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top prev next bottom Immigrant Talk

This is a collection of stories about emigration (leaving The Netherlands) and immigration (entering Canada). It is also a must read for all of you who believe that their english is perfect, and for the more modest among you who like to improve their english. Have fun.

Having said that, let us not forget where our roots were, so how about listening to the Dutch national anthem (het Nederlandse Volkslied). And how many of you know the correct words the Canadian national anthem or know it's history?

top prev next bottom In Case You Forget (28-Oct-2006)

After many years in their new country, immigrants tend to forget the reason why they emigrated. Occasionally I read a Dutch newspaper and I always end up saying, "Oh, yes, now I remember why I left." The next stories I picked up from "Hollandse de Krant" issue of August 2006.

Farmers must apply for plowing license. Farmers in Holland who own a piece of land, that may contain archaeological treasures, must first apply for a license and have expensive soil research done before they are allowed to plow. The farmers have to pay for all that too. This applies to a very large area in Holland. That is the judgement of the "Raad van Staten." Obviously the farmers are furious about this judgement.

A large shopping chain (no name was mentioned) got a police-warrant. The shopping chain had instructed their employees -- as does every retail store -- to watch out for, and report, any criminal activity in their shops. The police got suspicious because the shopping chain regularly reported shoplifters. The police told the shopping chain to immediate stop that, as the shopping chain needs an official security license.

All residents of the Netherlands, 14 years and older, must carry a valid ID. If not they face a hefty fine. Return of "der Ausweis"? Also in the same newspaper an article that all cats must have a chip implanted or been tattooed. I can see that not for long all human babies are getting tattooed or a chip implanted at birth. Please beam me up Scotty. I am glad that I am getting old, and can leave this lunatic place soon.

top prev next bottom First Snow (1-Apr-2001)

A person who moved from warm Florida to Eastern Canada wrote this letter:

December 8th -- It started snowing at six in the evening -- the first of the season -- and my wife and I took our cocktails and sat by the window watching soft flakes drift down over the area. It was beautiful.

December 9th -- We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape; what a fantastic sight. Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful mantle. I shoveled for the first time in years and I loved it. I did both our driveway and the sidewalk. Later, the plow came along and covered the sidewalk up with the snow from the street, so I cleaned them again.

December 12th -- The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Oh well, I'm sure we will get some more before the enjoyable winter is over.

December 14th -- It snowed eight inches last night and the temperature dropped to twenty below zero. Shoveled the driveway and sidewalk again. The snowplow came by and did it's trick again.

December 15th -- Sold my van and bought a 4 x 4 Blazar so I can drive in the snow; also bought snow tires for the wife's car.

December 16th -- Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway; all that was hurt was my feelings.

December 19th -- Still cold, and icy roads make for very rough driving.

December 20th -- Had another fourteen inches of the white shit last night, more shoveling in store for me today. The damn plow came by twice.

December 22th -- We are assured of a white Christmas, because thirteen more inches of the white shit fell today, and with the freezing weather it won't melt until August. Got all dressed up (boots, jump-suit, heavy jacket, scarf, earmuffs, gloves, etc.) to go out and shovel, had two shots of brandy, then I got the urge to pee.

December 24th -- If I ever catch that son-of-a-bitch that drives the snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then comes down the street at 100 mph and throws snow all over what used to be my lawn.

December 25th -- Merry Christmas! They predict another twenty inches of the fucking white stuff tonight. Do they know how many shovels full of snow twenty inches is? To hell with Santa; he doesn't have to shovel the white shit. The snowplow driver came by asking for a donation. I hit him on the head with the snow shovel.

December 26th -- We got twenty-eight inches and then some. I must be going snow blind or have a severe case of cabin fever because the wife is beginning to look really good to me.

December 27th -- The toilet froze. If you go outside, don't eat the yellow snow.

December 28th -- I set fire to the house; now that white shit won't cling to the roof.

top prev next bottom Drop Your Foreign Accent

Friends of us found this gem that was published in Vrij Nederland, a Dutch newspaper, of December 22, 1945. By the way, note the old Dutch spelling in the introduction and the very long first sentence.

Hoe goed uw Engelsch ook is, en niemand twijfelt daar aan, toch is het misschien nog voor eenige verbetering vatbaar, gelijk u waarschijnlijk zelf bemerken zult na enkele malen gestruikeld te zijn over onderstaande moeilijkheden, die "Charivarius" indertijd in dichtvorm aan elkaar heeft gesmeed in een boekje met den hier boven geplaatsten titel.

