Petra who asked us the other day about SINAASAPPEL (orange) also wanted to know more about the word SCHATJE. To say that someone is a SCHATJE is okay. But as a form of address I absolutely dislike it. If my loved one were to call me SCHATJE, I would immediately leave her and never come back. But that is probably because I am a man and Dutch.
Yes I agree, Zsuzsa, LUIER is a strange word. It is so common and yet so unique. When you were changing Noah’s nappy for the umpteenth time, you were probably wondering about the origins of the word. I can see you standing there with the dirty thing in your hand, thinking: ‘LUIER, nappy, napkin, diaper, pamper….’ How do they connect?
Each day my breakfast consists of a bowl of muesli with low-fat milk and a glass of orange juice. It makes me feel good and healthy. And I must have millions of ‘food mates’ all over the world eating and feeling the same. Unbelievable that there were times when this kind of breakfast was, to say the least, unusual.
Yes, the new Pope thanked the Dutch florists for the 40,000 free flowers (including 3,000 white Avalanche roses) after having said ‘urbi et orbi’ today. But no, this Pope did not express his gratitude in Dutch as his predecessors were accustomed to. This year no ‘Bedankt voor de bloemen’ (‘thanks for the flowers’). He said it in Italian. This year Pope Francis broke a tradition which started 28 years ago. What a shame. Next year we hope he studied some Dutch (you know where…).
Why does the English language have a bunny (KONIJN) for Easter and why is it a hare (HAAS) in all other languages? Very relevant questions that Anne-Marie posed on the day that the musical The Passion wound its way through the streets of The Hague.
De zon schijnt dus het is tijd voor een GLIMLACH! The sun is shining so it’s time for a smile. EEN GLIMLACH, smile is laughter without a sound. A sign of joy, happiness!
‘To make that noise which sudden merriment excites’, writes Samuel Johnson in his 18th century dictionary. However, LACHEN, laughter is so much more than mere noises ranging from calm giggles to loud guffaws. LACHEN is a visual expression of cheerfulness as well.
Spring is late in The Hague. The previous week was one of the coldest March periods in a long, long time. All those birds that had been warbling merrily that spring had finally arrived, have now shut their bills and beaks. It is HUFTERIG WEER (chilly weather) as the West Frisians say.
Some people hate these city birds, others love them. Jacqueline, for instance, cannot stand their loud cooing at break of day when they wake her up. And on top of that her balcony is covered with DUIVENPOEP, ‘dove droppings’. Every year there is a romantic couple outside her bedroom window. And soon there will be more of them.
This week it’s DE BOEKENWEEK, the national book week. A very succesful campaign to promote HET BOEK. It was started in the 1930’s in the Netherlands and is still going strong. Each year an author of name and fame is asked to write HET BOEKENWEEKGESCHENK, the book week gift. This year’s author is Hague born author and comedian Kees van Kooten (1941). His short novel is a witty search for the story behind his father’s binoculars.
Looking back at my recent ‘Words of the Day’, my musings on Dutch words are getting longer every day. The words LICHAAM, GEEST and HUFTER captivated me so much that I couldn’t stop writing.
Today’s word HUFTER (/hœftə/), made a capricious journey in time. It began its life as the verb HUFTEREN in the nineteenth century somewhere in West Friesland. It meant ‘to shiver with cold’. To this day West Frisians still speak of ‘hufterig weer’.
After yesterday’s LICHAAM (body) it is time to look into its twin word GEEST (mind, soul, spirit, ghost). Inseparable entities: matter and mind. Body and soul!
For many years I assumed that LICHAAM, body, originally meant ‘house of flesh’. For this reason I had fallen in love with it. After Margreet suggested LICHAAM, I did some research and discovered to my dismay that I had been wrong. Yes, HAAM does not mean ‘home’. HAAM means ‘covering’. And LIC means ‘shape’ as in ‘likeness’. According to the Bible God shaped Adam’s body after his likeness.
In this short series of Dutch and English words that are closely related (after having dealt with KNECHT and SLACHT), let’s have a look at the word TUIN, garden. This word sounds like…. ‘town’. So what have TUIN and TOWN in common?
A new trend in the area of Dutch justice is the right of SLACHTOFFERS, victims to speak in the courtroom. At the International Criminal Court in The Hague, too, victims can participate in the trials by expressing their views.