Translation to go, please

Words have power. With words you can wound, praise, criticize, express feelings, judge, create a rhyme or be vulgar. With words you can hurt on purpose, heap praise on someone, criticize subtly, be ironic or express anger. You can use slang terms or scientific ones. You can choose to be ambiguous or to drop a […]

Making the best of each situation

Recently my eldest son, a student living on a tight budget, called me. He was deeply indignant.  At the entrance to a supermarket a homeless person had asked him if he could buy her some food. Well-raised as he is, he answered that of course he could do that; what would she like to have? […]

Nespresso. What else?

Nespresso is another of those companies that has got to people. It offers a wide range of coffee varieties and machines with a smart design and simple-to-use features, but what it does best is selling you prestige. When you put one of those tiny capsules in your machine, you feel powerful. When you visit their […]

Hooked on Rituals

The first time I visited a Rituals store, I had never heard of their products or business concept. My train was delayed, I was pretty tired after a long day at the office and I just wanted to get home. Entering the store was love at first sight. Such a pleasant atmosphere! I instantly felt […]

The lost art of writing

I can’t remember when I last received a handwritten letter. On real paper, written in ballpoint pen, or even better, fountain pen, delivered in an envelope with a handwritten address on it. It must have been at least two decades ago. But I do remember the feelings that such a letter could evoke. The delicious […]

Is it a goose?

Svanshals is a little village in the middle of the Swedish countryside. The name literally means “Swan neck”. Not a fancy name if you ask me, but I am sure that whoever came up with the idea of embellishing the cross on its church with a swan never imagined the following conversation: Have you seen […]

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

How language can change your personality
The extent to which a person has mastered another language can have a significant impact on the image other people have of him or her. I never really thought about that until I moved from Holland to Sweden many years ago. The only skills I had in my backpack were the linguistic basics I had […]

Husband for hire

Last week, strolling down the street, I saw an interesting example of wrap advertising. “Rent a Husband” was the amusing message emblazoned on a car that passed by. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. My mind started picturing all the apparent advantages of such a service. Can you imagine being married just when it […]

What are you thinking about?

The absolutely best promo I’ve ever seen regarding language confusion is the one with the cute, naïve and not too smart German coastguard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zkZ3f8DnKs Within just a few seconds this short clip makes it clear that even the smallest of details can make a world of difference when it comes to understanding a message in […]