The Dutch habit of joining words together to make very long words can cause confusion, even among Dutch people. I’m pretty used to it by now, but when they start using English words and joining them together while still observing the Dutch grammar rules (in this case using an ‘s’ as the glue between the two words, then I also lose the plot briefly! An example from my current translation project: matchingstool. I had already blithely typed ‘matching stool’ but looking at it more closely, I thought ‘why on earth would they need something to sit on?’. Of course, it should be ‘matching tool’. At least I hope so!

This evening is the last session in the writing course I’ve been taking. For six weeks now, I’ve sat down in front of the computer with a notebook and pen and just written, thanks to great coaching from Matthew Curlewson. Not only does it get me writing and give me energy, much needed in these uncertain times, it also triggers lots of lovely English words I might otherwise not get the chance to use (no, matching tool does not fall into that category!).

‘Scuppered’ is one. The word for the holes in the side of a ship to let water on deck flow away (or possibly from the Anglo-French escopir, meaning to spew or spit) …

If you’re scuppered, you’re sunk or done for!