Monthly Archives: February 2011

A matter of taste*

I never quite understood how it comes that the English like the accent French speakers have. To me, it is ok as long as it is only a faint accent, but a strong one is about as enjoyable as having your toe nails removed. Without anaesthetics** painful.

But then I realised that it is all a matter of taste. After all, I’ve never seen as many – what I consider – badly dressed people as in the UK: leggings and shorts; undersized cloths on oversized people, hyper creative colour combinations…

* Or: How to insult two nations with one post.

** Mes chers amis français, je vous aimes! D’autant plus que nous pouvons communiquer sans devoir passer par une autre langue que la votre.

Motivators for change

I have been thinking about this fritten revolution called for in Belgium at the celebration of the 249th day waiting for a government. Besides fries, there is obviously one other important Belgian symbol: Beer.

Even as a German, I have no problem admitting that Belgium beer is very good, especially the abbaye ones. And not only this. It even seems that beer initiated most inventions in human kind:

Beer – the origin of agriculture, the wheel, maths & writing. Who would have thought? But coming back to the real issue: Why not to make beer the national symbol, change the name of the country to Beergium and elect a beer king/queen every four years? Once you are drunk enough, language barriers won’t matter. At least this much is for sure.

2 versions of a story

Ideal world:

Me: Good morning
Colleague: Good morning. How are you?
Me: Fine, and you?
C: Fine too but listen I have a problem with the computer. Would you mind having a look on it after grabbing a coffee?
Me: Sure, no problem.

Real world:

Me: Good morning.
C: Can you tell me why this computer is not working??
Me: Good morning… First, I get a coffee; then I’ll have a look.
C: “…”
Me thinking: “I’m sure most people are taught manners as children. But some are better than others in eradicating them from their daily behaviour.”

Date for the diary

As of today, Belgium holds officially the world record of the country waiting the longest for government: 249 days.

Without nation-wide TV, newspapers or political parties, it is all but too easy for Flamish and Wallonian politicians to serve only the interests of those whose language they speak. ‘Belgium’ as such is at best a second priority of minor importance. But still, resistance is growing and it choose the one symbol that unites the country: Fries.

Om de hoop te voeden…

En nou heb ik er genoeg van!

Absolutely brilliant video about the absurdity of the current negotiations to form a Belgian government: http://universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/mQMJiwWDtPAG/info/

Dutch is a funny language en ik houd van het.

One fact – four ways to say it

Ahh, the beauty of language. Just take the time. In German exist 4 different ways to say it’s 10:15:

  • Quarter past 10
  • Quarter 11
  • Quarter as of ten
  • Quarter over ten.

Admitted, I didn’t know the last two either but it’s good to see that the very logic quarter 11 (followed by half 11; three-quarter 11, and, guess what, 11) is far more widespread than some Germans might want to make you believe.


And that’s just time. A fact which as such is not disputable. Now imagine how many different ways of sayings there are for weather, for how you feel, for what you want and how many possible ways there are to misunderstand each other. And all of this within the same language.

Superglue