‘Flemish cookbook is Greek to the Dutch’

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When I occasionally zap to Jeroen Meus’ cooking show on Belgian TV in the evening, I could play a drinking game and get very messed up by drinking every time he uses Flemish diminutives like ‘evenkes’ (a while) and ‘boske’ (small bunch). As a foreigner who learnt Dutch on the street and who has Flemish friends, I can understand him. So why is a food journalist claiming that the Dutch can’t make out what he’s saying? Because they favour their own words and can’t be bothered to do a little research.

The Dutch journalist said it would be best to translate Meus’ cookbook from Flemish into Dutch, which is a touchy subject. But once the journalist claimed that the cookbook was ‘as good as useless’, it got media attention. It’s a ‘hellish job’ to figure out what the Flemish words mean in the recipes. Really? And all those English/Australian/American variants on products and measurements the Dutch all know by heart? Get real and broaden your horizons already.

(Link: standaard.be, Photo: my easy to understand and make banana muffins, available in normal and vegan variants)

3 Comments »

  1. When Belgian people spek on the Dutch telly they get subtitles – I really do not understand why. Come on, even I can understand them ! When it is a very old person who has being interviwed, with an accent and few teeth in the mouth… then I can understand that they help the viewers with subtitles. But Flemish is not uncomprehensible.

    Comment by Anita — July 7, 2011 @ 9:10 am

  2. I think it’s a great idea. Taking it to the next level, we should have subtitles for American audiences when they show British actors in Hollywood movies (wasn’t that why Cheryl Cole got dinged for X-Factor) ? Come to think about it, some subtitles on Irish/Scottish/Yorkshire accents on the BBC might be the way to go as well :)

    Comment by Ujjwal — July 7, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  3. Flemish is indeed not uncomprehensible, but neither is Dutch. Yet Baantjer when shown on Flemish TV has also subtitles.

    Comment by Ghyl — July 8, 2011 @ 8:19 am

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