Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oeteldonk Revisited

At the graduation party for Anouk, I told some other collected relatives that we had attended carnival in Den Bosch. Every resident of Netherlands knows it is drink filled days of costumed fun. So naturally I was asked what I had thought about the event. And I said, "Oeteldonk was great! We had a wonderful time." The response I got was "Oeteldonk, yes!" In other words I had pronounced Oeteldonk correctly. As well as using it properly in sentence. Oeteldonk means frog hill and is the carnival name for Den Bosch.

This correct pronunciation did not come about because I have any special abilities. Shirlee has been insistent that if I say a Dutch word, I at least get close to pronouncing it correctly. Also during a conversation with our Oeteldonk hosts Lex and Maria I tried my first saying out loud the word "Oeteldonk" and it came out "Oteldunk." I butchered it. Maria immediately responded with "It's Oeteldonk, Oeteldonk, Oeteldonk"** I then repeated her and committed it to memory.

I want to thank Maria for teaching me how to speak just a little more Dutch than I did before. And giving me the ability to surprise Nederlanders far and wide with my knowledge of a "Below the River" tradition.

** That's "Oe" pronounced as in oo la la, "tel" as in the beginning of telephone, and "donk" as in honk, only with a d."

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