Bad behaviour at the office

bad behaviour1

Yes, we know what they are trying to say, but the Dunglish doesn’t even come close to the Dutch original. First, I want to address the language problem, then the big honking cultural problem.

The Dutch roughly says, ‘Do you do it like this at home, too?’ and then the message is lost in translation, never mind ‘your’ that got botched up (‘youre’).

The big honking issue here is the unfortunate ‘Dutch rudeness’. Pointing out bad behaviour in puppy-peed-on-the-carpet style gets you nowhere with the rest of us mortals. ‘Please pick up after yourself’. Thank you’ is the way to go, no matter how irritated you are. And then the Dunglish won’t matter as much.

(Thanks Arjen!)

Tags: ,

8 Responses to “Bad behaviour at the office”

  1. Larry says:

    Yep. The approach is _culturally_ Dunglish; the idea that slovenliness is best countered with rudeness doesn’t have the same effect in English (and would best be expressed hypothetically: ‘Would you do this at home too?’).

  2. Anna says:

    As if only Dutch people are rude! I think we can’t judge this photo without knowing its context. Is this is in a place that is always visited by the same group of people that have already been asked politely to pick up after themselves a thousand times I do not see the issue with using a sentence like this (better constructed of course).

  3. Reinier says:

    Agreeing with Anna, and besides: we’re in The Netherlands, so what should a foreigner expect but Dutch rudeness? It may be one of those cultural traits that sits even deeper than language. Even if The Netherlands become English-speaking someday, we’ll always stay rude 🙂

  4. Larry says:

    I should add that I have seen notes with this tone written in English by native speakers. It’s a fact of life in house-sharing, student housing, etc.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lick-Cheese-Other-Notes-Flatsharing/dp/1847441289/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

  5. Eric B says:

    Just for the record, enter any office here in Germany and you’ll see passive-aggressive signs like these all over the place. In the kitchen (on washing up your dishes or putting them in the dish washer), the toilet (“Do you know what this is? A hint: it’s not for your teeth or hair …”) and in the copier/printer room (on not using color copies, collecting your printouts…)

  6. JustMeInHolland says:

    We have something like this in our ‘koffiehoek’. Hilarious. They may not mean to be blunt klootzaken….but it sure comes across to us native English speakers.
    God, I’m enjoying this site so much. After living here in the NL for 4 years, it’s great to see the comedy in what typically annoys me.

  7. Adam says:

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Sadly, native English speakers mess up “you’re” and “your” all the time.

    I often have a strong desire to put a sign over toilets in the restroom saying, “Flushing: it’s just not that hard” or “Flushing: so easy, even a 4-year-old can do it”. I mean, come on, at a private university, where people pay money to receive an education, they don’t flush the toilets?!

    Anyway, I’m from the USA, so I’m not sure your idea that it’s not normal to native English speakers is correct. And I don’t think it’s really rude; it’s simply sarcastic, which sometimes gets people’s attention more than “oh, pretty please, do what you’re supposed to do.”

    Haha, as for the photo, think about it: they probably do do that at home! 🙂

  8. Briana Espinoza says:

    Just for the record, enter any office here in Germany and you’ll see passive-aggressive signs like these all over the place. In the kitchen (on washing up your dishes or putting them in the dish washer), the toilet (“Do you know what this is? A hint: it’s not for your teeth or hair …”) and in the copier/printer room (on not using color copies, collecting your printouts…)

Powered by WordPress - Copyright © 2005-2020 Oh La La, The Netherlands. All rights reserved.