenhof offers you the opportunity to see millions of bulbs in flower”
Should be “in bloom”.

We could also make ‘walk the dog, walk the grass’ jokes. But the tulips are pretty.

(Photo: Diana)

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9 Responses to “Do the walk”

  1. Larry says:

    You could actually say that the bulbs are in flower – it’s perfectly acceptable in English. See Google for examples of English-language sites about gardening that use the phrase. ‘In bloom’ may be more commonly used, but maybe the translator shied away from it because it was too close to ‘bloem’.

  2. Natashka says:

    You don’t “shield away from a word” because it sounds like a Dutch one, that makes no sense.

  3. Larry says:

    You do shy (not shield) away from certain word choices if you overthink it and are prone to cognate angst. The natural tendency of those who write Dunglish is to reach for what is closest, i.e., the target-language word/phrase that resembles the source-language one but doesn’t necessarily convey the same meaning. For example, I encounter a lot of ‘gebruik maken’ (esp. where ‘gebruiken’ would do just fine) and I translate it as ‘use’ (almost never as ‘utilize’, because that’s generally something else); on the rare occasions that I at least consider rendering it as ‘make use of’, it seems too literal (though still idiomatic) and it goes against my principle of turning wordy Dutch into concise English.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Anyway, my point stands: ‘in flower’ is not a Dunglishism. See also ‘in full flower’.

  4. Scrubs says:

    As it happens, I’m well informed about the difference between ‘in blossom’, ‘in bloom’ and ‘in flower’. ‘In blossom’ is more commonly florescence bearing promise of fruit. ‘In bloom’ is florescence thought of as the culminating beauty of the plant. ‘In flower’ is biological florescence without much further ado, plants exchanging pollen without too much frivolity. Cherry trees are said to be in blossom, roses at their peak are in bloom, grasses are in flower.
    The expressions are somewhat interchangeable, but in this case, ‘in bloom’ seems to be the most appropriate. Plants that grow from bulbs as displayed in Keukenhof aren’t particularly spectacular, unless when they’re in bloom.

  5. Larry says:

    Homework for the Keukenhof people: review verbs and prepositions, as well as the use of the word ‘please’.

  6. Erik says:

    Maybe the website manager should learn some Dutch (if he lives here). At least we try to learn foreign languages!

  7. Erik says:

    He=she. 😉

  8. Eric says:

    @Erik: read the FAQ, and especially question 11.

  9. Isabella says:

    🙂 I need to read through your site more thoroughly before I mention this, but I am limited on time at the moment and wish to share. My husband is Dutch and speaks great English! However, there is one word I always hear him use incorrectly. Due to ‘leren’ in Dutch being the same as teaching and learning, he says ‘learn’ in place of ‘teach’. Example: My teacher learned me. I’m not nitpicky, but I do help him remember in English a teacher teaches and a student learns.

    In reverse, I’m still learning Dutch. I have my own form of Dunglish. Sometimes I can’t find the correct word and will use an English word in place of the lost Dutch word. It usually works, but I try to avoid doing it. 😉

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