Big Dutch newspaper double whammy

De VolkskrantJan Peter Balkenende

Maybe the journalist who wrote this wrote it really, really quickly and late at night. Maybe. But it’s still full frontal Dunglish in a big newspaper. This is part of an article in today’s De Volkskrant about the social media network LinkedIn. This message was what the journalist sent to try and get Barack Obama to link to him, which failed. So much for making a good impression. And I have Dutch friends who are linked to Mr. Obama.

A thumbs up for using American English (honor vs. honour). A big thumbs down for using “when” instead of “if”. The “media-affairs” is because in Dutch the wrong way it would be “mediaaffairs” and read like a headache. And so the proper Dutch spelling makes for improper English. It’s tough, I know.

I could go on, but I’ll let you have some too.

However, the article also quotes Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s profile and incidentally the nice mistake about where he works. It’s all about making a good impression. Maybe the Netherlands should be run more like a company!

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11 Responses to “Big Dutch newspaper double whammy”

  1. Jeroen Mirck says:

    This looks like a quiz: put the sentences of this reporter in the right order. 😉

  2. nanske says:

    Why do you think the use of American spelling versus British spelling is a thumbs up in this case? I always stick to (what I think is) British English, for example when I give a reaction on an English spoken weblog, even if the weblog is States Based. If I were a Brit I would do the same, I suppose, and as British English is what I’ve been taught in school (and probably this goes for the reporter as well), I think this is better then mixing things up along the way.

    Of course it’s okay if this reporter can easily switch from British to American and back, depending on who they address, but something tells me…

  3. Natashka says:

    I only mentioned the US EN, since this person actually put effort into that part of their message, but not the rest. I know the Dutch usually stick to British spelling. Most people manage to mix them up. Canadian spelling looks like a mix of both as well.

    I was trying to find something positive to say I guess 🙂

  4. Idealistic Pragmatist says:

    Canadian spelling looks like a mix of both as well.

    In Canadian English, the British spellings are always possible options, while the American ones are sometimes possible alternates (we use both ‘realize’ and ‘realise’, for example), and sometimes incorrect (it’s always ‘colour’, ‘honour’, etc.).

  5. Laurent says:

    If only French had more spellings, we could blame our hesitations on it…
    That said, I think that “Prime minister AT Netherlands” is automatically generated by the website in an effort to be automatically multilingual. As we all know, automatic translation is still very far from reality…

  6. Natashka says:

    @Laurent You’re probably right, but there are grammatical ways around it and they just didn’t bother.

  7. Larry says:

    Also, it should be ‘reporter at’, not ‘of’. And for some reason the closing quotation mark after ‘De Volkskrant’ is not a real quotation mark.

  8. Eric says:

    Nice to see the positive things are noticed here….and baffled as to why this reporter did not ask anyone to check this. I’ll post on this blog without thinking twice, but when you know it’s gonna turn up in the paper… Or maybe he just knows how few people read papers these days 😉

  9. Neil says:

    Observing DUNGLISH is cool to the extent it’s educational and entertaining.

    But what if it’s criticism for its own sake? I’d hate to have my Dutch language writing skills be subject to this kind of public scrutiny.

  10. Natashka says:

    Apples and oranges (or pears, if you’re Dutch 🙂

    He’s a journalist trying to communicate with the leader of the free world. You’d think getting his message checked would be a top priority.

    The LinkedIn thing is LinkedIn’s fault, so to speak.

  11. Smack MacDougal says:

    You write, “The “media-affairs” is because …”.

    Any expression containing “is because” fails. All should expect such silliness from a child under the age of six. Yet all should reject such horrible writing from someone who purports to know English.

    Instead, try this.

    The Dutch write “media-affairs” as a hypenated word to avoid consecutive a’s. However, English speakers write “media affairs” as two words.

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