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Not that many Dutch people care what you call the country
December 28, 2012 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know) while the latter came from Turkey. Worse, Holland is not even the name of the country you're thinking of. Luckily, there's a handy youtube video to explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands.

Bonus: while the Netherlands is complicated enough already, the author (C.G.P. Grey) of this youtube video is confident enough to take on the differences between England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom and more(previously) as well.
posted by MartinWisse (98 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very handy for the next trip I take to the Sint Maarten side of Saint Martin.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:00 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, do you have Pannekoek with bacon and apples? Cause if you do, I'll call you whatever you want.
posted by The Whelk at 3:01 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course, some subtleties of the use of the words "Holland" and "Hollander" are beyond the ken of any one video. There is for example the use of "Hollander" as a polite term for the kind of white Dutch person more often described as "kaaskop": the kind of person who goes caravaning to Spain and brings along their own potatoes because you can't trust that foreign food and to whom spaghetti bolognese is a dangerously exotic dish. Or there's Hollander as the counterpart to Brabander, the supercilious city slicker from the west of the country versus the good old salt of the earth folk from the most gezellige province in the country (according to them, though the rest of the country might disagree).
posted by MartinWisse at 3:02 PM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wait, do you have Pannekoek with bacon and apples?.

That's actually a classic Dutch pannenkoek [1] recipe. No maple syrup though; appelstroop or powdered sugar, that's your lot.

[1] Don't mind that extra n; it's something forced upon the word by the same cunning linguists who decided sciencefiction is one word in Dutch.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I'll wait for the flashcard version.
posted by tommasz at 3:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I liked that I didn't need to click the link or check the "more inside" to read this and think, "oh cool! C.G.P. Grey has a new video apparently!"
posted by Navelgazer at 3:13 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Seinfeld.... And what's the deal with Hollandaise sauce?
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:25 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So shall I move there or no?
posted by infini at 3:28 PM on December 28, 2012


hi. im sorry to hijack this threadbut im trapped in an elevator. no cell phone this is my kindle whih doesnt seem to handle email but lets me write here. its been two hrs now of pressing the alarm. im at the ponce school of medicine research bldg s one elevator. could some mefi who speaks spanish call my wife ana fajardo at 787 8133059. i think if she comes to the school and finds the guard at thegate theyll know what to do.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:29 PM on December 28, 2012 [190 favorites]


Of course, some subtleties of the use of the words "Holland" and "Hollander" are beyond the ken of any one video. There is for example the use of "Hollander" as a polite term for the kind of white Dutch person more often described as "kaaskop": the kind of person who goes caravaning to Spain and brings along their own potatoes because you can't trust that foreign food

When I told one of cousin's friends that I lived in Dubai, the most important thing on his mind was whether they had potatoes out there on account of he quite liked them for dinner.

"Heb...hebben ze daar wel aardappelen? Want ik lust 's avonds wel een aardappeltje"
posted by atrazine at 3:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heh. And I was just part of an iPhone-fueled discussion of Holland, The Netherlands, and The Kingdom of the Netherlands a few days ago. Nicely done.
posted by maudlin at 3:31 PM on December 28, 2012


hi. im sorry to hijack this threadbut im trapped in an elevator. no cell phone this is my kindle whih doesnt seem to handle email but lets me write here. its been two hrs now of pressing the alarm. im at the ponce school of medicine research bldg s one elevator. could some mefi who speaks spanish call my wife ana fajardo at 787 8133059. i think if she comes to the school and finds the guard at thegate theyll know what to do.


What country are you in (Puerto Rico?) and what's your real first name so we can use it when we call?
(I don't speak Spanish, sorry, but whoever does call will want to know that)
posted by atrazine at 3:34 PM on December 28, 2012


This has instantly become the number one informative video I sent my Swedish friends to watch whenever they ask me if I speak ‘holländska’ (aka Hollandish).
[blaneyphoto:] And what’s the deal with Hollandaise sauce?
Does anyone even know? According to the Dutch Wikipedia it’s a French sauce popular in Germany. The German Wikipedia calls it a sauce from the classic French cuisine and credits the name to the quality dairy products from the Netherlands. The English Wikipedia however sources a Dutch cookbook from pre-1600.

