Thursday, January 3

...They Have a Different Word for Everything

Our Dutch lesson today begins with some simple vocabulary. Practice aloud please, as it's just oh-so-much-more-fun to actually PRONOUNCE the 'g' rather than trying to read the 'g'. Okay, really, it's just my joy in picturing your attempt to pronounce the 'g' over any other reason, but you don't want to deny me that pleasure, do you?

We shall start here:
Dag (dakh)= day
Dagen (dakh-en)=days

Now, try these:
Prettige (prett-ikh-ah)= nice or lovely or beautiful
Feest (fayst)=festival or party or celebration
Kerst (cares-t)=Christmas

And hold onto this one:
Lees (lace)=to read

I love clever advertising, and by this I mean those ads which capture a play on words to perfection. I do not mean those horrific attempts at mock-wit which change the spelling of a word to alliterate a phrase. For instance, something like Kitty Korner makes me groan in horror and don't even get me started on Kar Kare. This is travesty! Seriously. If neither word begins with that letter you don't get to just go changing it around. The blatant disregard for spelling rules just bugs. Think of the children! Think of the EAL students! Think of the spelling bees!

Oh, but I do wander. Forgive me, I will try to focus.

In Dutch, the common phrase around Christmastime is "Prettige Kerstdagen" or you might hear "Prettige Feestdagen" as the joyful wish of happy christmas days. So, keeping that phrase "Prettige Feestdagen" in mind (which can be taken to mean "have a lovely set of party days" or "Happy Celebration"), substitute the single word "Lees" (to read) in place of "Feest" and you have:

Do you see it for all the wit and glory? The simple trade of words in that phrase makes it "Happy Reading Days"

I discovered this sign--and ad campaign--at a local bookstore in The Hague's centrum while doing some Christmas shopping. I was delighted. Absolutely. Not only for the clever thought behind it, but because it is a perfect sentiment in anticipation of DAY TO READ, launched by Soccer Mom in Denial, which arrives for our mutual enjoyment and benefit next week. Jan 10th is the day friends. The day to cuddle up with a book and read, read, read.

At its heart this campaign is a call to awareness and a reminder that a good book has no equal.

Join us on the 10th and spend some time with your feet up and your mind engaged. Then, please take the time to report on your leesdag by writing about it either at your place or at one of ours.

Happy reading friends!



  1. Thanks for I speak

  2. gb-
    I knew you would appreciate it!

    You and me both. hahahahaha!

  3. What a wonderful story! It's funny, because there's a fabulous ad campaign in the States now, too, of children waiting to get on a train that looks a lot like the Hogwart's express, and their passports are books and they transport to the land of the books by reading. I can't describe it, but it's really good!

    Happy Reading Day! I'm falling down on my promotion!

  4. Now you KNOW I know how to pronounce those "g's" - my maiden name was Geelhoed, for goodness sakes!

    I love wordsmithing in any language. That's a wonderful phrase!

  5. jen-
    Let's be honest, you are hard to keep up with on the promotion end, not falling down at all!
    That ad campaign sounds just delightful. I love that there is a real effort out there to capture attention to read.

    hahahahaha! Practice makes perfect with that 'G'! I don't suppose you've ever heard it pronounced correctly outside of a dutch speaker, though.
    Wordsmithing is such a cool word. You rock.

  6. Oh what fun--and I SO enjoy that phrase (and can now say it in Dutch--I'm even impressed with me).

    You are a smart cookie, getting us hook, line and sinker as they say, with that lead-in.

    Great way to make your point and remind everyone of Jan. 10th!

  7. I'm so amazed - SMID's campaign has gone international! :)

  8. I am SOOOOOOOO grateful that you wrote about Day to Read as I sit on the 38th floor of a tower looking out on a certain strip.


  9. Very clever! And, personally, I'm fond of the red background and the 'l' that was turned into a candle... reading by candlelight! Now that's festive!

  10. Very clever ad, and a very clever post. (I have to admit that I completely forgot, both about the day and that I intend to join...) Thanks for reminding me!

  11. I love a clever play on words, too.

    When I was a little girl, my grandpa used to listen to Tom T. Hall. He sang a song called "Ravishing Ruby" about a truck stop waitress hoping to one day meet her trucker father. Through the chorus is says, "all the time she's been waiting on him she's been waiting on you and me." I'll never forget when I "got" it. OH! A waitress! She's waiting and she's waiting! Ha! I was hooked. It's amazing what you can do with words when you've got smarts real good.