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2010-12-03 22:53

The Ashes in Afrikaans (apparently an ongoing series)

Australi het gister sy swakste begin tot n kriekettoetsbeurt in 60 jaar beleef.

Die Aussies se gesukkel in die reeks om die As teen Engeland het op die eerste dag van die tweede toets voortgeduur en hulle kon op n mak kolfblad hier net 245 lopies aanteken.

Yesterday Australia made its worst start to a Test match for 60 years.

Something something just 245 runs on a pretty mak pitch.

I'm not going to do a day-by-day on this, and EnglandandWales are more than capable of grasping defeat from better positions than this, but the leedvermak ("Schadenfreude") is strong in us today.

2010-12-03 22:02

Uncollapsing gender distinctions

There are regional flavours of Dutch that retain three(3) distinct genders, but in regular Standard Dutch male and female are collapsed down into the so-called (in English) "common gender", whose definite article is "de".

There's a wrinkle, though: in Fancypants Standard Dutch a pronoun refering back to a de word has to be male or female, and more particularly it has to be the right one of these. Thus, in the NRC Handelsblad books supplement today[1]:

Zo'n onderneming vereist niet alleen kennis; ze vereist ook lef [...]

Such an undertaking demands not just knowledge, she demands also courage [...]

Of course -ing words are just Cherman -ung words, and everyone knows those are female but since the gender of nouns has no other grammatical use, even native speakers are often at a loss to know what Fancypants Gender they might be. Getting it wrong can get you severely snooted, though, in scholarly and other Fancypants circles, and this is why all members or aspirants to the Fancypants Circle have to keep a big fat ("Dikke") Van Dale dictionary within reach.

It is also why educated Dutch persons will insist that Dutch really has three(3) genders, even though it quite clearly doesn't; education has a lot to answer for. (Or, if you are an idiot, "There is a lot for which education has to answer." And if you're an even bigger idiot feel free to mentally correct the punctuation in that.)

[1] NRC Handelsblad has a books section every Friday, but our Friday evening routine is not particularly conducive to reading it. We generally get home, drink a ritual bier to celebrate the weekend, have dinner, put the children to bed (including stories, the naming of animals, toothbrushing, a diligent search for the moon in the night sky and singing), drink another ritual bier to celebrate the weekend-weekend, and the slump on the sofa wondering why the TV is even more boring on Friday than the rest of the week.

During Saturday we get two(2) enormous lumps of newspaper before lunch, and we generally give up hope of ever catching up with even the parts Baby Egberdina hasn't cheerfully scrunched, ripped and/or chewed into submission before we get round to glancing at them.

2010-11-29 20:45

Low-hanging fruits

More than a thousand schools were closed across the UK on Monday, with snow causing the most travel chaos in Scotland and the north of England.

Schneechaos lhmt Berufsverkehr

I might have more if I wasn't so full of snot and Google wasn't so convinced that my language of choice is Dutch. (Telling it I like Engleesh doesn't work well either, since it then assumes I like nothing else.)

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