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Svencouver rules

Filed under: — Natashka @ 9:15 am

When I was watching Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer who was basically just waiting to ‘grab dem medals and run’ at the World Speed Skating Championships in Vancouver, Canada last weekend, there were adverts from Dutch utility Essent that read ‘Svencouver’. If you read it in Dutch, the ‘Sven’ rhymes with ‘Van’ because in Dutch the sound is the same. I actually liked it!

Essent wants to get customers to sign up with Essent under the name ‘Svencouver’ so they can get a discount depending on how many gold medals Kramer wins. Problem is, they’re not an official Olympic sponsor. The Dutch Olympic committee asked Essent to lose the good Dunglish because it sounds too much like Vancouver. And that’s apparently not good because Vancouver is supposed to be synonymous with the Olympics, the five coloured rings and all, but not Sven the human bullet.

Luckily for Essent, they also had a back up — ‘Svenergy’, which is now being used. In fact, Essent has no legal obligation to stop using ‘Svencouver’, but are literally being sports about it.

(Link: sportwereld.nl)

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Back from Austria with Austrian Denglish

Filed under: — Natashka @ 9:38 am
Spare rips

Just to recap, Denglish is German (Deutsch) mashed together with English, and since Austrians speak German (love the way it sings), they too can produce their own variety of Dunglish. In fact, the village I stay in had lots of Dutch signs with German endings, but we eventually understood what they meant. Something to do with skis.

I wouldn’t normally make a big deal out of such a typo, but since this was on the menu half way down the ski slope, I couldn’t leave it alone. The food was very good (I ordered the goulash). And nobody needs spare rips when booming down the piste.

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Learning Dunglish at school

Filed under: — Natashka @ 4:53 pm
cito test

Oh my golden stars from proper grammar, this is for real. This is what kids are being taught at school to get their secondary school diploma. I peakedpeeked around quickly and not everything was translated by a Dutch truck. In the nitpicking department, starting sentences without a capital is a very bad example to set, which is what you can see if you follow the link to the rest of this captivating read.

Let me tell you what you can’t grasp intellectually!

(Link: citogroep.nl, Tip: Dutchnews.nl)

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What happened here?

Filed under: — Natashka @ 9:00 am

The graffiti reads “What happend (sic) to freedom, when there is no choice?” What, no choice of words or language? Not very deep, I’m afraid.

As Roel who sent this in put it, “I presume young people must have written this, but why were they using English anyway? Do they think it’s cool? And have you noticed how often Dutch people mix up the tenses?” Well, I also noticed the punctuation. But of course, it’s cool. Dutch is soooo 2008 apparently!

And so the question remains: why use English if you can’t write it? I’ve seen mistakes in English graffiti in the Bronx, but that was just called ‘poor neighbourhood’.

Although a lot of people in Amsterdam like Laser 3.14 who scribbles on many walls, he messes up too.

(Photo: Roel, Rotterdam)

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In work and written we trust

Filed under: — Natashka @ 10:58 am
Job description

I read this and I just keep shaking my head. How can you possibly require something that you can’t even make clear yourself? I mean, can these people actually judge if you’re qualified or not? Go ahead and tell me this huge corporation has no money, time or competent people left. And is it me or are they looking for someone highly competent with a high school diploma?

I used to have a Dutch boss that would ‘correct’ my English just because he had to put his stamp on my work. Sure, sometimes he caught a few things, that’s normal, but he shortened all my sentences, so that it looked like telegraph writing (acceptable in Dutch I am told), but in English looks like learner’s English. He added hyphens everywhere for no reason and stuck series of three words together, making them look like a car pile up.

As for this job advert, the disease of putting semicolons in a list, please stop. Only do this in a legal contract, but for the love of literacy, stop doing it in other texts. And the rest is scary.

(Tip: Dutchnews.nl)

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Big Dutch newspaper double whammy

Filed under: — Natashka @ 1:53 pm
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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Rotterdam airport goes international

Filed under: — Natashka @ 12:19 pm
Rotterdam Airport

We’ve been learning the hard way that anything in English is ‘chic’, right? So why would 2009 be any different? According to De Telegraaf, a discussion has been going on for 15 years (!) about changing the name of Rotterdam Airport to… drum roll… Rotterdam-The Hague Airport. It’s not so much about having an English-language name (in Dutch, Den Haag) as associating the airport with a city that in turn is associated with “justice and peace” by foreigners because of the international court. Will Obama have the US finally recognise ‘our’ court? Oops, tangent.

It’s a marketing thing. And a lot of us are flying out of Germany because of the ecotax anyways – I know I am. The lesson here is apparently that The Hague is chic abroad, and Rotterdam is not. That I leave up to the people.

(Link: telegraaf.nl, Photo: rotterdamairportcarrental.com)

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I are loving it!

Filed under: — Natashka @ 7:40 pm
Mac 1

Come on, tell me this fast food chain doesn’t have the means or brains to translate things for tourists into English in Amsterdam, I dare you!

My friend spotted three mistakes although I can squeeze out more. I’m not going to mention them all, it takes the fun out of it.

1) No trading what? No “give me some fries and I’ll give you a big sip of my milkshake?” Seriously, I don’t get it. We covered the drugs already, right? Or was that just doing drugs?

2) …with or without reason? Unconscious? Brain dead?

3) If trouble… It’s that “You Tarzan, me Jane” Dunglish again. Someone call the Dunglish police!

(Photo: Laurent)

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Stop second-language slogans study shows

Filed under: — Natashka @ 3:19 pm
Purple pants

I just love a good alliteration!

Ahem. A new study published in the American Journal of Consumer Research entitled “Bilingualism and the Emotional Intensity of Advertising Languages” says messages expressed in people’s native languages are most effective at triggering emotional reactions. Authors Stefano Puntoni, Bart de Langhe, and Stijn van Osselaer (Erasmus University, the Netherlands) studied bilingual and trilingual populations in Europe. I am safely assuming that they dealt with Belgium and Switzerland.

“…Because consumers usually have more personal memories with words in their native language than in their second language, marketing messages in their native language tend to be perceived as more emotional.”

So to all you Dutch marketing (purple pants) people, stop the Dunglish or tell your clients you’re deliberately not giving it your best shot because that’s basically what you are doing when you use Dunglish and English instead of Dutch. You’re also alienating a whole potential market of immigrants who are doing their best to learn Dutch while you bombard them with second-rate English. Think about going back to your roots for 2009 and sticking to what you know best.

The silly purple pants is apparently what they call Dutch marketers (not marketeers!) as the story goes they used to wear purple pants. The person who told me this probably referred to salespeople (salesmen, eh) back in the day. Any more info on that is welcome!


Small town leisure city marketers:

For the record, ‘marketeer’ in English refers to those annoying people who call you up at dinner time and try to sell you something. Nice to know the Dutch took over the bad term ‘marketeer’ instead of ‘marketer’, which is the more neutral term. When I hear ‘marketeer’, I think ‘racketeer’. Now you will too.

(Link: eurekalert.org)

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A taste of Dunglish junkfood

Filed under: — Natashka @ 7:20 pm

KFC, Follow Your Taste: Meltz from Gijs van den Berg on Vimeo.

I just saw this on television. I’m not a junk food eater (you are what you eat), but the combination of junk food and Dunglish is actually quite good.

So, do we think this is totally innovative or as cheap as the food its pushing? I know some people – marketing people – who looooove this kind of stuff. If only I knew why…

Have some Dutch people run out of ideas in their own language? That’s a scary question.

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