Notices

Common errors in Europe?

Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:01 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Common errors in Europe?

I know that almost all of us have difficulties in pronouncing words in other languages, but some gross errors have become so in-grained that folk are stunned to hear that they are screwing with someone's name or language. Yes, I know that Anglos are unlikely to say Pareee when they mean Paris. But there is one that never fails to amaze me by its tenacity to remain unnoticed, namely - Van Gogh. Yes, the sunflower and wheat-field painter.

He was Dutch (duh!) and that is a language full of European throat-clearing sounds, apparently totally foreign to Anglo mouth equipment. So here goes - his name is NOT pronounced Van Go. Say that in Holland and you will get polite but blank stares. Van Go is said by a toddler, announcing the departure of a special class of commercial vehicle - not an impressionist artist, allegedly with only one ear.

My best attempt at the real pronounciation is Fun Choch. The "Fun" is simple - enough said. The ChoCh is more difficult. The "o" is as in "lock" - no problem. Each "ch" is pronounced as in Loch (Scots for lake - e.g. Loch Ness monster). Don't get that? OK, lets try - from your throat expell a light short burst of air while raising the back of your tongue to near to your uvula (no porn - its your "little tongue"). The sound should be a short rattle like a miniclearing of the upper throat. Softly - you're not trying to clear a big phlegm ball. Now try to string together Fun Throatclear-o-Throatclear.

Agghhh - forget it, just say Fun Goff (as in Golf).

Don't say I didn't try.

Peter
Rockknocker is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
=D>
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:32 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 440
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It was Dave Barry who described the Dutch 'g', 'gh' and 'ch' sounds as "coughing up a looger the size of a cocker spaniel"!
However, if you say Van Go in Holland they will most probably know who you mean, at least from the context, as they are used to quite a variety of pronounciations!
jenviolin is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:34 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,677
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi,

I thought it was Fon Hoch (ch as in loch G as in Gouda).
ira is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:54 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi Ira,
I'm soooo glad that the Loch story makes sense to someone.

Regarding the first G, indeed, it is a in Gouda. The problem is that in Dutch, Gouda is pronounced "Ch"owdah - that sneaky little Ch has popped up again. More throat clearing I'm afraid.

Thanks for your interest.
Peter
Rockknocker is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 06:49 AM
  #6  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,677
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi Peter,

You are correct.

The reason I wrote it as H instead of ch was that I have heard both Van Gogh and Gouda pronounce as a guttural H rather than as the somewhat harder cccccchhhhhhhh of loch.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 07:15 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,803
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ira, just to complicate matters further, people from the south of The Netherlands will pronounce Van Goch with a soft ch like loch, whereas people from the west of the country will pronounce this with a more guttural G (what we would call a hard G).
Tulips is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 07:20 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
While on the subject, may I also address another urban legend, namely that the national dish of Belgium is mussels with french fries/chips.

Firstly, make no mistake - you eat WELL in Belgium. Also, Imho their chocolate is the best in the world and their beers amongst the most intriguing. They have more rated restaurants per capita than any other country, France included.

But - Mussels and Chips!!!!

Indeed they make the best patat frites on the planet, but flagging chips (UK) is like saying that the national dish of the USA is the hamburger - widely consumed, yes, but the flagship dish?

So back to Moules et frites (which only recognizes one of the 2 national languages) - it is there to be eaten, but where? Answer - look for the densest concentration of tourists and the eet-cafes will be bringing out the crustaceans by the bucketfull. May I suggest that this implies that the tourists are the ones seeking M&F but not real beret-wearing Belgians. To check this I visited a web site discussing the top 50 restaurants in Antwerp. A quick scan revealed only 1 mention of M&F. I got the impression that rack of lamb and cheese ommelettes occurred many more times.

So what is the national dish of Belgium? I'm damned if I know, but its not mussels, except around the railway station.

