The old sci-fi show I've been revisiting for the last month is...Lexx. Episodes were previously available from Joost, now from Veoh and some in segments on Youtube.

However, one of them came with subtitles - in, I think, Dutch. So I've picked up a few Dutch words.

Some are fairly obvious. Words starting with "doed" are about death or killing. "Korridor", "Roboter" and "Natt" are "Corridor", "Robot" and "Night". Captain is "Kapten" :-).

Some common words are familiar from other languages, or have that "English in disguise" feeling:
  • Var - Where
  • Prat - Speak (cognate to "prattle"?)
  • Sa - Say, tell
  • Jag - I
  • Mig - Me
  • Min - My
  • Du - You (singular)
  • Vi - You (Plural) or Your, I'm not sure
  • Det - It
  • Alla - All, every
  • Nu - Now
  • Kan - Can, be able
  • Nej - No, not

  • Other's I'd never guess:
  • Glom - Forget
  • Inte - Does not
  • Vaend - Turn (maybe cognate to "Bend"?)
  • Troett - Tired
  • Mossa - Hat

  • "Mittpunkt" occurs four times, and is identical with the German term which literally translates "midpoint" - but each time subtitles the english "center". Is there no single Dutch word for "center"?

    One word I rather like is "Panikslagen", used to translate the notion of freezing up under stress, but I suspect the nuances are different. "Panik" is obviously "Panic", and "Slagen" is an intransitive German verb meaning "to break" or "to shatter". So it looks more like "to come apart under pressure" or "to crack up".

    Of course, it might not be Dutch at all. It might be Swedish, or for that matter Icelandic. Either way, figuring out the subtitles adds another layer of enjoyment to TV I probably shouldn't admit to enjoying.

    Update: I've found Anthony Hopkins' Slipstream and George Lucas' THX1138 with Japanese subtitles, but they're a little beyond my ability to interpret. My command of Japanese is still limited to sentences about pencils on tables.


    1. I remember Lexx!!! That show was bizarre!

      You're pretty good at figuring out the Dutch words from subtitles.

    2. Thanks, though it's not difficult. You could probably do the same with Polish, from your knowledge of Greek.

      To take some examples at random, the like "Yes, that's it" is subtitled "Ja, sa dar". If you assume the syntax is fairly English-like, then it's reasonable to guess that "Ja" means "Yes". If you know that Dutch is a Germanic language and "Ja" is German for yes, that pretty much seals it.

      If you look at these three lines and their translations, you can make a few good guesses.

      "Ar det allt?" - Is that all?
      "Vad ar det dar?" - what is that?
      "Det dar ar fullstandigt skrammande" - That's completely scary

      Det - That
      Allt - All
      Vad - What
      Fullstandigt - Completely, by cognation with Fully

      Here's three consecutive lines and their translations.

      "Jag tar foesta skiftet" - I'll take the first shift
      "Jag ar skyldig dig det" - I owe you that
      "Ja, jag ar faktisks ganska troett" - Yes, I am actually pretty tired

      I bet you could now tell me the probable words for first and actually.