March 27th, 2010

doctor who

Dutch in Doctor Who

Gosh, it's almost five years since I listened to episode 1 of Fury from the Deep, and commented on the accent used by John Abineri playing a Dutch character.

I can now bring you the full exchange of what must be the only use of Dutch in the whole Who canon (as far as I remember there isn't any in Arc of Infinity even though it is set in Amsterdam).
Van Lutyens: Verdomme!

Fraser Hines, narrating: From a walkway overlooking the Control Hall, the Doctor and his companions observe van Lutyens storm off.

Van Lutyens: Koppige [?] idioot! Engelsman!

Jamie: What does kopples iddy oo [?] mean?

The Doctor: I think he's Dutch, Jamie, and I don't think he likes the English very much.
Abineri's accent in Dutch is, er, not quite as far from the real thing as his attempt to reproduce a Dutch accent in English (which sounds simultaneously German and African), but I suppose a decent effort from someone who didn't speak the language. Would be interested to know what others make of the adjective he uses - I think he is mispronouncing "koppige" as if it were a German word (given that he spoke German), though even then it's an odd pronunciation of the "g".

Note also that the Tardis translation circuits don't seem to work in Dutch.


I took B out for an excursion today; first of all crossing the linguistic frontier to the park at Hélécine, ten minutes' drive from where she lives, a place she always loves visiting; she enjoyed running giggling across the lawns, holding my hand, and seemed to take some interest in the fountains and ducks. She was more hesitant about the climbing frames in the playground, which is a shame because she used to be very agile.

Then I thought I would try some ancient history, and brought her a little further east (and back into Flanders) to the Tumulus of Pepin the Elder, a Frankish magnate of the early 7th century who was, if I calculate correctly, Charlemagne's great-great-great-grandfather (and therefore probably your ancestor too).

B was a bit dubious about climbing along the brambly paths to the top of the mound, but quite enjoyed running back down the side to the field below. There is a small museum, which is actually a large shed protecting the foundations of the old church on the site; but it was closed, so I didn't have to tax B's patience and brought her home (passing through Neerwinden). This page unsportingly suggests that the mound is a 13th-century motte which had nothing to do with Pepin, but I'll take my romance where I can find it, thanks.

I'd love to read some more detail about early Frankish history. My appetite has been whetted for more information about Brunhilda, who appears to have been one of Pepin's political rivals. But the only sources seem to be Gregory of Tours and Fredegar; does anyone know of a modern treatment?

March Books 21) Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

A wholesome tale of an enthusiastic orphan girl accidentally adopted by a brother and sister in rural Prince Edward Island, bringing a mild amount of subversive chaos to their orderly lives and to the life of their small town. It's not terribly challenging or profound, and the claim made on the cover that Anne is "the most beloved, beguiling and timeless heroine in all of fiction" seems just a tad exaggerated. I don't think I shall bother with the sequels.