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There is wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.

Nought warm where your hand was,
Nought gold where your hair was,
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.

Cold wind where your voice was,
Tears, tears where my heart was,
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

November by Walter de la Mare
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Dunglish (I always get my sin)

FrankFrank ModeratorPosts: 6,070 mod
When Dutch people who are not familiar with the English language nevertheless try to speak English, they sometimes speak it in a way they are used to speak in their own language. Sometimes they use a different word order or translate Dutch ideoms literally. If they do this you could hear the most strange sentences. These sentences are quite enough comprehensible for people who understand Dutch, but they sound odd and are often incomprehensible for the English. The Dutch writer Maarten H. Rijkens called this ‘new language’ Dunglish. He collected a lot of bizarre expressions the Dutch use if they try to speak English and wrote them down in a book titled: I always get my sin (meaning: I always get what I want). Here are a few examples of Dunglish (with in brackets what the Dutch person meant to say).

- How do you do and how do you do your wife? (How are you doing and how is your wife?)
- We have to look further than our nose is long (We shouldn’t stop searching)
- May I thank your cock for the lovely dinner? (Give my compliments to the cook)
- You are not good snick (You are out of your mind)
- Make that the cat wise (I don’t believe you at all)
- We go in sea with you (We will do business with you)
- You are on glad ice (You are taking a big risk)
- I know from the hood and the rand (I am well informed)
- Now breaks my wooden shoe (This is the ultimate!)
- I'm not crazy Henkie (Don’t take me for a fool)
- Bad luck birds (people who have bad luck)
- He is over the horse lifted (He is spoiled and conceited)
- I have you in the holes (I’ll keep an eye on you)
- There comes the monkey out of the sleeve (Finally we hear the real story)

More on Dunglish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunglish

Do the native speakers of your language also make this kind of strange mistakes when they try to speak English? If you have some examples, please share them with us here.


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    Now breaks my wooden shoe! I imagine it must be quite a challenge to break a wooden clog @lichaamstaal‌.

    I think there are some interesting Tibetan quotations, but I can't remember any offhand I'm afraid.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    Now breaks my wooden shoe! is a quite normal expression here. I don't think the speakers wonder about how easy this can be done @mheredge. Maybe foremost because there are not so many people here who actually wear those shoes. I know some farmers do have wooden shoes, but in the city I never saw them. But regardless if you wear them or not, apparently you can break them.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    They'd make good fuel @lichaamstaal‌, if open fires in the home are allowed in the Netherlands. Or is it just cities that are smokeless zones?
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    Many people have fireplaces in their homes here. You could burn wooden shoes in it I guess , but that would make it a quite expensive hobby @mheredge.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    Are they made of pine wood @lichaamstaal‌? That burns very quickly. It might be a bit of a waste then.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    Yes I think it's pine wood @mheredge.
  • LynneLynne Your Teacher HomePosts: 9,585 mod
    As a fluent Genglish speaker, I can assure you it's not just the Dutch @lichaamstaal‌. Your brain will eventually separate the two languages, but even then it will trip up from time to time.

    Please don't use that first one in polite company. It's doubly dangerous because someone might tell you. Eew!


    We have a very similar saying: You are skating on thin ice (You are taking a big risk).

    We call wooden shoes, clogs.

    Oh and idioms with an i.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    In Darjeeling, they mix up Nepali, Hindi and English (Nepinglish?) and in India, Hinglish is very common. In fact the news presenters on TV tend to forget themselves and rabbit away for ages in English before they remember to switch back to Hindi. It's not like it's just a few words, but they'll speak whole paragraphs in English.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    edited November 2014
    'You are on glad ice' is not quite the same as 'you are skating on thin ice' @Lynne. Glad means slippery. So literally the translation of the Dunglish sentence is: 'you are skating on slippery ice'. At last, these both are risky behaviours anyhow. What is Genglish @Lynne? I know the German variant is called: Denglish, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denglisch
  • LynneLynne Your Teacher HomePosts: 9,585 mod
    edited November 2014
    Yes, but I speak German, so it has to be Genglish. ;)

    @mheredge‌ - It's really difficult to switch quickly from one language to another.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    I think you have to see this from the German point of view @Lynne: Deutsch-English. These are the Germans who can't speak proper English. For English people who experiment with speaking German it must be something like 'Engerman'.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    Well I hope I can switch @Lynne, as every time I try to say something in Hindi, Nepali is coming out. (PS Do I qualify for a Hindi Badge @Lynne?) :(
  • LynneLynne Your Teacher HomePosts: 9,585 mod
    If you want the Hindi learners badge, yes. Just ask in the badges section @mheredge.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    edited November 2014
    Done @Lynne! I was told today that whilst Nepalese people can understand Hindi quite easily, Hindi speakers don't understand Nepali easily. This might explain why understand Hindi a bit but I get very blank faces if I speak in Nepali to Hindi speakers. :|
  • AmsAms Posts: 5
    @lichaamstaal I expect there wil be comming al lot of new dunglish sentences from Louis van Gaal now he is footballcoach in England. Unless he speaks English better than German.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    I think you're right @Ams.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    Do the English team really know how to speak English that well @Ams?
  • AmsAms Posts: 5
    I don't know about the English team @mheredge, but I do know that Louis van Gaal can't speak English very well. Yesterday he had another lovely phrase, after winning an away match. He said: now we go looking upstairs not downstairs. Probably meaning looking upwards, not downwards. But I’m not sure that’s correct English.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    I suppose we can guess what he's trying to say @Ams. But you're right. He wasn't speaking very good English. He needs to join the Forum!
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    edited November 2014
    Today it's raining in Holland. At school I learned: it’s raining cats and dogs, but apparently this is hardly ever said in Britain, isn't it? Then what do you say when it's raining severely? We would say it's raining 'pipe stems'. I know that's really Dunglish.

    By the way, here you can find idiomatic expressions for heavy rain in many different other languages: http://www.omniglot.com/language/idioms/rain.php
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    I don't know how rare the phrase is, but I use it occasionally @lichaamstaal‌. I certainly use the phrase: 'It's bucketing down' a lot.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,070 mod
    edited December 2014
    The most strange example of a Dunglish conversation,
    somebody told me about recently, is the following:

    Englishman to Duchman: 'What do you do for a living?'
    Dutchman: 'I fok horses.'
    Englishman: 'Pardon?!'
    Dutchman: 'Yes, paarden!'

    This conversation needs some explanation for people who don't speak Dutch.
    The Dutch word fok, means: (to) breed.
    The Dutch word paarden (this sounds like pardon), means: horses.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod

    I bought a small bread roll from a Tibetan lady at the weekend. When I asked how much, she mumbled something that sounded like 'char' rupees, which I thought might have been Hindi for four or six (to my ear, the two words sound the same). When I held up four and then six fingers, she shook her head and held up ten fingers. She thought 'char' was ten in English. I have no idea how she thought that though.
  • LynneLynne Your Teacher HomePosts: 9,585 mod
    @lichaamstaal‌ - "Death or Glory", is the motto of Queen's Royal Lancers of the British Army. I think they should change it. :wink:
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    But they don't use lances do they?
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    Not any more @SLB but I'm sure that they did once upon a time.
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    "once upon a time"? hehehe I thought this expression was restricted to tales!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 28,110 mod
    It means a long time ago @SLB, but who knows exactly when!
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    who knows exactly when!

    If you don't, then it surely was a long time ago!
    I'm not implying you're old or anything, but you studied history, didn't you?

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