December 18, 2018

Frisians blocking the motorway Dutch Word of the Year 2018

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 2:40 pm

‘Blokkeerfries’ has won the Dutch Word of the Year 2018, followed by ‘yogasnuiver’ (‘yoga sniffer’) and ‘mangomoment’ (‘mango moment’) in third place.

‘Blokkerfries’ is described by Dutch dictionary Van Dale (a collaboration between the Dutch in the Netherlands and the Flemish in Belgium) as one of the people who blocked a motorway in [the Dutch province of] Friesland in order to stop others from demonstrating against an aspect of the Sinterklaas tradition, considered by some as a defender of it. You’ll notice they are not explicitly mentioning the now controversial ‘blackface’ aspect of Zwarte Piet, but that’s what was generally meant at the time.

A ‘yoga sniffer’ is someone that usually has a healthy lifestyle, but then once in a while goes overboard with party drugs and cocaine when they go out. For the advance class, if you do encounter the Dutch word ‘cultuursnuiver’ (‘culture sniffer’), it means someone who takes in culture, which is a positive thing.

‘Mangomoment’ refers to a Flemish television moment where a patient experienced a moment of happiness when the presenter of the show brought them a mango. Van Dale says it means a moment of happiness experienced by a seriously ill patient due to a seemingly insignificant, non-medical act or comment from a doctor or healthcare provider during normal healthcare activities.


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May 30, 2016

Dutch dictionary wins top British design prize

Filed under: Design,Literature by Orangemaster @ 9:18 am

British advertising agency D&AD have recently announced this year’s winners of their D&AD Pencil Awards for creative excellence in design and advertising, and the Netherlands nabbed seven awards this year, three less than last year. Studio Joost Grootens picked up a coveted Pencil award for the design of the new Dikke Van Dale, the “oldest and most extensive dictionary of the Dutch language”.

The pearly white cover presents a major break with the familiar dark hues [dark blue, maroon, etc.] traditionally used by the publisher. This signals the current association between the pursuit of knowledge and our use of white and silver digital devices as the portals to information.

With Almost 5000 pages of knowledge and in its fifteenth edition, this year the Van Dale was also fitted with navigational elements such as colours, symbols and illustrations.


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October 22, 2013

New Dutch words are just English in hollandaise sauce

Filed under: IT,Literature,Technology by Orangemaster @ 12:40 pm

Dutch dictionary Van Dale is considering a bunch of English words as well as translated English words to be included into the Dutch language. The words are often slang that goes mainstream and IT-related words.

    Selfie – Same meaning and spelling as in English, taking a picture of yourself with a mobile phone.
    Shishapen – In English ‘shisha pen’, an electric cigarette, shisha being of Egyptian origin.
    Sukkelseks – Dutch for low-quality sex, although I thought it meant ‘pity sex’.
    Gamechanger – ‘Game changer’, used by politicians and business people.
    Factchecken – ‘Fact checking’, since the Dutch already use ‘checken’ (‘to check’) because it is more to the point than a Dutch construction.
    3D-printer – Again the Dutch use ‘printer’, so this is a logical extension.

In May of this year, words like ‘religiestress’ (‘religion stress’, stress caused by religious beliefs) and ‘chillaxen’ (‘to chillax’, a slang word that combines ‘chill and relax’) were added to the online version of the Van Dale.

And finally words that are actually Dutch: ‘vingerpistool’ (‘finger pistol’, a gesture that indicates you’re shooting at someone) and ‘roeptoeteren’ (roughly pronounced ROOP-too-tee-ren), to give your opinion in a really loud and poorly considered manner.


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December 15, 2010

Dutch word of 2010 qualifies unusual minority government

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:07 am

The Dutch word of the year, according to Dutch dictionary Van Dale (a Dutch-Belgian joint publication), is ‘gedoogregering’, a government (‘-regering’) (albeit it a minority government this time) with silent support (‘gedoog-‘ means ‘tolerated’). The silent support comes from one of the three political parties who agrees to everything the other two parties want in exchange for deals made beforehand in an ‘gedoogakkoord’, or a ‘silent party agreement’. The Dutch have not had a minority government since WWII and is also dealing with a right-wing party that is anything but silent.

The runner-up word of the year is something the English-speaking world may know from Jamaican dancehall music and was described on Dutch telly very politely as ‘an erotic dance’: ‘daggeren’ (‘daggering’). It’s basically pretending to have jack-rabbit like sex on the dance floor (dry humping), usually to the beat of the music. Lucky for us, some white trash reality show apparently features this often.

The number one Dutch word in Belgium also has to do with sex: ‘tentsletje’ (‘tent slut’), a girl that sleeps with lots of different guys (goes from tent to tent) at those big summer festivals.


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January 3, 2010

Bosnian war survivor writes own dictionary

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 1:50 pm

Husein Mujagić survived the Omarska camp in the Bosnian war and now lives in the Dutch province of Limburg. To help him deal with his memories, he wrote a Dutch-Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian dictionary. This description didn’t come over as straightforward, so I will elaborate. Roughly, Bosnian is what people speak in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbian is spoken by Serbs and Croatian by Croatians. It’s way more complex, as Serbo-Croatian was long taught as one language, but that is slowly being spilt apart for cultural reasons. Yes, everybody understands each other, but there were reasons why the country split up into so many parts.

Mujagić was a math teacher in his own country and since he could not easily find work without speaking good Dutch, he worked as a janitor at a school. He’s always wanted to help children learn, and this two-part dictionary was his way of helping them do so, as he started with words his children would know. Both his sons are well-employed and are doing well, something Mujagić is very proud of.

After 10 years, his dictionary has more than 3,000 pages, but he only had some 100 copies printed for friends and family, Bosnian and Dutch. He alo reassures the Dutch that with his dictionary, they can make themselves understood in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia, now all seperate countries.

Different but yet similar, last year we posted about a Dutch missionary in Malawi who wrote a English-Chichewa dictionary.

(Link:, Photo of Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina by Pablo Pecora, some rights reserved.

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June 18, 2009

Dutch missionary produces Malawian dictionary

Filed under: Dutch first,Literature,Religion by Orangemaster @ 10:24 am

Theologist and missionary Steven Paas has put together an English-Chichewa and Chichewa-English dictionary, which is currently being published and will soon be distributed in Malawi, an African country where language is a huge barrier. The dictionary has some 35,000 words and is hand-bound by local women. The first run will have 5,000 copies of this 750-page dictionary, then another 10,000 in August and ideally some 100,000 copies in the end. About 90% of these dictionaries will be distributed to secondary schools and the rest will be sold to finance more copies.

When Paas was preparing himself to leave for Malawi back in 1997 he realised that there were very few reference books in Malawi’s native language, Chichewa. He started making lists of words, which eventually turned into an English-Chichewa dictionary, the first edition of which was published in 2003. Then in 2004, the Chichewa-English dictionary was published, and now the time has come to put the two together.

Although the official language of Malawi is English, most people speak Chichewa, a ‘language problem’ this book wants to help alleviate. Of course, the not so hidden agenda is to help the people understand the Bible better and all that, which has concepts that clash with Malawian society. Nonetheless, Malawians apparently do not speak English well, which hinders their chances at a better life. Once Malawi became an independent state in 1964, English became the language of education, media, politics and justice, while 50% of the entire polupation cannot read or write.

(Link:, via taalpost)

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