Another Taghna Lkoll word: Nederlandiżi

Published: January 11, 2017 at 10:58pm

Those of you who listened to Ian Borg’s speech at the EU presidency shindig tonight – Borg is the parliamentary secretary working for Louis Grech, the Minister for Europe – will have noticed that he spoke of the Dutch as Nederlandiżi instead of Olandiżi. So what do they speak, Mr Parliamentary Secretary – Nederlandiż?

The bogans are now coining their own words. We should be thrilled. Perhaps he should give Theresa May a ring and suggest a new Brexit word: Netherlandians. Dutch is so yesterday.




  • I think he’s too far up his own Netherlands to be dishing out advice.

  • David
  • L.Gatt

    Perhaps he does not know that Netherlands means Holland.

    • FP@DISQUS

      Holland is only a small part of the Netherlands.

      • It doesn’t stop the Italians and the French from calling that country ‘the Low Countries’, a term English discarded years ago.

    • James Baldacchino

      It doesn’t. Holland is only part of the Netherlands.

  • ACD

    Apparently, these days that’s what they’re called. Although, according to the National Council your spelling is incorrect. With some astounding mental and linguistic gymnastics, they came up with Netherlandiż (yes, that is a ‘th’ in a Maltese word).

    http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-07-04/local-news/Olandiz-or-Netherlandiz-consultation-on-function-of-the-National-Council-for-the-Maltese-Language-6736138340

    https://akkademjatalmalti.org/2015/07/05/olandiz-jew-netherlandiz-il-kunsill-tal-malti-jiccara/

    • callixtus

      That’s insane. This Maltese language council, or whatever it’s called, is hell-bent on destroying the Maltese language once and for all.

      • FP@DISQUS

        Not insane at all, to my mind. On the contrary, a very reasoned translation based on the same principles used for translating many other words.

  • callixtus

    Like most bogans, he must think that the Netherlands, capital city The Hague and inhabited by Nederlandizi is a serious EU nation; while Holland, capital city Amsterdam and inhabited by Olandizi is a fun country with plenty of opportunities for anonymous sex and cheap drugs.

  • Evarist Saliba

    He just wants to show us that he more clever than anyone of us. He can invent new words.

  • Mark A. Sammut

    Actually it’s NeTHerlandizi – but given that no distinction is ever made between “th” and “d”, NeTHerlandiżi is pronounced as NeDerlandiżi, misleading you into thinking that it was copied from Dutch, whereas in reality it was not.

    But why are we even surprised in the first place? Such barbarisms have been with us for quite some time. Why do people say “evalwazzjoni”? Look up Aquilina’s 1990s dictionary, and you won’t find the entry – which means that “evalwazzjoni” creeped in in the last 20 years. Why, when before we used “valutazzjoni” and conveyed the same linguistic content?

    We now have “foresterija” for “forestry”, “reżiljenza” for “resilience”, “governanza” for “governance” (it should have remained “governance” because of the cultural nuances of the word in the original language – unless we shall now say “intelliġenza” to mean “intelligence” which remains “intelligence” in the civilised languages because of the nuances and implications).

    A couple of “one-thousand-watt-bulbs” (barbarisms can be bidirectional, can’t they?) have even suggested “polluzzjoni” for “pollution”, unaware that, unless we consider French a language we can borrow from, one’s instincts would be to turn to Italian to understand the meaning of this loan-word, only to find that “polluzione” means …

    Cherry on the cake (if we leave aside, at least for one moment, the blasphemous, “waqa’ fuq widnejn torox” and “jiddependi fuq”): “ipprovda” to mean “to provide” (not “to provide for”). “Ipprovda” is (or should be) the verb related to “prov(v)idenza” not “provision”. “To provide” in (real) Maltese would be the simple, non-grandiloquent but quite pedestrian “ta”. Otherwise, the equivalent of “the law provides” should be “il-liġi tiddisponi”. “Il-Mulej jipprovdi” in certain cases; in others “Alla jiddisponi”. But the general level of culture has descended to such levels that probably very few people know what I’m talking about. Clearly, “il-Mulej jipprovdi” means “God provides [for us]”; “Alla jiddisponi” (e.g. il-bniedem jipproponi u Alla jiddisponi – in this case, “u” functions as “but”: Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit) means “God disposes”.