U zult merken, dat elk paar regels volkomen zuiver rijmt en dat de klemtoon duidelijk wordt aangegeven door het reythme. Indien U struikelt, troost u, en laat uw Engelsche vrienden het eens proberen. En ge zult verbaasd staan.

Approximate translation: No matter how good your English is, and nobody doubt that, there is may be still some room for improvement, as you will most likely discover yourself as you stumble a few times over the difficulties below, which "Charivarius" at one time put together in the form of poetry in a booklet with the above mentioned title.

You will notice that each pair of lines form a perfect rhyme and that the stress is clearly indicated by the rhythm. If you stumble, console yourself, and let one of your English friends try it. You will be amazed.


Dearest creature in Creation,
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse:
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;

Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
So shall I!! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies, diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain,
(Mind the letter, how it's written)

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say -- said, pay -- paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you,
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via:
Pipe, snipe, recipe and chair,

Cloven, oven; how and low,
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe,

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, reviles;

Wholly, holly, signal, signing;
Thames, examining, combining;

Scholar, vicar and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far,

From "desire": desirable -- admirable from "admire,"
Lumber, plumber, bier but brier:

Chatham, brougham; renown but known,
Knowledge done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone; Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;

Gertrude, German, wind and mind;
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather,

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth and plinth,

Billet does not sound like ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet,

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would,

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rhyme with "darky."

Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward,

And your pronunciation's O.K.
When you say correctly croquet;

Rounded, wounded; grieve and sleeve;
Friend and fiend; alive and live;

Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache; eleven.

We say hallowed but allowed,
People, leopard; towed but vowed,

Mark the difference moreover,
Between mover, plover and Dover;

Leeches, breeches; wise, precise;
Chalice, but police and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable;
Principle, disciple; label,

Petal, penal and canal;
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, run circuit, conduit,
Rhyme with "Shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall mall, Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular; gaol, iron;
Timber, climber, bullion, lion;

Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor.

Ivy, privy; famous, clamour
And enamour rhyme with "hammer."

Pussy, hussy and possess.
Desert but dessert and address,

Golf, wolf; countenance; lieutenants
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb;
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul but foul and gaunt, but aunt
Font, front, wont; want, grand, and grant,

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then: singer, ginger, linger.

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge;
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, job, blossom, bosom, oath.

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual but victual,

Seat sweat, chaste and caste: Leigh, eight and height,
Put, nut, granite but unite,

Refer does not rhyme with "dealer."
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Rint, pint, senate and sedate,

Scenic, drabic, pacific;
Science, conscience, scientific;

Tour, but our, succour, four,
Gas and alas and Arkansas!

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine,

Compare alien with Italian
Dandelion with battalion,

Sally with ally; yea, ye
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.

Never guess -- it is not safe;
We say calves, valves, half but Ralph!

Heron; granary, canary,
Crevice, and device and eyrie;

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass, bass,

Large, but target, gin, give, verging.
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scouring

Ear, but earn and wear and tear,
Do not rhyme with "here" but "ere,"

Seven is right but so is even;
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk;
Asp, grasp, wasp; and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?

Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing "groats" and saying grits?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict!

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally: which rhymes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup"...
My advice is -- give it up!

I.L. Logical

top prev next bottom Do You Still Remember?

Our trip to Stettler and the train ride to Big Valley did bring back memories from the time we came to Canada.

Personally we came to Canada in May 1954. We landed in Quebec City around four in the afternoon. Soon we embarked the train to go West. As we left Quebec we soon went through some tunnels. A good thing was that it was twilight so nobody noticed the black soot in eyes and ears. The nose was something different.

Going through Ontario we noticed the low houses with mostly red and blue roofing. Farther down the prairies there were a lot of unpainted homes, and the farms were old and in very poor shape. Boy, our first impressions were not very impressive.

Riding along in the train we often thought what will the future bring us. The train ride was boring and dirty. The wooden seating did not help much and you had to sleep on that too. We were still young, but for families with children it was certainly not easy. Yes, the country sight did not make a good impression.

What a difference when you tour the country side now. Sometimes we wonder what impression we made on the Canadians. For them we were all immigrants and often thought of as DPs. It took me a long time to find out what it meant. At long last I got it; we were the "Delayed Pioneers".

Hope you all enjoyed the trip and that it brought back many memories for you as well.