It’s too bad I don’t read French, I would love to know where they credit the sauce to.
posted by Martijn at 3:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


im martin hill. puerto rico. sent that first message short cuz working with a kndle isunwieldy. i am in no danger. fan is working. no co2 buildup.light is working. fire alarm doesnt seem to doa thing. other a larm is a loud phone bell type ring.the thig that worries me is no oe is saying hello or responding to the bell or my banging.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:43 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hi, I tried to call the school, no answer. I don't speak any Spanish, I can try to call your wife...will she be able to understand me?
posted by chococat at 3:49 PM on December 28, 2012


I posted dances' dilemma to Metatalk to broaden the audience of those who might be of assistance but it is queue week...
posted by perhapses at 3:52 PM on December 28, 2012


she speaks some english. i hope she can understand. ascensor isspanish for elevator kindle drops leters if i dont press perfect. kindle wouldnt let me use ask mefi so igrabbed first open thread. kinle also tells me unable to send these messages but they appear
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:55 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


i just talked to someone at the school who clearly didn't understand me because when i said your name they repeated it and now i think they are trying to put me through to your extension, which is ringing and ringing...
posted by chococat at 3:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well I speak Spanish, should I try?
posted by A Bad Catholic at 3:57 PM on December 28, 2012


Yes try! I'm trying his wife but I can't get through!
I don't think a MetaTalk post will show up because there is a holiday queu.
posted by chococat at 3:59 PM on December 28, 2012


MetaTalk is still going to the queue until Jan 1st so there may be a delay in it appearing.
I hope you get out soon, Dances!!
posted by goshling at 4:00 PM on December 28, 2012


my wife and son are outside theelevator will update you later
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:02 PM on December 28, 2012 [86 favorites]


Perhaps calling the police/fire department might be a good alternative here???
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:03 PM on December 28, 2012


Any luck, A Bad Catholic?
posted by chococat at 4:04 PM on December 28, 2012


Local police phone # appears to be +1 787-842-0080 ‎if anyone plans to give that a shot.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:04 PM on December 28, 2012


[Glad this appears to be under control. We're not going to approve a MeTa right now and will happily remove the phone number on request. Thanks everyone. We now return this thread to its regularly scheduled topic.]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is there a country code before that number? I'll be dialing from the US.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 4:05 PM on December 28, 2012


AWESOME glad to hear it, dances_with_sneetches. Sorry I couldn't help more.
posted by chococat at 4:06 PM on December 28, 2012


Cure-a-sow. Not Cure-a-cow!

Anyway, I'll start worrying about correct terminology for the Netherlands in English when the Albert Heijn removes the (shiver) "Big Americans Pizza" from its freezer shelf.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:28 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


how does anyone mix up hollaidaise and their nether regions how does that even happen whats wrong with you
posted by mhoye at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2012


There used to be a separate country called the Netherlands Antilles, but the six islands in it all had different needs and their people different political aspirations.

Aruba (pop. 107,000) became a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 1980s, after which there were three countries in the Kingdom: The Netherlands, The Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba.

After decades of referenda and negotiations, the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as a political entity in 2010. Curaçao (pop. 140,000) and Sint Maarten (pop. 40,000) became countries like Aruba had before them, still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands though.
The BES islands, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, & Saba became extra-provincial parts of The Netherlands. The main reason for this is that they have very small populations (15k, 4k, 2k respectively) so would be very difficult to govern as nation states.

It's worth noting that Aruba's status as an automous country within The Netherlands in 1986 was granted on the condition that Aruba would become fully independent 10 years later (on the insistence of the Dutch government, not the Arubans). The elected government of Aruba basically decided that they would refuse to co-operate with independence so they eventually decided to just postpone that indefinitely. It definitely makes for a weird chapter in the annals of late 20th century post-colonialism to have an almost independent country refuse greater independence.
posted by atrazine at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh my god. People attempting to stay on topic, while a human drama unfolds.

