This Face-off-Friday we’re going to have some fun. Today the battle will be between Dutch sayings and English sayings. I think that the Dutch have the best sayings / proverbs ever. I love Dutch sayings, but it gets really funny when you translate them to English. The thing is, our sayings don’t make sense in Dutch, so when you translate them into another language they get even less meaningful. Only Joost may know what they mean. We just choose these random words, throw them together and give them some deeper meaning. The only reason I’m writing this post is because I want you to see how ridiculous our sayings are. It will be a battle between Dutch sayings and English sayings, but it really doesn’t matter who wins. It will be a sausage to me. (Meaning: You don’t care.) It’s just too funny to read the translated Dutch sayings. So here we go. There is work at the shop, which means we have work to do.
Of course some of the sayings have their English equivalent, so let’s start with these. We will take it slow, one step at a time. Because I can promise you, the sayings at the end of this post will be weird, crazy, ridiculous, nonsensical, silly, absurd. You get the idea.
From the ground of my heart. You can pretty much guess this one. From the bottom of my heart.
Scatter salt in your wound. The English equivalent I immediately thought of was rub some dirt on it, but these sayings have the exact opposite meaning. Scattering salt in your wound means you’re making your injury even worse, while rubbing some dirt on it means you should stop complaining.
Better late than never 2x. Who would have thought we have the same sayings? I didn’t.
Looking a given horse in the mouth. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Practice births art. Practice makes perfect.
Delicious is only as long as a finger. All good things must come to an end.
Okay, I’m even boring myself with these. Just remember good things come to those who wait!
Let’s go to some of the weird Dutch sayings that actually have a deep and important meaning. Since the English have these really amazing and eloquent sayings that actually mean something. I will show you the difference between a meaningful Dutch saying and a MEANINGFUL English saying.
Where the dykes are lowest, the water will overflow first. (Meaning: The poor are always the ones who suffer most.) Beautiful meaning, but dykes? Let’s look at an English saying. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Short, but powerful.
Two hands on one belly.(Meaning: when two people are so much alike they seem like one person.) Now a meaningful English saying. You can’t judge a book by its cover. (Meaning: You’re not supposed to judge people by the way they look.) Just think about it, a saying with the word belly in it or a saying with the word book. What sounds more eloquent and meaningful?
Still not convinced let’s go on to the next one. The monkey comes out of the sleeve. (Meaning: The truth is finally discovered.) Just to make sure you saw, we use monkeys in our sayings. MONKEYS!
Do I even need to show you another English saying? YES! Okay, no problem. Two wrongs don’t make a right.(Meaning: Don’t get back to someone who did you wrong, by doing something wrong yourself.)
Just one more!
Putting the dots on the i. (Meaning: Making sure everything is just perfect, after you finished some project you were working on.) I personally like this saying a lot. But then you read: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. And I immediately think my i’s need some extra special dot just to impress this English saying.
I did promise I would save the best for last. I hope you’re ready. I’m just going to fall with the door into the house. (Meaning: getting straight to the point.) Like a chicken without its head. (Meaning: Like a reckless idiot.) No, really all craziness on a stick. (Meaning: Let’s be serious.)
Make that the cat wise. (Meaning: When you know someone is lying, you say this to show that you know they’re being an idiot.)
He has a loose stitch. (Meaning: He’s a bit weird, a little crazy.)
Wetfingerwork. (Meaning: You’re just guessing.)
You have to learn on an old bike. (Meaning: This one has two meanings. It used to mean that schoolbooks and those type of things are always secondhand. But the Dutch, being who we are, gave this saying a little twist. Now it usually means you should lose your virginity to someone who has “experience”.) You should learn on an old bike! Great life advise.
Shit on your marble. (Meaning: You’re in big trouble.) A personal favorite.
Playing for bacon and beans. (Meaning: Usually when you have a little brother who wants to play along, he plays for bacon and beans. You don’t play for points so when you lose it doesn’t matter.)
Oh, on that bike. (Meaning: When you don’t get what someone’s talking about and you finally get it.)
Unfortunately, peanut butter. (Meaning: Too bad you lost, but at least you tried.)
And last but not least, for my mother, because she uses this saying a lot. Take it easy, then the line won’t break. (Meaning: Relax, don’t worry and you will be fine.)
Have a nice Firday.
For the people who want to know, all the Dutch translations:
Joost may know (Dutch: Joost mag het weten)
It will be a sausage to me (Dutch: Het zal me een worst wezen)
There is work at the shop (Dutch: Er is werk aan de winkel)
From the ground of my heart (Dutch: Uit de grond van mijn hart)
Scatter salt in your wound (Dutch: Zout in je wond strooien)
Better late than never (Dutch: Beter laat dan nooit)
Looking a given horse in the mouth (Dutch: Een gegeven paard in de bek kijken)
Practice births art (Dutch: Oefening baart kunst)
Delicious is only as long as a finger (Dutch: Lekker is slechts een vinger lang)
Where the dykes are lowest, the water will overflow first (Dutch: Waar de dijk het laagst is, loopt het eerst het water over).
Two hands on one belly (Dutch: Twee handen op een buik)
The monkey comes out of the sleeve (Dutch: De aap komt uit de mouw)
Putting the dots on the i (Dutch: De puntjes op de i zetten)
I’m just going to fall with the door into the house (Dutch: Met de deur in huis vallen)
Like a chicken without its head (Dutch: Als een kip zonder kop)
All craziness on a stick (Dutch: Alle gekheid op een stokje)
Make that the cat wise (Dutch: Maak dat de kat wijs)
He has a loose stitch (Dutch: er zit bij hem een steekje los)
Wetfingerwork (Dutch: Nattevingerwerk)
You have to learn on an old bike (Dutch: Op een oude fiets moet je het leren)
Shit on your marble (Dutch: Stront aan de knikker)
Playing for bacon and beans (Dutch: Voor spek en bonen meedoen)
Oh, on that bike (Dutch: Oh, op die fiets)
Unfortunately, peanut butter (Dutch: Helaas, pindakaas)
Take it easy, then the line won’t break (Dutch: Rustig aan, dan breekt het lijntje niet)