NRC newspaper comes up with ‘Denglish’


It’s been about two weeks or so, and quality Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad has gone English in a good way. However, Maarten H. Rijkens, author of that funny book “I always get my sin”, which has things he heard and made notes of, is writing a column called ‘Denglish’, the incorrect term for ‘Dunglish’. Check out the FAQ to find out more about why that is.

Why they gave it the wrong name, nobody knows, but I’m not alone in the comments to point it out. Author Joy Burrough-Boenisch of “Righting English that’s gone Dutch” eloquently pointed it out to him as well. Thanks to the people who mentioned this blog by the way!

The only bone I have to pick with Mr Rijkens is his whole book and column are based on hearsay. I too could have come up with “stuff I’d heard at a board meeting or dinner”, but pictures speak louder than words. Allow me to quote someone on the website:

“I’ve lived in the Netherlands for 17 years and while the literal translations in this article are funny, I’ve never heard any of them in real life. Mr Rijkens article seems to be about the nuances in meaning between shared terms like “interesting” rather than idiomatic errors. This, I think, misses the mark.”

So I commented about seeing proof rather than just notes Mr Rijkens took down at cocktail parties. Show us it’s not just made up to sell your book. Show us some examples!

And yes, his cultural comments are a nice read, but Geert Hofstede is more my cup of tea.

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11 Responses to “NRC newspaper comes up with ‘Denglish’”

  1. FiXato says:

    “cutlural”? 😛

  2. Emerald Rose says:

    Actually, when I was at secondary school (an international school) I had a substitue Dutch teacher who said “I fok horses”. We laughed so hard because of the nuance in the word “fok”. We didn’t know the meaning at the time, though. As for other things in Mr Rijkens’ book, I can’t recall ever having heard them in any situation.

    FiXato: yeah, I caught the mispelling of “cutlural” too *lol*

  3. Natashka says:

    Thanks for the correction, you guys are good 🙂

  4. Larry says:


    If you’re going to run a column about Dunglish in the NRC, don’t let people write submissions in Dunglish!

    And saying ‘please come over some time’ when you don’t really mean it is not a cultural matters; it’s just insincerity.

  5. isadoor says:


    i found a nice dunglish example. Not sure where to send it to…
    So, for anyone that is interested,, Denk OUT of the BOX

  6. Ludolph says:

    @ isadoor: inderdaad prachtig Dunglish. Je kan daar bovendien toegang krijgen tot hun ‘nieuwsfeed’. En ook: ‘Studie bewijst dat creativiteit boomt’.

  7. Frank says:

    I can’t believe you maintain an entire website dedicated to Dunglish and nowhere is there a mention of John O’Mill!
    If you don’t know whom I’m referring to, a quick Google will tell you that he invented the whole concept and popularised it, ages ago, as in:
    A terrible infant called Peter,
    Sprinkled his bed with a gheter,
    His father got woost,
    Took hold of a knoost,
    And gave him a pack on his meter.
    When the old freule, Dame Braidreight,
    Down the banister into the hall glate,
    ‘t Was the big rusty nail,
    At the end of the rail,
    That the old girl in two bleeding halves spleight.

  8. Natashka says:

    Aaaah but I do know John O’MIll! He’s great 🙂

  9. Sandrijn says:

    Isn’t itr possible that they prefer Denglish over Dunglish to avoid using the word “dung”? I thought it was rather funny, especially because the ‘dung’ makes it sound like the inventor of the word wants to say: well, that kind of English is total crap –which it really is.

  10. Natashka says:

    But Denglish is German and English, so why use the wrong word? They’re whimps 🙂

  11. A pedant writes... says:

    “But Denglish is German and English, so why use the wrong word? ”
    And Wikipedia is the source of this wisdom, occording to your faq? Hmm…
    Me, the missus and the expat circles I’ve moved in over the years have been calling it Denglish for the past 16 years or so that I know of, and that seems to predate any of their sources if we’re being so stellig about it.

    Anyway, you’re right about the NRC blog. It really is terrible.

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