Language humor: Dutch “Lijk” = “Corpse”

In Germany we found it unfortunate the the word for “the” is “die”.   In a country that is known for concentration camps, mass extermination of Jews and starting a World War, it is unnerving to see large signs that have phrases like “Die Checkpoint Charlie” or “Die Menschen in Deutschland” (the German people). For English speakers, such sentences conjure up the wrong emotions.

We had never thought about our own language having simple words that had morbid meanings elsewhere.  So it surprised us when we were in Amsterdam and learned (from one of the devoted potheads at The Flying Pig. The guy wasn’t even a guest. He was just a local who basically lived in the “Pig’s” Smoke Room) that the word “lijk” (pronounced “like”) in Dutch, means “corpse”.

Young Americans of course tend to throw out the word five or six times per story. So when we talk, he constantly heard, “dead body” flying from our mouths. His example story of what he heard was “I went to the corpse store today and bought, dead body, 5 pairs of shoes and, dead body a new shirt but maybe it was too expensive and I should return it. But tonight I have dead body a date. Well it’s dead body a date but we’re not really that serious so maybe I shouldn’t call it a date”.

It’s always funny to learn what you sound like to foreigners. And the German’s are not alone in having words that elicit alarm in other places.

Our stoned "friend" talks about dead bodies. These two guys make you really want to avoid becoming a pothead.

About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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