Meanwhile:

One significant thing that this nice video essay doesn't mention is that around World Cup time, announcers and most everyone else calls the "Nederlands nationaal voetbalelftal" by the name "Holland".
posted by ovvl at 4:44 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fun fact, the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is Mount Scenery in the Caribbean.
posted by Omon Ra at 4:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back to potatoes: In postwar Holland, potatoes were the foundation of dinner. That, and some veggies and some symbolic quantity of meat. Neighboring housewives would discuss, over the fence, their plans for the day's main meal. In a story handed down in my family, my grandmother's neighbor discussed having enough leftover veggies, and enough leftover meat, but not quite enough leftover potatoes to make a meal, and what did "buurvrouw" ("neighbor lady") think she ought to do? My uncle, still living at home, was unable to contain himself and yelled out in the dialect of Texel: "Beeskille!" (which means, "Peel some more!") To understand the humor of this, you probably have to (a) be Dutch, (b) be attuned to the linguistic efficiency of some of the Dutch dialects, and (c) have experienced at least the tail end of postwar frugality in Holland.
posted by beagle at 5:04 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, I am home now. I was in the elevator 3 hours. My Kindle had limited abilities on internet including not allowing me to connect to either of my email accounts. I guess finding someone to answer email may have been a longer wait. It wouldn't let me post to Ask and I didn't think to try MetaTalk.

My wife did get at least a couple of calls from MeFiers. She was on the phone for a time trying to find me so she might have missed others.

I wish I could say MeFi rescued me. The guard who found me said he received a call which he sent to my office. Or rather, my wife and child (five years) found me after coming to my work to look for me and getting the guard to help look.

Amazingly, they told me the elevator alarm made no sound outside the elevator. It was only by trying the elevator and then thinking to bang on the door that they discovered I was there. The elevator alarm made enough noise inside the elevator that it was hard to hear them.

Between having a dysfunctional regular alarm, fire alarm and broken phone it must sound like it was some third world place. The research building is generally nice. I'm not claustrophobic and spent the first hour and a half reading on my Kindle, banging the alarm, doors and calling out from time to time.

I was not in any danger. My only concerns were that the fan would stop or that I would be there for a very long time. But then, I assumed the guard would hear the elevator alarm when he made his rounds. It was the start of a holiday weekend. I do remember on MeFi a YouTube post about elevator camera video of a man stuck in an elevator for 36? hours.

I popped the top of the elevator but there was no real way out that direction. Something that looked like a Bruce Willis air duct if I had a screwdriver to open it.

Thanks for those of you who tried. Sorry, again for hijacking the thread. Maybe this could be moved to MetaTalk?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [162 favorites]


It’s too bad I don’t read French, I would love to know where they credit the sauce to.

French wikipedia says it was invented for Louis XIV during one of the wars over Holland, thus the name. The war for the Spanish Netherlands maybe?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't understand a geography geek mispronouncing Curaçao, but if he's a geography geek perhaps that means he's no drinker.

He also glosses over the fact that while Dutch is, today, a recognized separate language, it is really just -- along with Old English -- another branch of German and the word "duutsch" has the same root as "Deutsch".
posted by dhartung at 5:31 PM on December 28, 2012


One significant thing that this nice video essay doesn't mention is that around World Cup time, announcers and most everyone else calls the "Nederlands nationaal voetbalelftal" by the name "Holland".

The 'Hup Holland Hup' thing is indeed a notable absence.
posted by holgate at 5:40 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know)...

Citation needed.

Persian windmills are vertical-axis, European ones are horizontal. No link has been found between them as far as WE know.
posted by DU at 5:47 PM on December 28, 2012


They make Gouda cheese, which alone qualifies them for eternal salvation.
posted by Brian B. at 5:50 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for posting this Martin, it's a solid and entertaining explanation.

MartinWisse: "Don't mind that extra n; it's something forced upon the word by the same cunning linguists who decided sciencefiction is one word in Dutch."

Well, to be fair, compound nouns in Dutch, being a more synthetic language than English, tend to be written as one word, and many languages treat loanwords (ironically a compound noun that is often written as one word in English, possibly because it is a calque of the German Lehnwort) according to their own pre-established patterns. Which is why we also get mountainbike, slowmotion and so on.

An interesting and opposite effect is the tendency among a seemingly growing number of Dutch speakers to split (non-loaned) compound nouns, presumably under influence of English: so we see hoest siroop "cough syrup" as opposed to the correct hoestsiroop, or more amusing triple-barreled examples such as lange afstandsloper, literally "tall distance runner" for the presumably intended "long-distance runner". Dutch prescriptivists like to call this Engelse ziekte "English disease" after an archaic term for rickets! (Much like syphilis was once, in Dutch as in English, referred to as "French disease".)