    Anyway, let’s get out of this morass. Just remember to write blekbort, rejnkowt, mowbajl, netwerk, xikapsowver, gardinxaft, sangwiċ, fultajm, partajm… and you’ll make the linguistic powers-that-be happy. Or ħepi. Eżdikejsmejbi. Downtwori, julgetjużttuwit… aftersamtajm…

    • FP@DISQUS

      I’m with you regarding what you call barbarisms substituting already existing Maltese words.

      But why do people insist on attributing only one single meaning to every Maltese word when the very language that they’re getting the meaning from, English, very often gives several different meanings to the same word?

      Netherlandiżi, by the way, appears to be a reasoned translation of Dutch, following the same principles adopted in translating numerous other words.

      • That’s why I can’t stand contemporary Maltese – it’s based on lack of education and a whole raft of obsessions. Why did they feel the need to substitute ‘Olandiz’ when English – the greatest and most versatile language the world has ever known – happily uses Dutch? And when French and Italian still call that place ‘the Low Countries’?

      • Mark A. Sammut

        Obsessions: spot on!

        On the other hand, the argument is that there is a region in the Netherlands called “Holland”, and the difference *must* be made between the region and the country. There might have been alternative strategies to pursue, such as calling Holland the region just that: Ir-Regjun Olanda, without the need to invent “Netherlandiz”. Thus it would have been: Ir-Regjun Olanda for the region and Olanda for the country. (For the naysayers, there is the precedent of Luxembourg (country), Luxembourg (region of Belgium).)

        There are other points to ponder. If, blackboard becomes blekbort and shock absorber, xikapsowver, what are we going to do with femme fatale, savoir faire, joie de vivre, Weltanschauung, schadenfreude, ex post facto, par condicio, nec plus ultra, sine qua non? Famfatal, savwarfer, xwadevivr, veltanxawng, xadenfrojde, ekspostfakto, parkondiċo, nekplusultra, sinekwanon?

        So the problem is on two levels: (a) the unwarranted importation of English loan-words to substitute already-established Maltese words (whether Semitic or Romance) and (b) the equally unwarranted imposition of weird Maltese spelling on words which are usually kept in their original spelling because of cultural nuances.

        This problem is indicative of another, fundamental problem: a very low level of culture, essentially brought about by extreme insularity. Few Maltese manage to overcome the hurdle; the vast majority end up unable to look beyond the horizon and understand that there is a greater world out there which is (i) not homogeneous, (ii) not immutable, and (iii) full of wonderful contradictions reflected in the spoken and written national languages (and regional languages/dialects) which need to be conveyed in the original if the contradictions are to be safeguarded.

        The inability to perceive the subtle contradictions contained in a word is clearly the mark of a barbarian outlook, a barbarian Weltanschauung.

        But, unfortunately, certain appointments are made on the basis of allegiance rather than ability.

        (Luckily, “nomenkaltura” does not pose any of the abovementioned linguistic problems.)

      • Melissa

        “Netherlandiżi, by the way, appears to be a reasoned translation of Dutch, following the same principles adopted in translating numerous other words.”

        I must disagree on this point. It is not a reasonable translation. Any person with a background in general and/or English linguistics would have seen this.

        Indeed, I suspect that the people who coined this word simply cut, copy and pasted it from English without looking into the etymological or historical development of the word itself, the spelling of ‘th’ in and its variations and the phonetics of English.

        ‘Nederlandizi’ would have been a better choice, reflecting the manner in which the majority of speakers of Maltese would pronounce this word.

        There is no ‘th’ in any onset or coda in Maltese syllables.

        The people who coined this may have an extensive background in Maltese linguistics, but that is not sufficient when dealing with loan words. And this one word is proof of that.

        So maybe extending the membership to academics from other disciplines may be a good idea.

        Please include my pet peeve – ‘televixin’. I’d like them to explain that one.

  • What reason can there possibly be except linguistic insanity?

    • Barabbas Borg

      At least we now know it’s not invented.

      • Ah, but it is. The real word is Olandiz.