Peter
Rockknocker is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 07:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 440
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mybe it's 'Waterzooi', a word I've always loved: it means 'water mess'.
jenviolin is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 08:42 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi

I lived in Belgium for many years.

Another favourite is eels, endives, etc.

But when the mussels arrive at the end of each summer it is headline TV news !

I lived away from the tourist areas and even my local Thai, Cambodian, Chinese restaurants started offering mosselen (!) dishes in season.

So, natives are pretty keen too.

I once had a menu described as mussel surprise :

Raw mussels on a bed of ice
Mussel soup
2kg mussel with sauce to choice (and frites of course)
Choice of desserts (that must be the surprise ?)

Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com
mpprh is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 09:31 AM
  #11  
jor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,766
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I spent about a half hour in a hostel breakfast room in Scotland with an English teacher who is a native of Holland. I finally mastered the pronounciation and there is no way I can discribe in engligh letters how to do it. But now I know that some of the more howty towty of us Americans who think they pronounce it right don't have a clue.
jor is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 09:39 AM
  #12  
ron
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,675
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Jor, I believe the term is hoity-toity, but perhaps it is pronounced howty towty in Scotland.
ron is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 11:59 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
This thread reminds me of some tram drivers in Amsterdam that will announce the trams stops the way tourists from English/French/German/Spanish speaking countries would normally pronounce them. Spui and Leidseplein are some of my favourites! If you see all of the Dutch people smile when these stops are announced, you now know why!
Sjoerd is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 12:04 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,177
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Rockknocker,
I'm afraid it IS "mosselen met friet" (moules & frites) in the mussel season that, by the way, started two weeks ago already (almost one month earlier than usual)!
A good runner-up would be steak & frites.

Note that the young folks eat quite different from the older ones. Probably the top 50 restaurants in Antwerp was chosen mainly by younger people. By the way, where did you find that top 50. I'm very interested to know if my favorites are listed.

mpprh,
Endives rolled in ham and prepared "au gratin". Mmmm, one of my favourite winter dishes but hard to find in restaurants nowadays. Just like the "waterzooi" jenviolin refers to.
MyriamC is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2003, 11:50 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good and interesting points raised all around. Nice.

One last Belgian/pronounciation gripe. Brugge is in Flanders where they mainly speak Flemish/Vlaams (duh!). So why does the Anglo world seem to insist on using the French/Walloon pronounciation, which closely rhymes with "huge". We dont go to a Brit to enquire about Londres do we? The real inhabitants would pronounce Brugge with the "u" as the "oo" in "hook", the "gg" as the softer gutteral of the Scots Loch, and the "e' would definitely be sounded. How come we screw it up so often? Is it that all we have to fall back on other than English, is dimly remembered Grade 8 French?

Peter - from the puzzled corner.

Peter
Rockknocker is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 02:59 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
To MiriamC

Sorry, Your request for the reference to Antwerp restaurants slipped me by.
Here it is:

http://www.expatica.com/belgium.asp

All the best,
Peter
Rockknocker is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:09 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,719
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Regarding the pronounciation of Bruges: in every travel brochure or guide I've ever seen in the UK, the place is referred to as Bruges, so it's only natural that people follow the example that's set them.
By the same token, you could complain that no-one uses the names Firenze, or Praha (we use the 'French' names Florence and Prague instead) ;-)
hanl is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:17 AM
  #18  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,677
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rockknocker remarks

>...but flagging chips (UK) is like saying that the national dish of the USA is the hamburger - widely consumed, yes, but the flagship dish?<

Of course not. The national dish of the USA is pizza.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:19 AM
  #19  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,677
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
> I once had a menu described as mussel surprise :

Raw mussels on a bed of ice
Mussel soup
2kg mussel with sauce to choice (and frites of course)
Choice of desserts (that must be the surprise ?)

Peter<

2 kilos of mussels!? This is a menu for four isn't it?
ira is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 04:38 AM
  #20  
jmw
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Where's Fred Astaire when we need him? (Thanks for the smiles with my first cup of morning coffee.)
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO