Sunday, 23 December 2012

Keeping the Christmas Turkey Safe

I had a problem with the turkey the other day.

I bought a lovely turkey crown for our Christmas celebrations and was well pleased with it. The only trouble was that upon returning home I noticed that the sell by date ('Te Gebruiken tot…') was marked as BEFORE Christmas day! Doh…

As I was inspecting the packaging to see if I was somehow mistaken I also noticed 'Koel bewaren' and noticed the similarity of bewaren to beware in English.

Related? I investigated.

bewaren : keep, save, preserve, conserve, guard.

beware : be cautious and alert to the dangers of.

Not exactly the same but deserves more looking into.

English etymology:
(from wary) 1550s, from O.E. wær "prudent, aware, alert, wary," from P.Gmc. *waraz (cf. O.N. varr "attentive," Goth. wars "cautious," O.S. giwar, M.Du. gheware, O.H.G. giwar, Ger. gewahr "aware"), from PIE root *wer- "to cover" (see weir). Related: Warily; wariness.

Dutch etymology:
Onl. beuuarun ‘het oog houden op’ [10e eeuw; W.Ps.]; mnl. bewaren ‘letten op, beschermen, handhaven’

('keep an eye on' [10th century]; Keep 'watch, protect, enforce')

This brings these two words more in line and with even more searching I find that, just as in English, bewaren in Dutch is made up from two words. In Dutch 'waren' (cf. wary) which meant ‘zorgen voor, bewaken’ (care for, guard).

But beware! Although these two words have similar etymology they mean different things now. The process of investigating really helps me retain a word in my head, even if finally their meanings are not exactly the same.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Current Dutch Comprehension level

I was pleased to read this in the paper the other day and to be able to understand and translate it.
Reading the paper is a great way to keep chipping away at Dutch  comprehension and in Brussels there are several free publications you can pick up easily. The metro is free and mostly found in or around metro stations, or you can read it online here: 

Brussel Deze Week is, as the name suggests, Brussels-based news and can be read here: (as can the free 'Agenda' magazine). So plenty of options to read a little Dutch daily.

Here's my translation, but feel free to send comments or corrections!

"Here young people need somebody who can tell them that it is possible to make something of their lives."

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


You know what I mean?

Menen and mening are a bit different from their English counterparts so I thought I'd make a note.

Surely, they both must share a common root, but now have slightly different meanings.

Look at the etymology:

O.E. mænan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament"

M.Du. meenen, Du. menen, Ger. meinen "think, suppose, be of the opinion".

Menen: to believe
Mening: opinion, belief