      • Barabbas Borg

        Not by Ian Borg though. He’s not creative enough to coin his own words!

  • Betty

    Last year I witnessed him, after giving a short conference on EU funds programmes, handing a short note to a reporter from the Labour Party TV station, containing the questions that she should ask him on camera.

    The PL bunch must be ultra excited with all this media coverage, and the vain Ian Borg will surely not hold back from any opportunity to be in the limelight. Pampalun kemm trid.

  • sunshine

    The French say Pays Bas, the Italians say Paesi Bassi. Could we not have come up with some other name, other than the unfortunate obvious translation to Pajjizi Baxxi?

    • What’s wrong with the one we’ve always used, which is Olanda?

      • sunshine

        Nothing, except that according to one of the links posted by another reader, Netherlands is preferred to Holland, and therefore we appear to have attempted a translation of the former name.

      • Chris

        For the same reason that we we refer to Beijing not Peking, and Kolkata instead of Calcutta, in formal situations.

      • Beijing is no longer called Peking. Kolkata is the actual name of the city. Calcutta is the colonial name.

      • James Baldacchino

        Olanda refers to “Holland” which is not the same thing as The Netherlands

  • Albert

    The naming of my home country is quite confusing. The official name is Nederland, in English the Netherlands.

    Many called it Holland but that is actually only the area, provinces of Amsterdam and Rotterdam area and not an official name for the whole country.

    Even the people themselves say sometimes Holland and sing Hup Holland Hup during football games.

    We speak Nederlands what in English is often called Dutch but could also be translated Netherlands. Dutch is still left over from older times when the borders were different and the area had different names.

    So really confusing but not really wrong to say Nederlandizi, the same way as the Maltese change English words into Maltese words.

    • H.P. Baxxter

      Ir-Repubblika tas-Seba’ Nederlandi Maghquda.

      • Albert

        It is a Kingdom, not a republic

      • Benny Hill

        Albert, congrats for missing every single instance of sarcasm on this comments board.

      • H.P. Baxxter

        De Zeven Provincien. Do I have to explain everything?

  • H.P. Baxxter

    In-Nederlandiz Itir – Chrafa al zmenijetna II

    Ix-xini bi tliet arbli jigifieri teknikament mhux xini, imma nsomma, tal-pirata Malti, fil-fatt kursar ghax kollox legal u above board, Egrant, kien qed ibahhar ftit lil’hinn mix-xtut tal-istmu tal-hekk imsejha Panama.

    Fuq il-poppa, jippoppaw, kien hemm corma mhux hazin. Ghax dawn kien sibbien ihobbu jidhru, ghax m’ghandhom xejn x’jahbu, u fil-fatt talbu audit mill-Ammiraljat Ingliz, li però kien ghadu ma sabx il-vaxxell sabiex jitla’ abbord u jaghmel spezzjoni. Imma l-aqwa li qalu li talbu audit.

    Fil-galley, magenb pappagall multikolorat b’seba’ lwien (izda mhux pederasta) jismu Franco, li kien il-hin kollu, imma l-hin kollu, ghaddej “Riforma! Riforma! Riforma!”, kien hemm bahri liebes gakketta sewda fuq qmis sewda, b’harsa miksura ta’ wiehed **** mejjet, ilegleg flixkun Dutch courage, jew qlubija Nederlandiza.

    Mal-arblu mezzan, li fil-fatt mhux dak tan-nofs imma ta’ wara, imma nsomma, kienet qed tisserreb stripper zul minn hawn. Il-policy ta’ open bar kienet tghodd ghalih wisq, u mieghu numru sew minn shabu.

    Sadattant, fuq il-pruwa, is-sailing master, li ma nafx kif tigi skond l-akkademja, kien qed jezamina roadmap. Ghalkemm kollha kienu tilfu l-boxxla, kien qed jispjega lil ta’ madwaru li l-ispedizzjoni taghhom kienet costed and doable. L-entuzjazmu leggendarju tieghu kien bla razan, u l-fama tieghu kienet twassal sax-xtut imbieghda tal-port imbieghed ta’ Shanghai, fejn kellu tistennieh, jinghad, mara.

