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#28801 - 05/10/01 01:55 PM Separate the English from the Dutch  
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belligerentyouth Offline
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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 :-)


#28802 - 05/10/01 01:58 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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Flatlander Offline
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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.


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


#28804 - 05/10/01 02:47 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
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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....


#28805 - 05/10/01 04:48 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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Jackie Offline
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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.


#28806 - 05/10/01 04:53 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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wow Offline
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Separate the English from the Dutch

Two hereditary monarchs? Both women. Never happen!


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


#28808 - 05/10/01 08:22 PM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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Max Quordlepleen Offline
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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.



#28809 - 05/11/01 08:20 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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rodward Offline
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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




#28810 - 05/11/01 08:37 AM Re: Separate the English from the Dutch  
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Capital Kiwi Offline
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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 ...
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