(Nick de Wit)

top prev next bottom Nieuwe Nederlandse Spelling

Ik weet niet of U er van op de hoogte bent, maar sinds oktober 1995 is er een nieuwe spelling van de Nederlandse taal. Dit is samengevat in het nieuwe "Groene Boekje" met ruim 110.000 woorden. Het is de officiële woordenlijst, samengesteld in opdracht van de Nederlandse Taalunie. Het bevat de spellingswijzigingen, voorgeschreven door de Nederlanse and Vlaamse regeringen. Dit is echt waar en geen grap!!!

Ik ontving het volgende van een goede vriend naar aanleiding van deze nieuwe Nederlandse spelling, hetgeen vooral het soms belachelijke doorvoeren van meervoudsvormen laat zien:


Ik sgrijf dit in antwoord op jouw belangwekkende persbericht, en eksperimenteer en passant wat met kleurtjes en lettertypen.

Mocht je vanavond nog meedoen met het Groot Diktee der Nederlandse Taal dan is er slechts EEN ADVIES: Lees op de achterpagina van het NRC de bijdrage van Rudy Kousbroek, hetgeen gaat als volgt:

Groeten van je vriend

(Theo van Rijn)

top prev next bottom European Union News

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"'s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.

By the 4th yar, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer,ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI KUM TRU!!!

(Theo van Rijn)

top prev next bottom Population Density

Statistics can be used for virtually anything. For example, by looking at the average population density per square kilometer you can clearly see why we have so much more elbow room in Canada compared to some other countries.Honesty demands to say that Canada has a wee bit more ice then the other countries.

Netherlands 450 Japan 343
Belgium 323 India 268
Germany 220 China 150
Luxembourg 149 Nigeria 118
Denmark 122 Mexico 41
France 104 U.S.A 28
Ireland 51 Canada 3

(Toontje Jolles)

top prev next bottom Emigranten Taal

I wonder while I ponder
the merit of the English taal
no one can do it zonder
we speak it allemaal.

To learn it is een hele klus
we even changed it a bit
omdat there by all of us
a touch of Dutch in zit.

You hear: "Please don't mekker"
when kids are in a crying mood,
sometimes it even gets gekker,
we say "Don't klieder with your food."

A kitchen cupboard is a keukenkastje
a drawer remains a la,
for painting we need a kwastje
and after dinner we eat vla.

Some words may sound the same,
like: oh dear, that deer is a dier.
While lame isn't the same as leem,
hear here also means: hoor hier.

A bear has hair, so he isn't bare,
beer is a drink, een beer is 'n beest.
Merry Mary marries, merrie is mare,
a bee is 'n bij, been there: ik ben er bij geweest.

Wij mogen dan newcomers wezen
and maybe an accent we keep,
we are all proud Canadezen
the love for this country is deep!

(Wim Jolles)

top prev next bottom Farmers News

Under the heading "From the Funny Farm" I found this treasure in the Agriculture Week:

The Wall Street Journal reported that Dutch farmers can now purchase machines to allow cows self-service milking. A cow desiring to be milked approaches the milking machine's robot, which is activated by a computer chip in the cow's collar. A typical farmer saves about four hours a day, said one, "The cows tend to like it."

Meanwhile, Animalens Inc. of Wellesley, Mass., markets red contact lenses for chickens (at 20 cents a pair), pointing to medical studies showing that chickens seeing red during the day are happier and eat less food. A spokesman said the lenses will improve world egg laying productivity by $600 million a year.

Finally, a farmer, asked following a big lottery win if he has special plans for spending the money, replied, "Not really, I'm just going to keep on farming until the money's all gone."

top prev next bottom Oh no, Snow

BBBBBBrrrrrrr... What do you think about the winter? I have very mixed feelings right now. Jeannette and I just moved to the Bearspaw area, so this is our first winter in the "country" as they call it.

Visualize me driving home from work in the first heavy snow storm of the season on a slippery and almost "white-out" road. But my four-wheel drive pickup brought me home safely..., well almost. When I turned into my own driveway I did the utmost to avoid the ditch on the right-hand side and ended up in the ditch on the left side!!!

What can I say; it is another nice story to tell around the warm fireplace with nice company, a fine glass of wine, and een stukje kaas uit het vuistje. I don't know about you, but I like those cozy winter evenings.

top prev next bottom What you say?

'ne dikke nuijjaorspuun oet Mestreech veur uuch. This is not my typewriter acting up. What language is it? What does it say?

Gewoon Limburgs, of beter gezegd Maastrichts. "een dikke nieuwjaarszoen uit Maastricht voor jullie". Te laat? Wel nee, gewoon te vroeg.

top prev

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