This week’s linguistic cock-up comes to you from Dutch television broadcaster, RTL4, with its trailer for a talent show originally thought up by Dutch producer, John de Mol, and now with localised versions worldwide. There are versions for all ages too. I’m talking of course about The Voice. I have to admit right here that I don’t like the show. I don’t like the fact that in the end, the winner is the person who manages to get enough of the general public to vote for them and I don’t think that’s always a true indication of whether someone is talented or not. But hey, that’s just me. So we now have The Voice for late teens up to maybe mid-fifties. Then The Voice Senior for any cute old singers. But back to the linguistic cock-up: The Voice Kids Unplukt.
I feel I need to give a detailed explanation here since that last word ‘unplukt’ exists neither in English nor in Dutch. The Dutch verb ‘plukken’ means to pick, as in flowers or feathers off a pheasant (that’s right, pleasingly similar to the pheasant plucker we’ve all at some time twisted our tongues on and giggled about). However, the prefix ‘un’ is not used in Dutch to form a negative and the third person imperfect of ‘plukken’ would be ‘plukte’.
So what the hell is it supposed to mean? Unplugged. I know right.