Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#28801 - 05/10/01 09:55 AM Separate the English from the Dutch
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
I guess most here know this one. Does its meaning stem from some American colonial times? It must be more rare than I thought as I did find any information.
As far as I know it essentially means to cull, or select the good/useful parts from the whole.
In German there's the self-explanatory 'die Spreu vom Weizen trennen' (to separate the wheat from the chaff), but the idiom isn't as clear cut in English. Are we separating the useful/good English from the unwanted Dutch here?.
I'd be interested to learn other foreign equivalents too :-)


Top
#28802 - 05/10/01 09:58 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
I've never heard the phrase, but it's a useful (and colorful) one. My shot-in-the-dark guess is it has something to do with New Amsterdam's change to New York - from Dutch to English control.


Top
#28803 - 05/10/01 10:02 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
rodward Offline
addict

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 609
Loc: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Separate the English from the Dutch

This is a completely new one to me, B.Y., but we are already separated from the Dutch by the North Sea (not exactly where the English Channel -it IS ours - ends and North Sea begins).

New info: The only google reference I can find is within the lyrics of an expletive filled rap.

Separate the:
sheep from the goats
men from the boys

Rod


Top
#28804 - 05/10/01 10:47 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
I've never heard it, either....

Separate the:
sheep from the goats
men from the boys


No! As much as I wanna be one of the guys, I simply *cannot go there....


Top
#28805 - 05/10/01 12:48 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Thoreau's Journal, September 1858
... a new way of separating the chaff from the wheat.
========================================================
This is the earliest use I could take the time to find, but
the image is used several times in the Bible, though not
expressed specifically in those words that I know of.


Top
#28806 - 05/10/01 12:53 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
Separate the English from the Dutch

Two hereditary monarchs? Both women. Never happen!


Top
#28807 - 05/10/01 01:28 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than
I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His
winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the
barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."......Matthew 3:11:12; Luke 3:17

[purportedly the words of John the Baptist]


Top
#28808 - 05/10/01 04:22 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
I guess most here know this one. Does its meaning stem from some American colonial times? It must be more rare than I thought as I did find any information.
As far as I know it essentially means to cull, or select the good/useful parts from the whole.
In German there's the self-explanatory 'die Spreu vom Weizen trennen' (to separate the wheat from the chaff), but the idiom isn't as clear cut in English.


Sorry, belligerentyouth, but "separate the English from the Dutch" doesn't appear to have made it all the way up here to Nieuw Zeeland - maybe that's because there are so many Dutch people in my part of the country! "Separate the wheat from the chaff", on the other hand, is a very common expression, at least in my experience.
Speaking of separating English from Dutch, that would appear to be getting more difficult to do. The Dutch(?) coffee house Moccona is running an ad here in which the the actor speaks Dutch while her words are translated in subtitles. The interesting thing is that many people I know who speak only English, have commented on how superfluous the subtitles are, that the entire script is quite comprehensible without them.



Top
#28809 - 05/11/01 04:20 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
rodward Offline
addict

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 609
Loc: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
men from the boys

No! As much as I wanna be one of the guys, I simply *cannot go there....


Sorry AS, I think I may be missing the point here. Were you refering to the practice of separating an English "the" from a Dutch "the"? Or were you commenting on "separating the men from the boys" being a cross thread reference to love handles? Or just on how many "the"s were in the sentence?

Confused of Portsmouth




Top
#28810 - 05/11/01 04:37 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
The Dutch(?) coffee house Moccona is running an ad here in which the the actor speaks Dutch while her words are translated in subtitles. The interesting thing is that many people I know who speak only English, have commented on how superfluous the subtitles are, that the entire script is quite comprehensible without them.

There are two messages in that ad. You're quite right, it doesn't need subtitles. In fact, it doesn't even need the sound. We could do with the coffee. Or the stage set. Or that ridiculously small summer dress ...

Here, we sometimes say that someone who is making no sense is speaking double-dutch.

Anyone else use that expression?

_________________________
The idiot also known as Capfka ...

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8740 Members
16 Forums
13807 Topics
215227 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
auster, ozyildirimeda, KatieC, ashishsum, ackcat
8740 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 33 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
endymion6 85
LukeJavan8 74
wofahulicodoc 63
A C Bowden 34
May 4
FoFong 3
Tromboniator 3
LadyReader 2
TitoMatito 2
tsuwm 2
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10523
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6513
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith