Dumping demystified


The word ‘dump’ in Dutch is normally used for an ‘army and navy surplus store’ (can someone explain to me why its ‘legerdump’ in one word and ‘baby-dump’ with a hyphen? Thanks!), but its meaning here has been stretched. You could argue that the only kind of dump is an army and navy surplus store and that this store is really an outlet store, even though they apparently have 11 stores. That’s a lot of surplus.

Can ‘dump’ be used to designate anything else than army and navy stuff? The Dutch Van Dale dictionary says ‘no’. The English word ‘dump’ also means “a place (goods or stock, for example) on the market in large quantities and at a low price.” But that’s English etymology, not Dutch etymology. And English etymology cannot apply to a Dutch word, as words enter different languages in different ways. This seems to be twisting the Dutch language to suit one’s baby needs, resulting in what looks like Dunglish. It’s also good for a laugh and has shocked many native English speakers.

(Photo: Andrew)

10 Responses to “Dumping demystified”

  1. Sybilla says:

    With the image of the little seal, it would look good on a shelter for orphaned baby seals (which we do have!). So, if you find a baby seal that’s been left behind, you can dump it here…

  2. Els says:

    Zo te zien kan ik daar ook jonge zeehondjes krijgen. Altijd al gewild 😉

  3. Novi O-Magum says:

    About the hyphen: in Dutch it is always allowed to use a hyphen between word parts. Most of the time it is not necessary, but if the writer believes more clarity is needed (for pronunciation for example), then (s)he is always allowed to use one. So, there is nothing wrong with “leger-dump” and “baby-dump”, or “legerdump” and “babydump”. Introducing spaces, however, can be a crime, but you should know that by now…

  4. Larry says:

    ‘Dump’ or ‘dumpzaak’ seems to be in the process of being extending to any store where (surplus) goods are sold, possibly to the point where the inventory is eliminated at which time the store is then vacated. But it still makes me think of, uh, diapers.

  5. Martijn says:

    You’re right Larry. I often go to the PC Dump Dagen and I never see any army computers or people throwing away their computers. You can find great stuff at ‘dumpprijzen’.

  6. Heylane says:

    a Dumpstore in Dutch is not just an army dump store anymore. Any store that has low prices calls itself dump….
    As an almost native speaker I flinched when I saw this one though.

    About the hyphen. It is NOT allowed to be used any and everywhere. Only to prevent pronciation mistakes (between e and i for example)and only between words (not after prefixes or before suffixes). It is however used a lot (but that does mean it is correct)

  7. Natashka says:

    Thanks for the info! It is amazing how complex Dutch spelling can be.

  8. Ghazaleh says:

    This is also a funny baby related Dunglish: http://www.kindercare.nl

  9. bugsy says:

    A ‘Dump’ in english is also a place you throw all your rubbish, (in the city dump) so thats another reason for this to be amusing to english speakers, it makes it sound like place to get rid of your baby..

  10. Nidhuggur says:

    That hyphen is in this case incorrect indeed. A hyphen is, like Heylane said, to prevent pronunciation mistakes. The other rule he/she is pointing at is: between two words when one of the words is from another language, and not yet named in the Dutch dictionary. Despite the fact ‘baby’ is adopted from a foreign language, every regular word with ‘baby’ is spelled without a hyphen. This is because it is placed in the dictionary.

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