||"Did you know Amsterdam's got eighty-eight kennels? And they're all
supposed to be beautiful!"|
||"Really? No, if i'd known i'd 've taken a much easier barking course
instead of that difficult Dutch conversation course."|
||"They've even got a world-famous Kennel Parade. It's on the first
Saturday in August, every year."|
||"Yes, i saw that Parade last year, but i must say that the dogs on the
boats bore a striking resemblance to ordinary human beings.
Well, except for the extravagant ones."|
||"That thing about the Parade i found kind of odd myself too.
But a very amiable police officer told me so off-duty in a brown café.
Perhaps, 'e meant a kennel club parade.
'E also challenged me to say 'eighty-eight beautiful kennels' in Dutch.
It sounded something like:
'Ahktentahktic prahktica crahkten' 1 ."|
||"Quentin, that's a tongue-twister for foreigners and it means
Eighty-eight beautiful ca-NALS, not KEnnels!
Sometimes the Dutch turn stresses around like they turn figures around.
They say 'one and twenty' instead of 'twenty-one' and they call me
'an-DRE-a' instead of 'AN-dre-a'.
||"In former times English-speakers also used to say 'one and twenty',
but now we're ahead of them with our numbers, while the Dutch were ahead
of us with their Metric System.
And an-DRE-a exists too, doesn't it?"|
||"Alright, but not CAnals with the same vowel as in dense.
Dutch people don't seem to be able to distinguish between the vowel in a
word like dense and in dance, when pronounced the American
The two words sound exactly the same for them.
They've got no ash."|
||"No ash? You're kiddin'! You go to a bar here and there's ash
all over the place; in restaurants even on the table next to your
plate 2 ."|
||"Yes, Quentin, cigaret ash -- way too much of it.
But i'm talking about the English vowel in words like cat. For the
Dutch it doesn't make a difference whether you sand a wooden statue
that has been scratched or whether you send it, scratches and all."|
||"Still, i've good reason to believe that police officer did mean
'KEnnels'. The K was even in the name of the division for which 'e worked:
the K-9 squad. I thought that stood for Kennel 9 or the ninth
kennel or, perhaps, kennels. Don't tell me now that the K
stands for the Dutch word kanaal 3 . Why on
earth would the people living on the ninth canal have their own police
section looking after them?"|
||"I don't know. Perhaps, because all eighty-eight kennels are in their
neighborhood and there's a considerable number of people complaining
about dogs barking and biting them.
Or, because in Amsterdam's Kenneltown on the ninth canal there's a much
greater number of people stepping in dogshit which they find much less
often pleasant to look at."|
||"Andrea, you're no help. You just told me there are not
eighty-eight kennels but eighty-eight canals in Amsterdam. More canals
than i've got friends, let alone friends who're patient enough to listen
to me and explain things to me. ... I had a very nice conversation with
that officer, but suddenly 'e walked away without even saying goodbye.
Would you have any idea why?"|
||"No, it surprises me, since you found 'im very amiable in the beginning.
Police officers are usually polite and supposed to be very disciplined,
especially when working for a division like the K-9 squad.
What did you say to 'im before 'e walked away?"|
||"Nothing special. 'E'd drunk a little bit too much and called me 'My
foreign friend'. And i'd drunk a little bit too much as well, and i found
that foreign kind of impersonal, even a bit patronizing. So i
called 'im 'My K-9 friend'."|
||"K-9 friend? No wonder, 'e left you without saying anything."|
||"You, dog! Would you like to be called my canine
||"Yes, like you might call your cat a feline friend."|
||"Oh, crisis, that's it! I made an enemy in the Police Dog Section. ...
I do hope 'e meant canals, because i won't even be able to stand
the sight of one beautiful kennel anymore."|