    “Di xipp of stejt” qal il-kaptan pirata. U hadd ma fehem x’ried jghid biha izda lkoll kienu impressjonati. “Ja qabda ulied ta’ Nederlandizi doppji, iridu jaqbuna, imma mhux se jirnexxielhom! Ghandi hames snin ohra milli inqas inhuf u nippiligja! (Orrajt, teknikament tigi ‘nahtaf b’mod sistematiku u vjolenti’ li allura tigi xi haga bhala ‘rapine’ minn ‘raptus’ li minnha giet ‘rape’, allura, skuzi, dan x’inhu jekk mhu haxi?) ‘Taghna lkoll!’, qal bahri li kien hdejh, liebes eyepatch fuq ghajnejh it-tnejn…

  • We really don’t need to know the reasons for their choices, and of course you should criticise them. They’re no more experts than I am. Being specialists in Maltese does not empower them to decide that the Maltese word for blackboard is blekbort. Blackboard is an English word and not a Maltese one.

  • sunshine

    Britannici. Dejjem tieghek, ecc.

  • Albert

    So you consider us Neanderthalers ??
    Kind of offensive as that is nowadays to mean very backward people.
    Please know what you write before you do and if not please look it up.

  • Chris

    Erm.. Inglizi is not the equivalent of British, and frankly, there may come time when that difference may become more apparent.

  • Roberto Rizzo

    Simple… Brittaniċi u Siċilja

  • john

    Nederlandizi is not the translation given by the experts. They have imposed Netherlandizi upon us. Bugger them. I shall continue saying Olandizi.

    • Me too.

    • FP@DISQUS

      Dumb. That is EXACTLY what the experts told you to do. But it’s easier for people to talk out of their arse and have a tgergira rather than inform themselves first.

      • john

        Ah. So the experts are TELLING me to carry on saying Olandizi. That really is most considerate of them.

      • FP@DISQUS

        Ah. So the experts ARE NOT imposing Netherlandiżi upon you. They should reciprocate your compliment, but they’re too professional to do that.

      • callixtus

        It’s not up to the experts to invent Maltese words. At most they should acknowledge the existence of new words coined by Maltese speakers once their use in spoken language is sufficiently widespread.

      • FP@DISQUS

        It is not up to you to decide what the experts’ role is in the National Council of the Maltese Language. That is solely established by Chapter 470, the Maltese Language Act of 2005.

  • When I was growing up it was always Holland. Our books talked about windmills and tulips in Holland. And I don’t recall the country’s borders having changed since – though I’ll admit this was in the dark ages of the 1970s. I was quite grown up before I heard about ‘the Netherlands’.

  • My point there is that nobody says Peking anymore since the city’s name was changed to Beijing. Nobody speaks English in China.

    But all educated Indians speak English for the exact same reasons that Maltese people do, and they call Mumbai Bombay – still.

  • I don’t think you understand – for which you’re forgiven, as very few Maltese do – that ‘th’ and ‘d’ are not the same ‘letter’ which can be pronounced differently at will. They are actually different letters/sounds. You can no more pronounce ‘th’ with a ‘d’ sound than you can pronounce it with an ‘m’ sound.

  • I’m sorry, but I can’t agree. I incorporate almost no ‘new’ words into my spoken and written Maltese and I get along just fine. If there’s a concept that can’t be explained using the available real vocabulary, I just approach it another way, or use an English word, term or verb because we’re operating in a society where people speak English anyway.

  • Mark A. Sammut

    There is no need for slavish word-for-word translation.

    If a concept is conveyed by one word in Language A, it does not necessarily follow that it is also conveyed by one word in Language B.

    To put it differently, one has to distinguish concepts (metalanguage) from the words conveying them (language).

    In the case at hand, apart from the possibility of using Ir-Regjun Olanda (or Olanda-Regjun) and Olanda, another strategy might have been: Olanda for the country (and therefore Olandiz/a) and Holland for the region (and therefore Hollander).

    Because if you look at it from the other point of view, what are we going to do with the other regions of the Netherlands?

