Need your signage some checking?
As Katje put it (thanks!), “at Schiphol Airport you’re truly welcomed into the land of Dunglish.”
This has a terrible Ebonics ring to it, due to the syntax. And then ‘Welcome at’ instead of ‘Welcome to’ is a classic.
It’s been quiet here for a while, but I have some more Dunglish piling up.
Thanks to everyone sending stuff in!
Tags: Schiphol Airport
November 18th, 2010 at 5:53 pm
I have been reading your blog, and I agree that some of the mistakes are quite awfull (and perhaps funny at the same time). Nevertheless, I do think the judgement is a bit too harsh (off course, this is said from a Dutch perspective: I am dutch, and have lived in the Netherlands all my life).
Sure, a lot of mistakes are made. However, these mistakes are made by DUTCH people, living in the Netherlands; how could one expect a native dutch speaker that has never lived abroad to speak english flawlessly? I personally think it is, in way, quite impressive that a majority of the Dutch people at least know how to speak English somewhat, and are able to express themselves (allbeit with several mistakes).
Moreover, many native Dutch speakers aren’t even able to speak (and write) in Dutch without making quite horrible mistakes (which I personally find much more disturbing).* And I suppose many native English speakers make mistakes when speaking or writing english as well.
I’m not even sure I have not made some kind of error when writing this message. But there are smaller and bigger mistakes, and some aspects of the english language are just difficult to a non-native speaker.
It’s the same when immigrants try speak dutch. There are just some aspects of the Dutch language that are difficult to grasp for non-natives. For example, the difference between ‘dat’ and ‘die’, or ‘de’ and ‘het’, and word order in some sentences.
To conclude: correct spelling and grammar in general seems to be hard for a great deal of people. Of course, mistakes made by literally translating a sentence are simply very funny, and I think someone who makes these mistakes only has a very basic level of knowledge of english.
As for the reason that many dutch people use english while they don’t have a good command of english: I don’t think it’s because they consider english as ‘hip’ (at least, most of the time it is not), or because they think they are excellent english speakers; It’s just a process that enforces itself: we have always been quite internationally orientated (although this international attitude seems to be declining), we watch a lot of english-spoken tv, we use subtitles, etc.. So we are simply more accustomed to english, and therefore more inclined to use it; and as it is used more often, people get even more accustomed and will use it even more often. It’s not something that is done on purpose most of the time. I know my english is far from perfect; however, I can’t even count the number of occassions on which I could not recall a dutch word as the english word popped into my head first. Sometimes I use english words when conversing in dutch, simply because it accidentally pops out or because I can’t remember the dutch word (or because I think there is no accurate dutch equivalent to the english word).
I apologize for the rant, I just felt a had to respond to some of the things that have been said on this blog. Sorry!
* such as: “hun hebben” (their have) instead of “zij hebben” (they have); “beter als mij” instead of “beter dan ik”, and the conflation of “mits” (‘if’, a conditional) and “tenzij” (unless), which I just don’t understand (these words have an opposite meaning!).
November 18th, 2010 at 5:58 pm
By the way (responding to this post): this is a big mistake I think, especially at a place such as Schiphol airport. The word order is just all wrong.
November 19th, 2010 at 1:20 pm
I hear you loud and clear, but you do understand that COMPANIES can hire people to check all of this and they don’t.
Imagine the same carelessness with medication or the brakes of your car 🙂
I make mistakes too and admit to them (it’s part of my job), BUT I have my Dutch checked by professionals because I think it’s important.
November 24th, 2010 at 9:34 pm
I don’t think there’s anything particularly Ebonics about this sign – ‘welcome at’ is not grammatical in any variety of English AFAIK and ‘need your baby some rest’ might have been grammatical in, I don’t know, Shakespeare’s era but I doubt it is generated by any native speaker’s grammar now. It might sound elitist of me to say it but this looks more like the product of a Dutch person with an insufficient level of education for writing English.
November 26th, 2010 at 4:12 pm
@Larry You are right, I was being sarcastic.
November 28th, 2010 at 1:00 pm
I can only agree with you on that; a company is a professional organization and they just should get their english utterances checked (small companies such as a local bakery etc. excluded, I think it’s understandable they don’t hire someone to check their english).
So I guess we don’t really feel that different about the use of ‘dunglish’ after all 😉
November 30th, 2010 at 7:47 pm
@Nietzz: These errors are far more basic than should be expected from Dutch people with an average amount of secondary school English. The real problem is how it got past anyone who could see what was wrong with it.