Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

I occasionally like to visit this site’s statistics to have a look at all you lovely readers come from. I’m always amazed and grateful to see people from all over the world (I’d love to know if the two visits from Greenland were two different people, or the same person visiting two different pages).

It was interesting to notice that I’ve had a few visits from both Saint Martin and Sint Maarten. Continue reading

Hello Europe!

This evening I was at my parents’ house, watching a little TV after Sunday dinner. I don’t really watch much TV anymore, at least not in the conventional broadcast sense, apart from Sunday afternoons at home. Gaelic football matches are the usual background noise to Sunday-afternoon dinner, but we had it a bit later today, so I found myself watching an interesting nature programme.

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Some Thoughts on Subtitles

I’ve mentioned before how I prefer, while living in Belgium, to watch English-language films in English with French and Dutch subtitles, though that’s not always easily available.

I also mentioned recently that I was going to see Blade Runner 2049 (which is good, but could never be as good as the first film). One of the advantages of watching films with subtitles is that it reveals interesting differences between the two or three languages involved, or gives you interesting translation choices to ponder.

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Just Speak English in Brussels Airport

The title says it all really, so if you don’t fancy reading, you’re free to go make a cup of tea, or whatever you do when you’re not reading me. Yesterday, I told you how I’d had a cappuccino and blueberry muffin in Liège Guillemins train station (seemingly the only place with reliable and free WiFi). A few hours later I found myself in a similar situation, but things went a little differently.

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Happy Belgian National Day!

Exactly one week after Bastille Day, it’s the Belgian National Holiday!

Yay!

Ok, so you probably weren’t aware of that fact. The holiday hasn’t really entered the public consciousness the way Bastille Day, or other national holidays like St. Patrick’s Day or the Fourth of July have. And I think that’s mainly because Belgium is a small country that doesn’t have such a distinctive national identity compared to other countries. And I think that in turn has a lot of to do with the fact that it’s a complex little country, linguistically.

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Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day today in many parts of the world. I hope you’re being well treated if you’re one of the men honoured by the day. You really never can have too many pairs of socks. Like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, it’s quite an artificial day, but I don’t mind too much really, as sometimes maybe we need a little push to be grateful. Or to at least express our gratitude.

The word father, like mother, isn’t one we actually use all that much of course, instead preferring works like dad, pop, papa et al. These words, like so many of our words to refer to our mothers, are derived from our first babblings as a child.

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Learner Drivers at the Intersection of French and English

Would you surprised that learner is a very-commonly used English word in other languages? Well, not exactly the word learner itself, but the L-plate used on cars to indicate that the driver is a learner. I’d been driving in Belgium for a while, and had noticed that their L-plates are a blue background with a white L, as opposed to the Irish white with a red L. But I never stopped to consider that the L stood for Learner (the French translation would be apprenant or apprenti). Never, that is, until I saw a French learner driver…

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