(If you like Dutch compounds using English loanwords like contentmanagementsysteem, there's loads of them here. Full disclosure: I interned for Onze Taal for about a week in 2005. I mostly just sat there fixing their HTML, and I didn't last.)

An interesting thing to English speakers about the linking-n pannenkoeken debacle might be that Dutch even has a governing authority of sorts, in the vein of the Académie française or the Svenska Akademien. The Dutch Language Union does like to pester us every couple of decades with arbitrary-seeming reforms to "regularize" spelling. As far as I know, no such institution exists for English (although Noah Webster did try his best).

Another effect of this is the regularization of the conjugation of English loanwords, mostly verbs: the voltooide tijd (perfect tense) form of updaten "to update" is correctly spelt "geüpdatet", which is perfectly in line with Dutch conjugation patterns yet utterly bewildering to most Dutch. After all, the English word ends in a consonant sound but is written with a final vowel, and even the Dutch are expected only to pronounce one "t". So we get the amusing reality that while "geüpdatet" is the only correct form, almost nobody actually uses it. (Most Dutch will write "geüpdate", "ge-update" or simply "geupdate", or use an English-influenced grammatical form such as "geupdated" or even the split form "upgedate".)

It should not be a very controversial idea that in the post-war period, English has become a second language of peerless status in culture and commerce in many non-English language communities in Europe. As such, many contemporary European languages are now rife with English loanwords, for better or for worse, and every language has to find ways to incorporate them into their own patterns of grammar and spelling. But I would be remiss not to mention the now infamous James Nicoll quote from back in the Wild West days of Usenet:
We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and [rifle] their pockets for new vocabulary.
Perhaps the Dutch Language Union could take a cue from that other great descriptivist thinker, Clancy Wiggum (MP3):
Chief Wiggum: Hehe. Hijinks. Funny word. Three dotted letters in a row.
Eddie: Is it hyphenated?
Chief Wiggum: It used to be. Back in the bad old days. Of course every generation hyphenates the way it wants to. Then there's N'Sync. Heh. What the hell is that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:53 PM on December 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


Has he done France?
posted by Chuckles at 5:59 PM on December 28, 2012


ovvl: "One significant thing that this nice video essay doesn't mention is that around World Cup time, announcers and most everyone else calls the "Nederlands nationaal voetbalelftal" by the name "Holland"."

This seems to be mostly by (sporting) convention. The Guardian style guide notes:
Holland
should not be used to mean the Netherlands (of which it is a region), with the exception of the Dutch football team, who are conventionally known as Holland
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:00 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another informative and related video.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:08 PM on December 28, 2012


I've learned many things in this thread not least that the Dutch are very helpful.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:31 PM on December 28, 2012


They make Gouda cheese, which alone qualifies them for eternal salvation.

I have been slowly infiltrating a speech pattern at work to say "gouda" for the word "good".
posted by ovvl at 6:37 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Finally, a thread where the Peace of Westphalia might be relevant!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:40 PM on December 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


An interesting thing to English speakers about the linking-n pannenkoeken debacle might be that Dutch even has a governing authority of sorts, in the vein of the Académie française or the Svenska Akademien. The Dutch Language Union does like to pester us every couple of decades with arbitrary-seeming reforms to "regularize" spelling.

Amusingly, despite being a native Dutch speaker I've only ever spent a single year in the Dutch education system and my written Dutch was taught by my parents or self-taught from older books. I also grew up reading a lot of Dutch literature printed before the '95 spelling changes - my mother worked for a publisher until I was born in the 1980s, so we have thousands of Dutch language books from that period. As a result, in addition to a slight but noticeable accent in my spoken Dutch, I write using the old pre-1995 spellings.

Growing up reading my grandfather's old Karl May books translated into Dutch in the 1900-1920 period means that I occasionally use the even older pre-war spellings for some words.

This mix of spellings, in addition to the inevitable Englishisms induced by being educated entirely in either British or International English-medium schools means that I was always quite self-conscious about my written Dutch until a few months ago when I started working for a Dutch company.