    Let’s take Gelderland as an example. How to refer to Gelderland in Maltese? Options:

    1. Phonetically – imitating the Dutch pronunciation.
    2. Gelderland – but Maltese pronunciation.
    3. Geldria – from the Italian Gheldria.
    4. Other.
    (5. Not refer to it at all, because probably nobody in Malta knows it even exists.)

    My gut tells me that the usual suspects would go for option 2. But then, why Olanda and not Holland? (I’m comparing like with like, and am therefore referring to the region). If they were to go for option 3, then why Latvja rather than Lettonja and The Hague instead of L-Aja?

    I would go for option 2 in all cases. Keep the names of the regions in the local language (unless it’s Sicily, and this for historical reasons), and keep the names of the countries as we have known them for ages. Therefore, Olanda for the Netherlands and Holland for the Dutch region called Holland.

  • I’m just going to carry on saying Olanda, Olandiz and Olandizi.

  • There’s a translation community? Wow.

    • H.P. Baxxter

      You don’t want to know.

  • Maltese is not my pet hate. I’m bilingual – two mother tongues. But given that my other mother tongue is English, I am bound to find Maltese seriously inadequate.

    • FP@DISQUS

      EVERY language is inadequate. That is exactly what makes each language adopt loan words from the other. Now, Maltese is the language of half a million people. English is probably the most widely spoken language on Earth. Those are the facts. Apply adjectives to taste.

  • FP@DISQUS

    NOT insane. At all. The insanity is those who have made it their hobby to criticise the Kunsill tal-Malti at every turn.

    “a. Why should the language council go against the term used by all the other Maltese who are not a member of that language council?”

    The Kunsill tal-Malti HAS NOT done anything of the sort. THIS is what the Kunsill said: “Il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ilsien Malti qal li jagħraf li l-Olanda hi l-aktar forma komuni mal-Maltin u bl-ebda mod mhu jissuġġerixxi lill-Maltin biex jużaw in-Netherlands u Netherlandiżi minflok l-Olanda u l-Olandiżi. Dawn jistgħu jibqgħu jintużaw f’kull kuntest li mhuwiex politiku jew legali.”

    “b. And let’s assume that they have a right to do so. Why should it be NeTHerlandiz (British version) and not NeDerlaniz (original Dutch version)?”

    Because we do not say Deutschlandiżi, nor Italiani, nor Scotlandjani, nor Britainjani, nor Englandiżi, nor …

    “But when you add vocabulary at an unreasonable rate, you eventually risk having a Maltese dictionary with fewer truly Maltese words than very recently added words. With less than 50% Maltese words, that dictionary cannot claim to be Maltese any longer.”

    And here we go again. Read this page. Some argue that the Maltese language is inadequate (vocabulary is too limited), others argue that we’re adding words “at an unreasonable rate”.

    The Kunsill tal-Malti truly have their work cut out for them. They have the most unenviable job trying to give some rational guidance in this chaotic cacophony of criticism coming from so many people whose only common thing that brings them together is their target – the fact that they are taking pot shots at the Kunsill for diametrically opposing reasons seems to be irrelevant. That makes them, to my mind, a bunch of national heroes of sorts.

  • FP@DISQUS

    Dear God! Read this:

    “Il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ilsien Malti qal li jagħraf li l-Olanda hi l-aktar forma komuni mal-Maltin u bl-ebda mod mhu jissuġġerixxi lill-Maltin biex jużaw in-Netherlands u Netherlandiżi minflok l-Olanda u l-Olandiżi. Dawn jistgħu jibqgħu jintużaw f’kull kuntest li mhuwiex politiku jew legali.”

    Now, how many people have you denigrated the Akkademja with so far about this Netherlandiżi business? Are you ready to approach all of them and take everything you said back? Not easy, is it?

    The Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ilsien Malti should change their name to Il-Mira tal-Passatemp Nazzjonali tal-Isparar. Only, everybody’s shooting out of their arse. But obviously they’re too professional to say so.

    • “Dawn jistgħu jibqgħu jintużaw”

      That’s exactly what gets up people’s noses. They’re not going to tell me what words I can and can’t use.

    • john

      As I said above, it really is most considerate of them in allowing me to carry on doing what I have been doing for decades.

  • FP@DISQUS

    “All this messing around with the language is producing a generation that is only semi-literate in both English and Maltese.”

