Can a horse hear a dog whistle?

Dear reader,

Dog whistle

Do you know the answer to this question? Can a horse hear a dog whistle? If you have an answer I will tell you it’s the wrong one. Dogs don’t whistle. And if you figured out this way of looking at the question I’ll tell you that the question actually refers to the fact if horses do or don’t hear the sound of a whistle that is used to signal dogs.

While the English language stays away from long words by splitting them up, there are also words like Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Of course all native English speakers know that this is “an artificial long word said to mean a lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust.” (According to the Oxford English Dictionary.)

So long words exist in English. Go on. Give it a try. Get some free-range-eggs instead of free range eggs where no one knows if it’s the range that’s free or the eggs.

(This post came to life courtesy of a Facebook exchange I happened to discover. Now I go back to writing for Nanorwrimo.)

One book, two languages

Dear reader,

I am venturing into an experiment. Through a series of events I had an idea for a new story. (Reminder to events: kindly  stop eventing for a while, my box with story-ideas is still overflowing. Thank you.) One of the events is co-writing a story with a friend. As she is Dutch and much better at Dutch than English, we decided to give this story a try in Dutch. A first for me, as I had never written in Dutch before

story = verhaal

The new story I am working on is also in Dutch. But – it’s in English as well. I decided to write it in two languages at the same time, every few paragraphs I add to one version are then rewritten into the language of the other one. I have no rule or pattern, I just add to either of them and then add that same bit to the other one.

After about 700 words I sent the Dutch text to a friend for evaluation. Dutch and English are different languages with different rules, grammar, style etcetera. I wanted to know if this Dutch version was anything worth continuing. My friend said it was really great to read and immediately asked questions about a few things I had written, like “What is that book you mentioned in that story?” So I’m on the right track with this. It’s intriguing to write the same story twice, to see how certain word-twists go left or right, depending on the language.

As I write this post, the stories have progressed to chapter 3, both are up to almost 5,000 words. The main character, Sebastian (Sebastiaan in Dutch) has had many a problem and unnerving encounter already, and the show is now about to begin.



Word of warning from Sebastian:

“If you want to stay sane, don’t get a room at 17 Market Street.”