Yet another new semi-weekly meme! Welcome to miscommunication Monday. Where I share possible ways in which you might miscommunicate with a Dutch person. I have noticed that the people who read my blog are generally not from my country. So I thought I could use this to my advantage to do something a little bit different. It’s not quite book related, but language… close enough right? I decided to do it because I think it could be a fun way to mix things up and maybe make you laugh… or smile… maybe?
I will be providing you with a Dutch saying, by presenting a situation in which a Dutch person might say it to you. Then I will give you an explanation.
Why are these sayings interesting? Because we have some very strange ones here in the Netherlands, especially when translated. You might think to yourself “No Dutch person in their right mind would actually use such a stupid translation”, but you would be very wrong. A lot of people don’t realize these things don’t make sense outside of our little country. So someday, you might even hear these while encountering a wild Dutch person, and you’ll actually understand them!
Disclaimer: I don’t know all English sayings. There might be a post like “look how stupid this sounds in English HA-HA. And you’re sitting there like “um… that’s an actual saying here…”. If this ever happens: 1. I’m sorry, 2. I’m an idiot, 3. please tell me in the comments!
Let’s start off with one of my favorites.
Imagine yourself in an argument with a Dutch person. Let’s call him Kees. You have known Kees for a while and have met up a few times. A while back Kees was pretty rude to you. He told you your pants were extremely unflattering. You had a heated argument but he ended up apologizing. So all was good again, you forgave him.
Today the two of you met up again. What do you know, Kees did it again. This time, he told you that your music taste sucks. You get angry at him and tell him: “First you tell me my pants are unflattering, now you are telling me my music taste sucks! Why are you so rude?”. To which Kees says the following: “HE! You should not get old cows out of the ditch!“. He leaves you very confused…
In dutch, what Kees said would have been “Je moet geen oude koeien uit de sloot halen” which is kind of like saying “Let bygones be bygones”. This was in the past. We already spoke about this and I apologized. You shouldn’t bring it up again.
When translated into English this saying sounds weird, right? What do old cows have to do with it? It’s probably just a messed up metaphor. Old cows in ditches are… most likely dead (which might seem random but it actually happens pretty often). So why would you even try to get it out of the ditch anymore? It happened, there is nothing more I can do, nothing is going to change the past. Same goes for you bringing back old, resolved arguments. Poor cows though.
What do you think about this idea?
How do you feel about this saying?