    How on earth does extending a language produce semi-literate people, for God’s sake?

    Should English stop evolving so that you stay literate in English?

    Honestly, these are nothing but the most banal arguments I’ve ever come across.

  • It’s irrelevant. They’re not in a position to tell me what to do.

  • Yes, of course – Manuel Mallia the Minister for Gambling even has a chauffeur/babysitter called L-Olandiz.

  • Mikhail Tal

    It has deteriorated and it is a proper language. But I fully agree with you that we should concentrate on getting rid of this hyper corrupt government. That is why I am not going to even attempt to answer FP@DISQUS.

  • No, it’s because they were raised on a mishmash of the two. How do you explain to a child that the Maltese word is blekbort but hey, English has a word JUST like it, and though it’s also pronounced blekbort, it’s spelled blackboard.

  • Joseph Barbara

    We’re nearly there.

  • callixtus

    It shouldn’t be the Akkademja’s business to invent words which are extinct at birth. Who is going to use Netherlandizi except for some pompous arse?

    • FP@DISQUS

      It is not your business to decide what the Akkademja’s and the Council’s business is. That is established by law:

      The Maltese Language Act:

      “4. (1) There shall be a body, to be known as the National Council of the Maltese Language, having the aim of adopting and promoting a suitable language policy and strategy and to verify their performance and observance in every sector of Maltese life, for the benefit and development of the national language and the identity of the Maltese people.”

      And, more specifically:

      “5. (2) The Council shall also update the orthography of the Maltese Language as necessary and, from time to time, establish the correct manner of writing words and phrases which enter the Maltese Language from other tongues.”

      Regarding the choice of Netherlandiżi, the Council was crystal clear: the word is intended for use by European Union translators and law makers who require one single standard form, correct both politically and geographically for every single country name, to be used as standard in legislation, directives, treaties and other publications with legal standing; NOT for any other publication which is not legal in nature (for example, literature, journalism, children’s books, travel leaflets, etc).

      So no, callixtus, you are completely and utterly wrong on this count: it is VERY MUCH the Akkademja’s business. And it is the law that makes it so.

  • F. Fenech

    But what do you expect, he is as thick as two planks, and that’s being generous

  • FP@DISQUS

    Again, the framework the Council is working with is this: it’s a proper name, so leave the original spelling, irrespective of the pronunciation. The scientific methods to employ in translating ordinary nouns do not apply to proper names – otherwise, we’d end up having to write Xejksper, Twejn, Hotorn, Frojd, Rejgin, Buxx, and Klintin. Which could indeed be a possibility, but one which I do not favour at all and thank the stars for that, and I do believe that our host would not take that kindly either. Again, pronunciation is not of primary concern here, but spelling and being faithful to the original.

    Gużè Aquilina based his orthography on the original 1924 guidelines, which as I mentioned earlier have since been updated to address cases which could not have been foreseen a hundred years ago. And since Aquilina died in August 1997, he was obviously not faced with the same problem that the Council faced when Malta had to provide a complete “politically and geographically correct” list of names of EU member states. I am not aware of Aquilina ever opposing the adoption of the guidelines as amended in 1984, so why speculate that he would have acted contrary to those guidelines?

    You’re persisting with the ‘x’ issue, so here’s a direct question: how would YOU have handled it? I’m very curious to know what your solution would be, keeping in mind that we already have the /ʒ/ sound in Maltese and you seem to refuse to use it.

    And you continue to persist in restricting Maltese to its phoneme set, while not applying the same restrictions to other languages. So while noting that you have not answered my question the first time, I’ll ask again: WHY?

    It is indeed a pity that we’re both stuck behind a screen and keyboard to conduct what is to my mind a rather interesting discussion, but there’s not much either of us can do about that, so we’ll have to make do. A whiteboard would indeed help the flow of argument, while a little wine might help the better flow of blood to the brain during this cold spell.

  • callixtus

    No, I don’t get it. English does not need any bombastic Council of the English language as a reference point for legal or official purposes.

    The Akkademja tal-Malti has mangled Maltese into a pidgin language. Looking at an article written in Maltese has become frightfully baffling.