Suffice it to say that my colleagues, for all that they've had an all Dutch education up through university, use English words for Dutch ones much more often then I do and routinely produce written work in Dutch of such a staggeringly unsound nature that I wonder at ever having felt bad about my own ability.
posted by atrazine at 6:55 PM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


around World Cup time, announcers and most everyone else calls the "Nederlands nationaal voetbalelftal" by the name "Holland"."

Sport does weird things with political borders. During the last Olympics we were trying to nail down the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom, and it turns out that Team GB is not the Olympic team of Great Britain.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:09 PM on December 28, 2012


Sorry, again for hijacking the thread. Maybe this could be moved to MetaTalk?

Neh, let it ride. But when you taste a slice of Gouda, think of the release, please.
posted by ovvl at 7:32 PM on December 28, 2012


So what's the connection between "Dutch" and "Deutsch"? In Dutch, is "dutch" just a generic word for "language", as Wikipedia seems to indicate?

Etymologically, the word Dutch originates from the Old High German word "diutisc" (from "diot" "people"), referring to the Germanic "language of the people"
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 PM on December 28, 2012


The linking n thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as the damm 's-word thing. Example
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:05 PM on December 28, 2012


Then there's that whole "King of Spain" bit in their anthem ...
posted by jgirl at 8:17 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't that why the House of Orange is orange?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:21 PM on December 28, 2012


Isn't that why the House of Orange is orange?

It's crazy stuff:

Wiki: The Principality of Orange (in French, la Principauté d'Orange) was (from 1163 to 1713) a feudal state in Provence, in the south of modern-day France, on the left bank of the River Rhone north of the city of Avignon...
posted by ovvl at 8:32 PM on December 28, 2012


There is a Spanish connection:

It was awarded to William of Gellone, a grandson of Charles Martel and therefore a cousin of Charlemagne, around the year 800 for his services in the wars against the Moors and reconquering southern France and the Spanish March.

My assumption is that originally the "orange" comes from Spanish oranges. Although I may be totally out to lunch!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:44 PM on December 28, 2012


The name "Orange" evokes something tropical, like the name "Nassau". It's something you can think about when the sky is grey and the wind is blowing.

But the Spanish reference... that's something else...
posted by ovvl at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oddly enough, in addition to Dutch, English, Spanish, and then typically one additional foreign language, in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao they also speak a language called Papiamento.

And up until I wast around 15 I would have sworn this was just the natives speaking in one language until they couldn't think of the right word and then switching to another.

Turns out it's mostly Afrikaans and Portuguese. No wonder I never got the hang of it.

FWIW, Dutch is one of the easier languages to learn for us 'muricans. It has the same sentence structure as English, part of the aforementioned germanic languages. I still remember the first phrase my mother taught me when I was four or five. She said it was very important if I were to ever get lost or separated from her: Waar es de badkamer?

Turns out the Dutch have an excellent sense of humor too.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Netherlands only stopped being "Holland" in the idiosyncratic Olympic nomenclature in 1992; competitors from the former Netherlands Antilles made up three-quarters of the four-person "Independent Olympic Athletes" team who got their moment of glory during the London opening ceremony.

So, the Oranje are Holland when they're losing the World Cup; were they Holland at the 2008 Olympics?
posted by holgate at 9:56 PM on December 28, 2012


FWIW, Dutch is one of the easier languages to learn for us 'muricans.

OTOH, and having just got back from two weeks in a Dutch/French-speaking region of Belgium: I'm English and learned French and German as a teen, and I find Dutch infuriatingly opaque. It's just not similar enough to any of the languages I know to give me any traction -- even restaurant menus were problematic until I'd acquired enough Dutch vocabulary to puzzle through. ("Kip" = "chicken"? HOW WOULD I HAVE GUESSED THAT?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:01 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. I just got home from an extended happy hour and this thread read like some Monty Python skit i had missed.
posted by sio42 at 10:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


They make Gouda cheese, which alone qualifies them for eternal salvation.

Also they are a fantastic choice in Civ. At least in Civ IV and Gods & Kings. Bonus points because other players don't see them coming.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gouda is boring...until it gets old. Then, it is a divine, world-class cheese. But really, young gouda is bland. (same goes for asiago). In America, most likely you'll see young gouda.

The grammar of Dutch being similar to English isn't very relevant. The problem with Dutch is the vowels. They double them up and each combo is different and they get damn subtle. More subtle than my native Dutch-speaking partner can make me hear. For me, this is further complicated by the necessity of German in my life. German is very simple to pronounce, in comparison. Mind, that's Hoch Deutsch. Swiss German is categorically unpossible.
posted by Goofyy at 11:34 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So wait while we're on the Dutch language, there's something that has been bothering me. Is the last name of Dutch astronomer and communist theorist Anton Pannekoek actually "pancake"? Or is it not because it's "pannenkoek" for pancake?
posted by graymouser at 11:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


graymouser: My Flemish partner (who speaks more correct Dutch than the average Nederlander) says yes. That is Anton Pancake. And I know pancakes.

Speaking of which, Dutch pancakes are nice. Thicker than French Crepes (which I mostly dislike) but not like American ones. They will cook your bacon right in to the pancake. It's nice.
posted by Goofyy at 12:28 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Confess, Fletch:] The linking n thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as the damm 's-word thing.
In Swedish the city of Den Haag (The Hague) is simply called ‘Haag’. Here the ‘damm ’s’ comes in handy when I want to annoy them. I just tell them to call it ’s-Gravenhage instead, or even des Graven hage. They find this completely unpronouncible. Mission accomplished.

Also, how many ’s- do you know? According to the official Dutch spelling (Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal, aka het Groene Boekje [wiki en]) there are only 5:

1. 's anderendaags
2. 's–Gravenhage
3. 's–Hertogenbosch
4. 's zaterdagsavonds
5. 's zondagsavonds
posted by Martijn at 12:41 AM on December 29, 2012


's morgens? 's middags? 's avonds? (= in the morning / afternoon / evening)

4 and 5 seem a bit silly, as they mean 'on Saturday / Sunday night' respectively.

I seem to recall 's is an abbreviation of 'des', which means 'of the' and isn't used in current Dutch anymore.

About the 'Pannekoek' / 'pannenkoek' thing: yes, they both mean 'pancake'. The spelling of 'pannekoek' only changed to 'pannenkoek' in a fairly recent spelling reform.
posted by rjs at 12:54 AM on December 29, 2012


really, young gouda is bland

But really young gouda (graskaas/meadowkaas) ain't, even if it's pushed by marketers as Dutch Beaujolais Nouveau. And I will never cease to be amused by the arrangement of the cheese section at Albert Heijn -- 85% gouda in all manner of permutations, 10% other Dutch cheese, 5% everything else.
posted by holgate at 1:23 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mmmmmmmm. Pfeffernüsse.
posted by flabdablet at 1:24 AM on December 29, 2012


In Dutch, is "dutch" just a generic word for "language"?

No.

Mmmmmmmm. Pfeffernüsse.

Yes, the Germans can bake some nice stuff. We call those Pepernoten.

If it has an Umlaut (those two little dots) on an o, u or a, it's probably not a Dutch word.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:42 AM on December 29, 2012


FWIW, Dutch is one of the easier languages to learn for us 'muricans.

It looks easy, but it can be hard, if only for the numerous false friends you encounter. For example, a slagroom is not something you find in the Red Light district if you actually follow one of those nice ladies behind her curtain, but is the Dutch word for whipped cream, while niether glans shamppo nor ani-klit cremespoeling have anything to do with your lower bits.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:06 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is the last name of Dutch astronomer and communist theorist Anton Pannekoek actually "pancake"?

Yep. But don't forget he was an eminent astronomer as well. Meanwhile, in the eighties, the chairperson of the pilot union was called Baksteen, Brick, which was rather unfortunate.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:08 AM on December 29, 2012


In Swedish the city of Den Haag (The Hague) is simply called ‘Haag’.

But only a true native speaker of Dutch can pronounce Gouda or Scheveningen.
posted by three blind mice at 4:37 AM on December 29, 2012


[rjs:] 's morgens? 's middags? 's avonds? (= in the morning / afternoon / evening)

4 and 5 seem a bit silly, as they mean 'on Saturday / Sunday night' respectively.
As I native speaker I can only agree. The countless of times I have used the ’s variants I was very surprised to not see them in the official list. I do not know a better source of officially accepted words though, and the van Dale online dictionary didn’t help me either.
[rjs:] I seem to recall 's is an abbreviation of 'des', which means 'of the' and isn't used in current Dutch anymore.
That’s right. des is a variant of the definite article de. But Dutch has lost its grammatical cases (if that’s the right term?) so instead we write it out with 2 words like you did with ‘of the’.

It’s still there in several phrasings though, such as ‘heer des huizes’, lord of the house.
[three blind mice:] But only a true native speaker of Dutch can pronounce Gouda or Scheveningen.
Or Groningen. For some reason I have met a lot of people who visited that particular province (and/or town — for the geography geeks). I like to think we name our towns that way specifically to annoy foreigners.

(I also think the best word ever invented is geslachtsgemeenschap, meaning sexual intercourse.)
posted by Martijn at 5:13 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That above was the weirdest derail of all time. I didn't know if it was for real or some elaborate joke reference dance_with_sneetches was making. Glad it worked out!

But anyway. This video is punchy and all, but I don't think it's actually very well served by its format. He motors through it all like he believes we're all LOL WUT about the idea that we could care about the Netherlands. I found I had to pause it many times, and read the subtitles more than follow his spoken words, to make sure I had digested it all.

If any of you are the same way, may I give you the gist, in an easier-to-refer-to format than pausing and rewinding a YouTube video:

The NETHERLANDS is a nation. It has 12 provinces. Two of them are NORTH and SOUTH HOLLAND, the "HOLLANDS," collectively HOLLAND. These two provinces are where most of the interesting stuff in The Netherlands are, so people have grown accustumed to calling the whole country "Holland," even the URL to the country's own website. There are also three islands in the Caribbean that are part of this nation called "The Netherlands," Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. They are considered cities of The Netherlands and are culturally Dutch, but aren't part of a province and don't use Euros for their currency, but US Dollars. They do vote in the Dutch elections.

There is also the KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS, connecting The Netherlands and former territories Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, all also in the Caribbean, which are now independent and self-governing but still retain connections to their parent nation. The Kingdom of the Netherlands contains ALL these things, islands, cities and nations. (Aside: Sint Maarten is the southern half of an island called Saint Martin, the rest of which is occupied of France. The name of the rest of that island is also "Saint Martin.")

The island cities and the island nations in the Kingdom of the Netherlands are collectively called "The Dutch Caribbean." All their citizens are considered Dutch citizens, and because The Netherlands are part of the EU, they're all considered Europeans despite their proximity to the Americas.
posted by JHarris at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


So wait while we're on the Dutch language, there's something that has been bothering me. Is the last name of Dutch astronomer and communist theorist Anton Pannekoek actually "pancake"?

So what I heard from colleagues in all my recent hanging around the country was that there was point in history when the Dutch were all asked for their surnames (by the French?) and they thought this invasion or whatever was temporary so what a great joke would it be to offer up funny names in their own language to these new foreign 'masters'...

These names apparently stuck and that is why, children, the Dutch have odd surnames which mean funny things...

Is this myth or leg pulling or a true story?
posted by infini at 7:29 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not Dutch, I've never been to the Netherlands, but people calling the country "Holland" has gotten to be a minor pet peeve - though not as annoying as people referring to the UK as "England" (which is really problematic). I keep telling people that it's like calling Canada "Ontario" (which really would piss off the rest of the country).
posted by jb at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


True story. Before Napoleon, most people went by a patronym.
posted by rjs at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is, most people opted for something sensible, like their patronym, their profession or the place they were from, but some went the silly route.
posted by rjs at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks rjs... now my next task is to crack the correct pronounciation of the letter "g" ... it sounds close to "kh" in my ear and suomi was easier
posted by infini at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2012


though not as annoying as people referring to the UK as "England" (which is really problematic).

Because really it should just be called London.
posted by srboisvert at 7:53 AM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


[three blind mice:] But only a true native speaker of Dutch can pronounce Gouda or Scheveningen.

[Martijn:] Or Groningen.

Good grief, yes. That leading G is a killer. I swear I'd been living there a good three years before I could make a passable stab at pronouncing "Groningen". "So where do you live?" "In... *cough* the north..."
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:04 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Martijn:] Or Groningen.

Living near the west of Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) this is almost pronounced 'Hroninhen'

What starts as a cough in the north east, becomes a whistle in the south west!
posted by channey at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2012


Only if the trains are running...
posted by infini at 8:23 AM on December 29, 2012




Ovvl - maybe you could substitute "Gouda" for "Howdy" instead?
posted by stevil at 8:33 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


[infinitewindow:] Obligatory videos that might make you think learning Dutch is easy.
And I don’t even feel the one you linked is right. ‘Hoeveel is dat?’ could mean several things. If you would ask the butcher they will probably tell you the weight and not the price. The lesson would have been just as easy and more effective had she gone with ‘Hoeveel kost dat?’, how much does that cost?

But as long as we are putting in reccomendations, I really like the The Dutch Language Blog by the Transparent Language guys. It does straight translations as well as deep grammar. Their Facebook page (or straight RSS feed they seem to import there) will give you a new word every day.
posted by Martijn at 8:43 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Turns out it's mostly Afrikaans and Portuguese.

And a hopi lot of Spanish, dushi.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:01 AM on December 29, 2012


Obligatory videos that might make you think learning Dutch is easy

I had an American colleague who worked hard at his Dutch language skills, only to complain that if he used his skills, he'd usually be answered in English anyway. Most Dutch are pretty proud of their language skills, even if they don't have any..
posted by DreamerFi at 9:02 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


a passable stab at pronouncing "Groningen

Grunn.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:44 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


>In Dutch, is "dutch" just a generic word for "language"?

No.


You could only be Dutch.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


a passable stab at pronouncing "Groningen

Grunn.


Oh good, help me out with Wageningen now...
posted by infini at 10:41 AM on December 29, 2012


Back when I passed through the Sint Maarten airport, the ATM outside offered 'Papiamento' as a language choice. I thought I could fake my way through the screens and come away with a Papiamento ATM receipt as a distinctive souvenir, but either the printer was broken or I had less idea what I was pressing than I thought I had.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:55 AM on December 29, 2012


I keep telling people that it's like calling Canada "Ontario" (which really would piss off the rest of the country).

Never happen. Everyone outside of Canada is only familiar with Banff.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:18 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dutch-speaking MeFites: I am sorry to secondly hijack your thread, but could you check out this ask-me thread concerning a feverish Blasdelb?
posted by Leucistic Cuttlefish at 11:53 AM on December 29, 2012


KokuRyu: "My assumption is that originally the "orange" comes from Spanish oranges. Although I may be totally out to lunch!"

Yeah it comes from the place in France. It has nothing to do with the fruit but that has become a local folk etymology of sorts.

graymouser: "So wait while we're on the Dutch language, there's something that has been bothering me. Is the last name of Dutch astronomer and communist theorist Anton Pannekoek actually "pancake"? Or is it not because it's "pannenkoek" for pancake?"

I wonder about the origin of this word as a name by the way: cursory Googling reveals that there is a place name "Pannekoek", or maybe it could be derived from a profession?

KokuRyu: "So what's the connection between "Dutch" and "Deutsch"?"

Dictionary.com has this:
1350–1400; Middle English Duch < Middle Dutch duutsch Dutch, German(ic); cognate with Old High German diutisc popular (language) (as opposed to learned Latin), translation of Latin (lingua) vulgāris popular (language)
benito.strauss: "Back when I passed through the Sint Maarten airport, the ATM outside offered 'Papiamento' as a language choice. I thought I could fake my way through the screens and come away with a Papiamento ATM receipt as a distinctive souvenir, but either the printer was broken or I had less idea what I was pressing than I thought I had."

On the upside, I hear they'll be opening the new benito.strauss runway at Princess Juliana International Airport in the new year, so named out of gratitude for your generosity. :)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:54 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


You could only be Dutch.

Yes.

:-)
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:38 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


But only a true native speaker of Dutch can pronounce Gouda or Scheveningen.

Or Groningen.

And here's why.

During the war, resistance types who wanted to check the Netherlandishness of possible (German plant) recruits would ask them to say "Scheveningen". It tended to weed out the suspect.

At least, that's what I was told back in the day, and it seems to have a touch of truth to it.
posted by BWA at 2:10 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


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